by Ron Bare
Previously, we began to look at what true Biblical stewardship looks like, and also perhaps what it should not look like. Understanding that God is the creator and owner of all things is certainly step one to true stewardship. However, the implications of this truth should require us to pause and ask the most important question: If God has entrusted me with ______, then what does He want me to do with it?
I left off by saying the only way to answer this question is in striving to better manage our most valuable asset: our time. Each of our allocation of time is precious and is given in an equal amount to every person, therefore we all start each day with the same 24 hours or 1,440 minutes. What we do with this time will absolutely determine if we are faithful stewards.
The older I get the more I realize and hear others recognize how quickly time goes by. Think about it, how often have you talked to your friends or acquaintances about how quickly time goes by? Whether we are talking about raising our family, the summer months, the recent vacation days, and on and on, we all talk about how quickly our time on earth passes. However, for some reason this often does not force us to stop and pause on how we can be more intentional with our time.
Personally, it is easy to say that my relationship with God is the most important part of my life. Yet I wonder if when I review my calendar and evaluate how I spend my 1,440 minutes of each day, is the time allotment reflective of what I say is most important to me? We easily fill our schedules with work, with pleasure, with kids activities, with eating, with working out, with rest and other items – none of which are bad in themselves – while not spending time intentionally asking our Creator about our purpose in life and how He wants us to carry out that purpose each day using everything He has entrusted to use to accomplish His purposes and mission.
How can we possibly know how to use, enjoy, invest, spend, save, and give any financial resources without first seeking the owner’s direction? This takes time and I would argue is absolutely the most important time we can spend. Bob Buford, author of Halftime once said “It seems insane to me that a person would be willing to trade what he has a shortage of—time—in order to gain more of what he already has a surplus of—wealth.” Sadly, we often are pursuing items that may bring temporary happiness in substitute for eternal joy.
Margin is the discipline of creating space. I heard the President of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, speak a few years ago and he had very limited time to speak to a group of husbands about being a husband and father. In that brief time he recommended four things to do to excel (when someone has a short amount of time and can only list a few things, these things must be important). One of those four items was to create margin in your life.
Create some space to intentionally pursue the most important things. Margin to ask God His plans for His resources and then have the additional margin in your schedule to actually listen!
Create space in your day so as you connect with people you have time to have real conversations rather than needing to move on to the next surface level conversation with your next meeting.
Create space so you can spend real time with those you love. Isn’t the abundant, joyful life an overflow of deep relationships with our Creator and those we love most on earth? Then why do we spend so much time in leisure, resting, activities, working longer, or whatever else we do that takes us away from the most important things in life? It is these most important things in life that are what we desire most at our deepest levels.
How rewarding can it be to steward our time to make an impact in the lives of those we love the most, or use our entrusted wealth to accomplish eternal purposes rather than short term pleasures? I must admit, I am a long way from where I want to be, but my desire is to take the next step towards the abundant life that comes by first being a wise steward of the time God has entrusted to me. Then the answers to the purpose of wealth may become clearer.
Next time we will examine some uses of wealth that may help us be faithful stewards of God’s assets.