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The Gift of Time

DSCN0882_SnapseedThis is National Volunteer Week in the U.S. April 6-12 has been set apart as a time to honor those who have given one of the greatest treasures in life to the service of others.

During the week I’ve had a chance to have lunchtimes with groups of Service Partners who donate time to our shared effort. In the process I heard the Director of our volunteer teams express her conviction that the gift of time is far more precious than a gift of money— because there are ways of getting more money—but no way to get more time.

Her comment caused me to think about how casual and careless I’m inclined to be about time—sometimes as if it is worth nothing.

The point is not that we always have to be doing something. No less than the 23rd Psalm reminds us that one of the wonderful things our Great Shepherd does for us is to “make us to lie down in green pastures” and to “restore our souls”.

But I’ve been reminded again this week that the “why”, “what”, and “how” of both work and rest depends on something that has been entrusted to us—being, by its very nature, far more valuable than we might think…

Priceless while we have it… more precious when it’s gone.

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30 Responses to “The Gift of Time”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Having already spent my available *time* on the last topic this morning, I have only a little left to this one for now.

    Years ago I read a short a fictional story about a future time when instead of money people were born with a preset length of time in which to live.

    Implanted from birth was a little device in the brain that the *government* computer controlled that would cause death as soon as time ran out. However in this fictional future one could earn more time as they used the time they had in order to put more time in the bank than they wasted away.

    Hidden in this little adventure was the wisdom of learning what is more valuable, time or money.

    See everyone tomorrow…if there is enough time left.


  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    The volunteer coordinator spoke the truth to my heart, Mart.

    The things we spend our time on matter when there is an accounting (each one looking at his/her own calendar). The actions we choose cost something – and they yield something. Money is a mere tool in the way we invest ourselves. It merely reflects the inner condition, and the outer expression of our devotion to a cause, a person or a pass-time.

    I like the April 8th ymiblogging entry on rbc.org concerning the lowly donkey. The question is: “Will you serve me?” Pleasing the Lord is a life-style. Love is an act of will. Am I bearing Jesus to others?

    It seems to me, sharing Jesus with the work of minds and hearts – of hands and feet – is to “spend time” effectively, and to be part of establishing Christ’s kingdom here and now. (Matthew 6:27, 33) Eternity is this instant in my opinion.


  3. quietgrace says:

    Good day all!
    Thinking about time a lot lately, as I am retired from active work. I find myself measuring time by the month, and not the week. And now that I have a lot of time on my hands, wondering how I can put it to use better. I can’t do much but do bake for and visit with my elderly neighbors who seem to appreciate how I spend my time lately. Of course prayer takes up a lot of time also. But being relatively inactive after 60 years of either doing people pleasing work (taught I had to earn love)or work for pay (survival), well, it does feel like a rather selfish use of time without the judgements or need-based forces driving me.

    Be still and know that I am God. psalm 46:10 A favorite for a long time, but now I think I am finally getting it.

    Praying we will all know God better.

    Blessings, Grace

  4. poohpity says:

    The length of our days is numbered and we are not given a minute more (Job 14:5 NLT). Do we spend this priceless commodity with eternity in mind by pointing people to the only person who has offered us life beyond this body or would we rather gain applause in this life that withers and fades taking that notoriety with it? Every life is so important to God with a purpose that is established before we are even born he knew us. (Psalm 139:14-16 NLT)

    If we totally trust God and His guidance living for Him He seems to use our moments sometimes even without our knowledge we touch a life. It seems the harder we strive the more we want a light to shine on us compared to the times we abide in Christ doing what comes naturally and easily has more eternal value. God can even use our flaws for His good purposes.

  5. cbrown says:

    I was driving in my car this A.M. and the song “Every Act of Love” by Jason Day came on the radio.I had to turn it up, “with every act of Love Thy Kingdom come”.I wanted to raise my hands in praise but the timing was not good.

  6. oneg2dblu says:

    cbrown… I’m glad I just took the time to listen to that love song on utube. Thanks for sharing.
    I found i can’t post very well with my hands held up in the air either.

  7. oneg2dblu says:

    Speaking of time… knowing that each of us, no matter our worldly status or circumstance, we will one day have to account for what we have done or not done with our time, our talents, our treasure.
    I never though of this coming together here as being any waste of our precious time, it is time well spent as we come together speaking of Kingdom Matters, and that matters more to me than any wasted time on other things.
    Of course, I will take the time to turn the running tap off, bandage a weeping cut, or slow down for a squirrel when the world presents those things, but here, in this world we are each presenting and encountering His Blessed Children, and that is what makes all this time so valuable, honoring Him and His, and that makes all the difference.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  8. SFDBWV says:

    I was reminded this morning of John 17:1 in that the Creator of time had a date and a time with His destiny.

