March 24, 2021 – Using Our Time Wisely

Posted on March 29, 2021

Home Sermon March 24, 2021 – Using Our Time Wisely

March 24, 2021 – Using Our Time Wisely

We have been together now for the past six Wednesdays and tonight will be our last Wednesday together until next Lent.

At this point in Lent I am always excited about Easter with is just around the corner.

I find Holy week to be very meaningful but I must admit that there is always a bit of sadness for me when we come to this point in Lent knowing that Lent will soon be over.

I always find Lent to be such a rich and meaningful time in the church calendar.

I hope that this is your experience of Lent as well.

This Lent, because of COVID, feels a little different but it is still Lent.

During Lent we look to receive from the Holy Spirit new growth in our faith lives and we also take time to reflect on our lives and how we are using our time.

I thought that the subject of time would be a good thing to give a Lenten message on this year.

The theme of time and how we use our time comes up again and again in the Bible.

Jesus taught that we are to use our time in a way that furthers God’s kingdom and in the Old Testament we learn that we are to use our time wisely.

Time has felt so strange this past year.

Time is defined as a measured or measurable period in which all things happen.

We live with time.

Each day is marked by time.

We have the capacity to contemplate eternity but we live in time.

That is very interesting when you think about it.

And in the Bible we have both –teachings about time and teachings about eternity.

In the Bible life is described in time with days and seasons but the Bible also speaks about eternity.

Eternity is life that never ends.

In eternity there is no more time.

When I was a child, I really liked the Far Side comics by Gary Larson.

There is a Far Side comic where people are entering eternity and as they are entering eternity there is a sign that reads, “This is the first day of the rest of your life.”

As humans we live in time but we contemplate eternity.

One year ago, now for the last Wednesday Lent message I gave before COVID closed our church building I included a reference to the movie Groundhog Day to make a point about the virues of compassion and kindness.

In that movie the main character, Phil Connors relives the same day over and over.

In the movie he lives with time and eternity side by side.

An interesting concept.

It is also interesting that I referenced that movie right before COVID changed everything.

In the movie it is not until he changes his life and how he uses his time that the next day finally happens.

In the movie Phil radically changes and he discovers the true joy of focusing on others and on serving others.

You might say that he finds a way to use his time wisely -in service to others and in showing kindness and compassion to others.

In the Bible reading from Luke the rich farmer fails to find a way to use his time for that work that endures.

In the parable his only thought is of himself.

Luke clearly points this out in the reading…

He thought to himself.

What should I do?

I have no place to store my crops.

Then he said, “This is what I’ll do.

I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones.

I will store my surplus grain.

I’ll say to myself… take life easy, eat, drink, and be merry.

Notice all the references in the text that point back to the man.

It is actually a little overwhelming when you take this close of a look at the text.

The man has no thought of others.

He has given no thought for how he might use the time that he has and the life that he has been given to bring God glory and to serve others.

In the story the rich man has become poor for he has used his time to accumulate worldly goods that only hold temporay value and no value in the face of death.

You cannot take one once of gold or silver with you in death but only that which is eternal.

This parable that Jesus tells in Luke has a similar parallel with the fictional character, Phil Connors in Groundhog Day.

Both men are consumed by their own needs and how they can use their time to satisfy their own needs.

A key takeaway from the parable that Jesus tells us is that we are to live our lives and do our work in a way that serves others and brings God glory.

We turn from serving ourselves to serving others.

This does not mean we take no thought to our own needs or to self-care but it does mean a shift in how we perceive things and how we use our time from being foolish to being wise.

To be wise in this context means having the knowledge and the discernment to live in and with Christ.

We are not to use our time only to benefit ourselves or to further our own interests.

I am thinking of a Bible passage here that really speaks to this truth.

It comes from Colossians chapter three beginning at verse twenty-three:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

That is from Colossians 3: 23-24

As followers of Christ, we live our lives for the Lord and use our time wisely for the Lord while expecting and hoping for an eternal inheritance.

We do not work and use our time for an earthly inheritance as the man in the parable did but rather, we work and use our time for an eternal inheritance.

With this in mind we do not need to renounce the world for the world is created by God but it does mean that we are not to become attached to wealth and possessions in the way the rich farmer did in the parable.

His time, his energy, and his life were consumed with things of this world.

His work was for himself.

In contrast the Apostle Paul teaches us in Colossians that are lives are to be wrapped up in the work of God.

Whatever God calls us to do we are to do it in such a way that it is as if we are doing that very work for the Lord.

However, we end up using our time we do it with Jesus.

Whatever work we end up doing with our lives we do it for Jesus.

I know that this past year has been difficult but I hope that this past year has also given to you some blessings.

This past year has forced us to consider how we spend our time, our days, our months, our lives.

With the slower pace of this past year one blessing that I received is the extra time to really get deeper into God’s Word.

Even though studying and reading Scripture is part of my job in fact, it is a main part of my work I must admit that often with the pace of life and the speed of life sometimes I don’t always get into the Bible during the week in a way that I would like to.

Sadly, too often deeper more in depth Bible study gets pushed to the end of my to do list during the work week.

But this past year with the slower pace of life, with some many things being cancelled, and with things slowing down a bit because of COVID I decided to commit extra time to digging deeper into God’s Word.

This was truly a blessing and I ended up spending more time in the Bible especially with many of the Old Testament books that I usually don’t take the time to study.

I know that if it were not for COVID this past year I would not have done this.

Part of using time wisely is in finding ways to slow down.

When we slow down, we are able to reflect upon that which is most important.

Then when we know what is most important, we are then to use our time for what really matters.

This is a different kind of a time that we are living in right now.

But my prayer is that we use this time in way that brings God glory and that we are using this time in a way that serves others.

When we consider our lives, we discover again and again that it is in using our time wisely where we find true joy and true peace and real meaning for our lives.

This is why the man in the parable ended up finding no life at all.

He did not know the secret to life which is actually not a secret at all.

The secret to life is found in thinking about others.

This is the opposite experience of the man and because of this God makes a dramatic announcement.

God says to the man in the parable, “You fool!  This very night your life will be demanded from you.”

The word life here can refer to both life or soul.

It has a very deep meaning in this context.

The life of a person or the soul of a person is the essence of a person.

It refers to one’s true self.

This man lost his soul, his true self by only thinking of himself and in getting lost in the things of this world.

And because of this his time is all used up.

But for those who seek to serve others and who do their work as if they are doing it for the Lord -then they have discovered true life and they are living from their deepest and truest self-according to Jesus.

In using our time wisely as the Lord leads us we will find our lives refreshed and renewed.

True life is found when we use our time wisely in a way that pleases the Lord.

May God bless us this last week of Lent before Holy Week as we seek to discern how to use the gift of time that God has given.

Amen.

Join Us for Sunday Worship

  • 9:30 a.m. In-Person & Virtual Worship with Holy Communion

RELATED SERMONS

April 4, 2021 – Faith, Hope, and Love

Last Easter I had a bicycle accident. And I broke my right arm. I can remember how much pain I was in while giving my Easter sermo...

Read Sermon →

April 2, 2021 – Good Friday Sermon

A man and a woman were talking about faith. The man said, “I have faith but sometimes I don’t.” The woman responds, “That...

Read Sermon →

April 1, 2021 – Maundy Thursday- A Call to Love

On Sunday we waved Palm branches in worship. In Jesus’ time Palm branches were seen by the Jewish people and by the Romans as sy...

Read Sermon →