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Thinking About God’s Gift of Time

Perhaps it’s because I announced my intention to retire, or perhaps it’s just summer and I have a bit more time to think, but recently I have been thinking about God’s gift of time (seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years) as well as how quickly time passes. A familiar scripture passage that we might know best from attending a funeral is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. The passage begins “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; …” (NRSV) and it goes on to speak about the various moments when the time is right for a particular event. Humorist Will Rogers once said, “Buy land, they ain’t making any more of it.” In the same way, we might say “Cherish every second God gives you.”  I wonder how many people think about the value of time as they go about living their life and making decisions.
I just finished re-reading John C. Maxwell’s book, Today Matters, and I was again impressed by his thoughts about making the most out of every second and every day.  He used the following example to put the value of time in perspective:

To know the value of one year – ask the student who failed the final exam.
To know the value of one month – ask the mother of a premature baby.
To know the value of one week – ask the editor of a weekly news magazine.
To know the value of one day – ask the wage earner who has six children.
To know the value of one hour – ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To know the value of one minute – ask the person who missed the plane.
To know the value of one second – ask the person who survived the accident.
To know the value of one millisecond – ask the Olympic silver medalist.

Time matters and what we do with it matters even more. I believe it wise for us to consider that as we think about our lives and set our priorities.  People always make time for the things that are most important to them.

So, what is it time for in these coming months and what might we set as our priorities? As your pastor, my answers and suggestions will likely not surprise you.  I believe our first priority is to love the Lord our God with all our heart and serve others as the Church of Jesus Christ in this world.  That priority directs everything we do with our time and determines how we do it. And with that in mind, I am praying that each member of our church will speak to our Vestry and offer your time, talents, and treasures to assist them in leading this church’s ministry during our time of transition. As a member of St. John’s, your presence, prayers, and talents are always needed, yet they will be especially needed during these next months. If you have been waiting for a moment to volunteer yourself, let me assure you that this is the time! Many volunteers are going to be needed to make certain we do not skip a beat during this pastoral vacancy.  Please speak with Steve Trayte, or any Vestry member, and ask “how can I help the ministry of our church?”
As we journey through the lazy days of Summer, taking vacations, and resting up for Fall’s busier schedule, let’s take a moment to speak about how we view “time.” Have we ever considered that there are times for every matter under heaven?  There is a time to be born, a time to weep, a time to heal, a time to mourn, a time to laugh, a time to dance, and a time to make certain we have set the proper priorities in our life and are using our time in ways that are pleasing to God. What will you do with the gift of your time that God has given you? What will ultimately be important to you?
I’d like to encourage you to give this some thought during the month of July.  Join me in thinking about God’s gift of time to us and how we are using it and how we might choose to use it. The choice is largely ours, so let’s be the ones making that choice and not allow it to be made for us by our simply neglecting to cherish it.
Time is one of those precious gifts God has given us.  Let’s use it to His glory.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Butler +