    In reading this I am also reminded that we too have a time for all things as reminded to us in Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

    In thinking about volunteer work and its being time well spent, I have to ask why it is one does volunteer work.

    Is it because they are bored, or because they think they are supposed to? Is it because they feel that makes them a better person?

    Or is it because there is a need someone has and they take *time* out of their life for them? Voluntarily, without compensation or the thought of it.

    I have always felt that that special name God will give us recorded in Revelation 2:17 will be a name that embodies what we did with our lives and the time given us.

    Have already had a busy morning with Matthew and with people at the cemetery, I may have enough *time* to eat now, if I hurry.


  9. quietgrace says:

    Good morning all!
    Steve, in following up with your thoughts I would like to add that for those suffering with depression advice is often given to try and do something for others as a way to feel better, even temporarily. If one can do something for others, no matter their motives, it is pleasing to God who knows we can do nothing without Him. I too am far to adept at analyzing motives, but, in the end, all our works are as filthy rags anyway, right? Meaningless, meaningless cries the sage. In Christ alone my hope is found.
    God bless you and your wife and Matthew today, Grace

  10. poohpity says:

    When I look at how priceless time is it not only can be used for the busyness found in volunteer work but in other areas as well.

    How much time do I put into developing a relationship with God and being a disciple/student which Jesus pointed out as being the one thing needful? Luke 10:42 NIV Being at the feet of Jesus we do not try to be the head of anybody.

    Have we taken the time for reconciliation not just for what we have done to another but if they even have something against us? Matt 5:23-24; Romans 12:17-18

    Taking time to look within at our own brokenness stops us from taking so much time fault finding in others. (Luke 6:41-42; Matt 23:25; Romans 2:1) When we admit to our inner life we can understand the fullness of God’s grace taking the time to show that to others with the same patience we have been shown.

  11. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… praying for your recovery and trusting that your pain subsides, knowing that our prayers are heard and thinking, “This too shall pass.”
    When you are waiting for relief time seems to slow up all too much, until that time comes, we pray to endure.

    “Lord Jesus give us the strength and endurance we all need to get through those things that this life places before us. Give us our daily bread. Nothing is impossible with you Lord, so we leave all possibilities in Your Hands and trust that You will allow us to become Overcomes even of ourselves and those things that now prevent us from being all we can be in You, and allow us to remain in your will. Amen!”

  12. quietgrace says:

    Ditto, Gary.

  13. Artle says:

    I must offer that time ceases to have an effect at the moment one believes in Jesus Christ. Eternal life is then in the hand and heart of the believer and anxiety (the chief bandit of time) is lost to be replaced by a Peace otherwise unknown.

    Just think about what it really means to know Jesus and have eternal life and how this single moment changes the entire universe and how it (the universe) can be viewed, recognized and understood in a completely heretofore unknown Light.

    Realize that you know Jesus and your life is eternal and how that knowledge can change how you see everything and everyone. And then let it change you.

  14. bubbles says:

    Days are long; years are short.

  15. cbrown says:

    Artle, my Bible has this note written before the following verses.”The believers ultimate victory over death is a motive for faithful service.
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    1Corinthians 15:54 But when this [a]perishable will have put on [b]the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  16. Artle says:

    Cbrown, we are kindred, you and I. We will know each other when we meet, though never seen before.

    I almost said amen, but the note asks something of me that my Lord does not. I would rephrase the note to read, “The believer is victorious over death.” There are no strings attached. Yes, by all means service, even abundant service may follow, but it is not required, so the victory is not a motive. It is absolute and without burden. Eternity is not a reward. It is a gift; a gift to those who show up and knock on the door; a gift to those who believe He will open it.

  17. SFDBWV says:

    Reading over Mart’s thoughts I was taken by his remark, “The point is not that we always have to be *doing*.”

    Then his reference to the famous 23rd Psalm.

    For nearly all of my life and certainly my adult life I lived with the conviction that as soon as my feet hit the floor I had to *be about doing something*.

    Even when I was just a young teenager when I would wake in the summer before dawn I would go up to a favorite view point above town and watch the sun rise, watch and listen as the world came alive and have private time with God. I am not sure I ever recognized it as that until looking back on it. Then it was something I enjoyed in my spirit that touched me and that, I could recognize. I hadn’t yet realized it was enjoyed and special because it was a fellowship with God; the entire scene was created by God and meant to be shared with me at that *time* in my life.

    Too often we try and figure out God and waste time and energy over worry, when if we just could let go, set in that calm serene place and allow God to provide, our view of the world changes and our hearts and spirits are properly comforted and fed.

