The Stewardship of Time
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Text: Ephesians 5:14-17 "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is."
Thank you for being with us today. If this is your first time
with us I want to bring you up to speed on the series of sermons I am preaching
on stewardship. There are five key areas of stewardship will be addressed in
this series –
I know that the word stewardship and steward are not words that we commonly use today. Therefore, I want to review the definition of stewardship. A steward is a person who manages and administrates what has been entrusted to him by another. In this case, a steward is a person who manages what has been entrusted to him/her by God. God has entrusted us with our lives, our talents, our time, and our money. Therefore, a stewardship is the careful and responsible management of the things God has entrusted to your care.
I also want to remind you that there are two key principles related to stewardship revealed in the Bible.
1. God Owns All Things
Psalms 24:1 says, "The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."
2. Every believer has the personal responsibility to manage, supervise, and administer all that God has given him/her to the glory of God -- Romans 14:12 "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Our message today is, The Stewardship of Time.
God is the author of time. We read in Genesis 1:5 "The evening and the morning were the first day." The words "evening, morning" and "day" are words that are time oriented. While God is the author of time, He is not a time bound being. We read in 2 Peter 3:8 "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." We however are designed by the Creator to be time oriented beings. David acknowledges this in Psalm 31:15a "My times are in thy hand…"
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 gives us a real sense of just how time oriented we are. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."
Job 7:1 "Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?" The old Baptist preacher John Gill says of this verse, "There is a set time for his coming into the world, for his continuance in it, and for his going out of it."
Psalms 90:9-12 "For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. 10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. 11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
We all have the same amount of time in a day, week, month and year.
There is a little poem that I came across years ago that applies.
Just A Tiny Little Minute
Ephesians 5:15-16 reveals God’s expectation for us relating to time -- "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
First, we are to "walk circumspectly." Our English word circumspect, comes from the Latin circirmspicio, that means to look round about on all hands; to be every way watchful, wary, and cautious, in order to avoid danger, and discern enemies. But the original Greek word akribwv (ak-ree-boce) means correctly, accurately, consistently, or perfectly. We who have received the truth, are to be careful of our conduct; walk by the rule which God has given you. Show your principles, which are holy and good, by a corresponding conduct. Don’t only profess, but live the Gospel. As you embrace all its promises, be careful also to embrace all its precepts; and behave yourselves so, that your enemies may never be able to say that you are holy in your doctrines and profession, but irregular in your lives.
The phrase "Redeeming the time" exagorazomenoi ton kairon in verse 16 is a very descriptive one. It means to buy up those moments, which others seem to throw away. It means seizing opportunities, to rescue or recover our time from waste, thereby using the time wisely. Let time be your chief commodity; deal in that alone; buy it all up, and use every portion of it wisely to the glory of God. Time is that on which eternity depends.
I like what John Wesley had to say –
"With all possible care redeeming the time - Saving all
you can for the best purposes; buying every possible moment out of the hands
of sin and Satan; out of the hands of sloth, ease, pleasure, worldly
business; the more diligently, because the present are evil days, days of
the grossest ignorance, immorality, and profaneness."
Romans 13:11-14 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."
Sin makes the believer sleepy, lethargic, and indifferent about spiritual things. It makes us lukewarm and unconcerned about the cause of Christ. Hence, if we will be wise managers of our time, we will "awake" and get serious about the Christian life, living in constant expectation of the coming of our Lord.
"Cast off" is the Greek word αποθωμεθα (a-poth-o-me-tha), which means to take off as you would your pajamas in the morning. If you will manage your time wisely, you must take off all "the works of darkness" and abstain from doing them. Living a life of sin takes time. You must not waste your time sinning. Then, to replace these wicked works, you are to…
"The armor of light" stands in contrast to the works of darkness. I believe that is a reference to the righteousness of Christ that we are clothed in the moment we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior.
"Honestly" is a translation of the Greek word euschmonwv (yoo-skhay-mon’-ose) which means decently. Our deportment (behavior) is to be decent, orderly, and appropriate, so that is does not bring reproach upon the name of Christ.
Live for the Lord. No provision should be made for the encouragement and gratification of our old nature.
This is the way you manage your time wisely.