< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: A Place Called Simplicity - Part 3 - Time

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Place Called Simplicity - Part 3 - Time

Time has become more precious than money to many people. How many times have you heard someone say, “I need more hours in a day”, “More days in a week” or “I can’t believe how fast summer has gone?” But there’s different kinds of time. When we are rushing around trying to be 10 places at once and get 50 things done, time flies – and not in a good way. Then there is time when we are in a dull class, or waiting for someone, when the hands on the clock seem to crawl and that’s not good either.

But then there are moments – an afternoon away in the mountains with someone really special in your life for instance - where time kind of suspends. We want to measure time in moments – not minutes.

The author believes that people with simple faith have more of those kinds of moments. They are not so busy doing, achieving and creating their own self-constructed destiny that they miss the hidden treasures that are waiting in the ordinary events of life. The things on God’s agenda.

She suggests this will be what time is like in heaven.

So what kind of time are we really hungering for? Not the boring minutes that drag or the rushing against deadline time. But the gentle, unhurried quality of life we experience when we have freed ourselves to go with God’s plan. Where do we find this? How do we create space in our busy lives for this?

We can’t manufacture these moments. But we can learn new ways to look at life that will encourage this simpler, more spontaneous, less clock-driven way of life. We can make some subtle shifts in attitude that will welcome more meaningful experiences and relationships into our over-planned, over-stressed lives.

1. Learn to live one day at a time.

Jesus gave us the greatest clue to entering God time when He invited us to live and trust one day at a time, instead of worrying about tomorrow or stewing over the past. The past will try to rob us of our peace of mind and the future tries to rob us of our faith. Faith allows us to let God hold tomorrow until we get to it. And choosing to release the past to God’s redemptive grace simplifies our lives because it gets rid of past regrets. We have today and we can make it count!

We can’t really “make” time, but we can make the most of the time we are given. God created time back in Genesis 1:14 when He separated day from night and marked the seasons. He decided how much time we need and we all have the same amount.

Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5 tell us to live wisely by “making the most of every opportunity.”

Will we be able to give a good accounting of how we used the time we were given? Will our time be spent getting to know each other and God? Finding joy in our tasks? Sharing our possessions, sharing the gospel, marveling over God’s beautiful creation and praising Him? Praying with friends? Laughing with our children? Or is it our checked off to-do list?

2. Don’t wait to be happy.

“Later on” usually stays “later on”! Be happy today!

3. Trust that there will be time enough. The author says that with God’s help to discern what things will be most meaningful to us and most important to Him, He will help us find enough time to do them.

But, she says we need to think regularly about theses goals and evaluate all activities, even the most trivial, by whether they add to that life. Then ruthlessly weed out what ever doesn’t. (Tasks, errands, TV shows, people, etc.) Computers and television are huge time wasters. Not that they are all bad, but it’s easy to get sucked in and hours can go by without you really getting anything from it.

You know, it’s a fine line, according to society if you sit around watching TV all day you’re kind of a loser and to the success driven people if you want to simplify and slow down you’re also a loser. (In their eyes.) It’s fashionable to be overly busy! If you’re not they think you’re boring.

But, I heard Chip Ingram say that CEO’s make the worst parents because they are so success driven.

Being so focused on success will cause a person to miss the God moments. We need to slow down and enjoy the journey of life.

Toward the end of His life Jesus “set His face toward the cross.” He was focused on that. But, even then He took time with friends, sharing meals, meeting new people. On His way to heal one person He would often stop to heal another. He was keeping His spiritual eyes open for God’s agenda. He saw interruptions as part of the big scheme of things. Travel with a purpose, but live as fully as possible all the way to your destination.

We all know it would be best for our health and happiness if we slowed down. But most people don’t feel comfortable with an unscheduled life. We have to learn to treat our time with God like we would with someone we love. Just enjoy “being in their presence.” Just be still with Him. This isn’t a waste of time, but actually an invaluable investment of time.

We need to learn to embrace the special, unplanned moments in life.

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