    When Matthew’s first days in intensive care were overwhelming me I received a copy of a magazine that was centering on the 23rd Psalm as its central theme.

    How simple and basic its message and how *timely* for me to receive it.

    Let God today lead you to yours and His quiet serene place of comfort, set and just enjoy being there with Him while He provides for your needs, including the work He is preparing you for or rest from it.


  18. poohpity says:

    Do we always have to be doing something to earn God’s love? There are several instances in the Bible where that busyness draws us away from learning, knowing and resting in that love. Doing can prevent us from relying on God and then again not doing certain things means our faith is not developing, changing or growing. I guess since God is so concerned about our hearts it has to do a lot with the motivation behind the actions.

    There are times to stand still and silent in awe of our Creator being thankful and appreciating everything. Maybe the action will be just sitting quietly with someone because they need a warm body next to them not saying or doing anything but just being there. It could also mean actively listening and hearing a heart as it is being poured out to one who is safe to share all those things we hold so closely to and fear rejection if anybody really knew but God placed you there to listen.

    I think sometimes when we take the time to invest in people not that they need advice but just to know that someone cares is a very good use of the gift of time.

  19. bubbles says:

    Sometimes people feel they must always be doing something may not always be about earning love, although this can be a motive, but also about being productive. Some people feel driven to work and be up and doing because this is their make up.

  20. poohpity says:

    Work is a gift to feed one’s self and seems to be blessed by God. 2 Thess 3:10-11 NLT

    An the other hand one can do things for others to gain their praise and acceptance but then the moment one is criticized for anything they fall to depression and self debasement. I believe life is a balancing act.

  21. poohpity says:

    If we do anything to gain approval then we are crushed at any disapproval so we do things for the Lord and not man’s reward or lack of reward. Col 3:23-24 NLT

  22. quietgrace says:

    Pooh, I knew Col 3:23-4 well when I was working, I used to think of it when I wasn’t happy at work for whatever reason. It helped to deflect my focus from this world to the next, and always gave me peace and a sense of purpose for doing something I didn’t especially like, or having to work with a difficult boss.

  23. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day all… God has placed eternity in the hearts of man both saved and unsaved, so eternity exists for all mankind.
    The only thing that changes when one becomes saved is the mind, heart, and ones destiny, or where they will spend that eternity.
    But the timing of all things is set by He who spoke time into being.
    All men have the same amount of time in a day, no one gets any more or less, as all our days are already numbered, and nothing we do changes that either, they are set by God, not by man.

    Now, after salvation what we do with our time certainly changes as our renewed mind no longer sets its sights on what the world labels as truth, or being real for them, holy, divine, healthy, normal, detestable, reverent, or right as defined by the courts of man which does not take into account and fully embrace of the word of God as supreme, but make their “own laws” however they seem fitting.
    But, to the saved the heart that was as hard as stone softens and becomes His to be reshaped by the potter as we become the clay.
    Although the world never stops trying to press us into its mold, the potter continues His work in us, and the world can no longer have us if we are truly being surrendered and led by Him who sets us apart for His purposes.
    Through Christ we become as one who overcame even death, where sin and the world will no longer have power over us.
    But, we must each choose which one we will follow, either the world’s way, or will we follow Christ?

    This decision takes time, where each tic of time can either become victoriously saved, or lost… but never to be lived again, as it has already passed, tic, tic, tic.
    Long are the hours, short are the years, how true that seems, but truth is this, our whole life is but a vapor when compared to eternity, according to the word of God.
    Poof… and were gone.
    Enjoy this very moment we get to spend with Him, and Be Blessed.

  24. SFDBWV says:

    Not knowing whether or not the subject would change with Palm Sunday, I did not take the time to say anything earlier this morning.

    Yesterday was one of those most difficult days in dealing with the struggles Matthew endures and the available time we had was absorbed into the struggles of life, especially life here.

    As so often is my habit when plans get derailed and we are forced by unplanned circumstances to alter the day around them, I wonder if it is Gods will and hand upon us.

    Just like Balaam’s donkey.

    If you take a roll of very long paper roll it out and draw a line from start to finish and segment that line into sections of an inch and key the map line to so that one inch represents your lifetime and the rest of the line represents eternity you start to get the message that our time alive on earth is very short when compared to an eternity.

    Yet God created time as we know it so that we should live that one inch out of all of eternity in this arena of time and space.

    We have often spoken of how in the heavenly realm there is no time as we experience it here and now. At least that is how most people have come to understand it.

    So it seems as though God created a physical element for time in the same way He created a physical element for our spirits to dwell in.

    It seems also that God set into motion a time for mankind to live in this existence and a time for it to end. Each person’s life being a microcosm and reflection of the time given all of mankind.

