We’ve been in a series discussing God’s goal for us: godliness, Christlikeness. We get there by being more disciplined and focused in areas like Bible reading and prayer and worship and serving others. These are the spiritual disciplines that will cause us to grow and live lives pleasing to God. So in this post, we’ll discuss the spiritual exercise or discipline of stewardship.
Many don’t like this word and others don’t understand it, but stewardship is just management. It’s the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. As believers, God gives us some things to manage, and he’ll hold us accountable for how we manage them. He gives us time and money. The disciplined use of time and money is at the heart of a disciplined spiritual life. How we mange time and money shows our current spiritual condition and determines our future spiritual condition.
So how are you managing your money? Oh, I’m sorry. Let me ask that question the right way: How are you managing God’s money? How are you managing the time he has given you? Most of our anxiety comes from poor stewardship or mismanagement of money and time. So we’re going to talk about the dollar and the clock in this post and the next.
What if somebody deposited $86,400 in your account tomorrow morning and told you you would lose what you failed to use at the end of the day? What would you do? How would you spend it? Each of us has a bank. It’s called time, and every day 86,400 seconds are deposited. Every night it writes off as lost whatever we’ve failed to invest to good purpose. We can’t get the time back. How are we using the time he has given us?
What is time anyway? We could get all scientific and say it’s a non-spatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession, or we could get poetic like Longfellow and say, “The shadow on the dial, the striking of the clock, the running of the sand, day and night, summer and winter…are but arbitrary and outward signs, the measure of time, not time itself. Time is the life of the soul.”
A more biblical way of saying it is time is the duration of our existence in this world before we enter eternity. Galatians 6, verses 7 and 8, tell us we’ll reap in the next world what we sow in this one. So how will we use the time God has given us? It’s critical. God created time, and he owns it. Psalms 31:15 says, “My times are in Thy hand.” Psalms 90, verse 12, says, “So teach us to number our days…”
Here are three reasons we should use our time wisely.
1. The days are evil. Paul says they were evil in his day. In Ephesians 5:16, he says, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Anyone who can fog a mirror knows the days today are evil. Our thoughts have to be brought under control, or like water, they’ll run downhill. Our bodies have to be brought under control because the natural course is to serve evil, to be lazy and gluttonous and so on.
2. The time is short. James tells us we’re just a vapor in James 4:14. Proverbs 27:1 says, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” In 1 John 2:17, it says the world is passing away. How much time do you have left on the planet? Fifty years? Fifty months? Fifty minutes? We don’t know, and neither our strength nor our stardom nor our stature obligates God to give us one more hour.
No matter how much we try, we can’t save time. We can’t buy time. We can’t make up time. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Time is short. We can waste it by idle talk, and we can kill it by laziness. We can allow it to be stolen by high-tech socially acceptable preoccupations. (Can you say Internet?) We can’t save it through frugality or buy it, no matter how wealthy, and we can’t make it up or get it back, no matter how clever we are.
3.We’ll be held accountable for how we manage it. Romans 14:12 tells us each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Paul reminds us again in 1 Corinthians 3:13 that our works, how we spend our time, will determine our reward. Again, the Galatians passage (Galatians 6:7,8) reminds us we’ll reap what we sow. In Matthew 6:19, Jesus tells us to spend time laying up treasures in heaven, not wasting time accumulating for ourselves on earth.
So what are we doing with our time? What if we had to report at the end of each day what we did with our time that day? Did we invest any of it for the Kingdom?
In summary, we should use time wisely because, one, the days are evil; two, the time is short; and, three, we will be held accountable for how we manage it. What about disciplined stewardship or management of our money?
We’ll talk about some great New Testament principles for managing our money in our next post/podcast.
This post is available on podcast here
You may also like our article about the Discipline of Evangelism