Thursday, January 2, 2014

Timely Obedience

                If you have been reading my blog you will know that my word for 2014 is “obedience”. As I was praying this morning, I prayed and asked the Lord to show me the areas of my life that I need obedience in. Recently, He spoke to me about being in obedience with our finances. This morning, He spoke to me about being in obedience to the time that I have been given. At first, I wasn't quite sure what He was talking about. But, after reflecting and thinking upon it, I have to admit that I am poor at time management. The time that I have been given each day is a gift from God my Father. He does not have to give me anything, let alone give me time to do it, but He does. I sometimes take this time for granted. Instead of doing what I know He

wants me to do, like studying and writing, I find myself sitting down in front of my television and catching up on all my DVR shows. But this morning, His words spoke to me, and have made me realize the importance of obedience in how I use the time He has given me.
                “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching.” Luke 12:35-37a
When I first read these verses, I asked the Lord “what does this have to do with time management?” I have always understood these verses to be referring to the Lord’s return. But that is exactly the point. We do not know the hour in which the Lord will come. What will He find us doing when He does come? Will we be ready? Will we be doing what He wants us to be doing? Or will He find me sitting on my bottom, sipping on my coffee, watching the latest crime series on CBS? The Lord showed me this morning that many times He has given me hours upon hours to do the work He has called me to do, and instead of doing it, I fill it up with something else. I see these hours as a way to catch up on housework, or run errands, take a nap, or go out to lunch with a friend. When, in fact, He had given me that time to do something specific for Him. But, I was too caught up in how I was going to spend that time, instead of asking Him how He wanted me to spend it.
                Psalm 39:4-5 tells us that our days are numbered. He has given to each of us a specified amount of time upon this earth. The Psalmist realizes this and prays, “Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I many know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths and my age is nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.” We have only been given so much time upon this earth, how we spend that time is important to our God who gives it. Just like the Psalmist, we too need to realize the frailty of the time we have upon this earth.
                Jesus tells us to be girded and have our lamps burning, for we do not know when He will return. We know that He will return, but we do not know the hour He is coming. The NIV translates verse 35 the best, “Be dressed, ready for service and keep your lamps burning”. We are to be doing His work on His time. My obedience to Him is directly linked to how I spend my time. Jesus tells us that the servants are watching to see when the master will return. They do not know when he will come, but they know he will come and they are watching with expectation. Are we doing the same? The world we live in today laughs at us when we state that we are waiting for Jesus to come back. The world tries to tell us He is just a myth, it won’t really happen. But, we as Christians know that Jesus is coming back- we just don’t know when. So, we must be ready and prepared. We must be found doing His will and His work when He comes. Are we being obedient in the way we use the time God has given us? Are we ready for His return?

                “And the Lord said, ‘Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.” Luke 12:42-43
                We are all stewards over the things of God. We may not be the pastor of a church, or we may not be leading a ministry, but we have all been given specific duties from God. We are mothers, wives, employers, and so on. All these jobs that we do on a daily basis have been given to us by God to accomplish. Jesus says that the faithful and wise steward is a blessed servant if he is doing what he is supposed to do when He returns. A faithful and wise steward is someone who is put in charge of certain responsibilities by the head of the home. For me, my husband, being the head of the home, has entrusted me with the keeping of the home and the finances. The care and the distribution of the income the Lord has blessed us with, has been given to me to take care of wisely and faithfully, and God holds me responsible as the steward.  
                Jesus says that we are to be faithful and wise stewards. We have all been given time, and resources to do the work that He has called us to do. How we manage these responsibilities is up to us. We can be obedient and do what He calls us to do when He calls us to do it, or we can be disobedient and do things our own way. Either way, we are going to be held responsible. The time that I have been given is not my own. How I use my time is another way that the Lord wants me to be obedient. He desires for all of us to be faithful and wise stewards, to be doing His work with the time that He has given us. Do we use this time wisely? Do we do what He asks of us?
       I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says, “Lord, what would You have me to do today?” I have had it for years. It is becoming worn and losing its magnetic power, but the words written on it are still powerful, and holds so much truth for my daily life. What would the Lord have me to do today? I can list off a hundred things that I would like to get done, but the time that I have been given is not my own. The time that I have been given today is His and it is up to me to be obedient with this time. If the Lord Jesus came back today, what would He find me doing? Would I be doing what He has asked of me, or would I be doing what I wanted to do? Would I be surprised and flustered, not ready to open to Him when He knocks, or would I be expecting His return, and found to be that faithful and wise steward over what He has given me?

                We all have areas that we need to learn to be obedient in. Some of us are also learning to be obedient in our finances, or in our daily devotional time. But what about your day, what about the twenty-four hours you have been given? Are you being obedient to use this time wisely? Obedience is so much more than just listening and doing, it is being willing and ready no matter the circumstance to do the work that He calls us to do. My obedience must begin with each day; I must look at the time that He has given me and ask, “Lord, what would You have me to do today?” If I allow Him to direct my day and I am obedient to Him in this, I too will be blessed at His return. I pray for all of us who read this blog today that we would be faithful and wise stewards, obedient to Him in the time that He has given us. In Jesus Name, amen and amen.