    In the end of all things when we stand before Christ, will he ask us what we did with that inch of time He gave us? And so judge us for it?

    When I think of all the little babies that never had a chance to live out a life in this existence, I wonder if that was God’s measure for them and of all the people who for our measure died too young and wondered also if it is that was all the time God gave them.

    I guess when one thinks too far beyond their ability to answer all the questions that arise, it is best to just rest in that place God created for us and leave such things to He who created all of this for His pleasure.

    Too many of us might feel that their existence here has been anything *but* a pleasure.

    I suppose it is like the preacher says in Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14 just leave it to God.


  25. foreverblessed says:

    ..but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Cbrown gave this verse, a few days ago, 1 Cor 15:57
    Is is also part of the Messiah, and I was singing it lately, and am still impressed with all the scriptures that are in the Messiah, and the repeating of the words, by the sopranos, then altos, then tenor and the bass. And repeated again and again.
    As if the words must sink into our heart, it also helps that music is part of it.
    There is a whole part of the Passion in the Messiah, very appropriate for us now.
    Thanks be to God, thanks, thanks

  26. foreverblessed says:

    Steve, a few topics ago, you asked a some questions about christians who say that they love Jesus.
    This question has been on my mind: Do I love Jesus?
    I have been meditating on the fact that Jesus loves me, that He gave Himself for me, so that I could be free from sin. It is hard enough to let that sink into my heart.
    But do I love Him?

    This also is the question Jesus asks Peter, before Peter gets the instruction: Do you love Me?
    So this is a very real question, and also important for Jesus!

  27. quietgrace says:

    foreverblessed, This being Holy week yesterday I meditated on the same question: Do I love Jesus, and if I do, why? He and I had a long conversation about that, with me doing most of the talking, as usual. I ended up with more questions than answers, but was stirred as I focused on the days before His crucificion; how hard they were 2000 years ago, and today as we seek to follow our dying master. Where I finally found peace was when I remembered that Sunday’s coming! Yay! Sunday’s coming, again. And then I knew, that’s why I love Jesus. I never knew Him before he died and rose from the grave, but I know Him now, and I love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength!
    As little and unimportant as I am, I give my all to Him.
    Praise God for Sunday!
    God bless all who can hear, Grace

  28. foreverblessed says:

    Grace, you are so full of grace, how can you say you are unimportant! Grace flowing through you touching many! Thank God for you, and how graciously He has changed you. It could not have been but because of the cross.
    I heard a minister talking about the Cross. A woman who was severely damaged by abuse in her childhood ended up being a many person person, shifting from one personality to another.
    She had become a christian, but this thing remained, she wanted to be freed, but nothing happened. Until many christian friends came around here, (in spirit) and started to pray for her, and fasted. This was more then a week.
    Then at a conference she came forward for prayer, and she was prayed over, she was touched by God, so heavily, that she had to lie down. The minister wanted to stay close to her, but then he heard the Holy Spirit speak to him: go away, this is not man’s work. She was laying on the floor for quite a while. She stood up after a long time, completely healed, one whole person.
    Later she told what happened, as she was laying there, it was as if she saw Jesus hanging on the Cross, He bent over to her, while hanging there and said, come close to my heart. That is what she did in the vision, very close to His heart. She said, it was so totally pitch dark in His heart, but a voice said: stay here as long as it takes. And that is what she did.
    Till she awoke, and was one whole person. One personality!
    God did not explain anything what was changed in her, only that the complete darkness in her was taken by Jesus hanging at the Cross.
    I guess, there are many many things we better do not know, but can be soooo thankful that Jesus took all our infirmities, and put them in the ocean of His love, gone, as far as east is from the west. Jesus took them and devoured them, and He died, in the process, as a human. But His Spirit was not defeated.
    How wonderful the Work of the Cross is.
    Thank God for healing you, and me, and all of us who come to Him and ask, seek, knock at His door.

    With all of this, how is it possible that we should not love Him?

  29. foreverblessed says:

    Do you know the movie Mask, where the main actor is victorious when he puts that mask on his face. He becomes a superman. He picks up the bombs and eats them, and they explode in his stomach. That is to me a picture of Christ, only Christ died in the process.
    The chastisement that brought us peace was upon Him
    Isa 53:4-5
    How can we not love Him, if that truth sinks into our heart?

  30. quietgrace says:

    foreverblessed, I know that there is NOTHING too dark and evil that Jesus doesn’t know about or has felt. We deceive ourselves if we feel our sin is too much for God. Being truly transparent before God is the way we win-for want of a better word. I love the story of the woman with many selves and her experience with Christ. Very similar to my own, actually.
    My chief prayer is to know God better. I expect that will take up the rest of my life. It’s a good goal and one I wish for you also. Blessings, Grace

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