You know the old adage, “Time is money.” Maybe this year you will get your schedule or budget under control…as you promised last year. Or I remember when I was a student working through college and I griped to my dad, “I either have no time to have fun or I don’t have money to have fun.” My dad laughed and said, “Welcome to adulting.” Many times I hear people say, “I don’t have time for church.” or “I don’t have time for Sunday School.” This is a lie that many people unfortunately believe at the expense of their eternal peril. I am not saying that church is the gospel but it is where the gospel is found (if you attend a church that understands this distinction and what the gospel is).
I know of someone who shared with me an interesting view on money and time. These are my wise friend’s thoughts on time/money management for the Christian.
“My family never had a lot of money. Growing up I didn’t really realize it until high school or so. We were not poor but if we wanted new clothes or shoes, we had to save our money from working the family business (not as glorious as you might think) or doing odd jobs for friends and neighbors. We didn’t have money outside of necessities. However, my folks always took care of us.
My parents had to budget money very intentionally. They had a certain amount of money and that was not going to change either way unless a miracle or tragedy happened.
One thing that we had the same amount of as every other family though was time. While we all may have differing amounts of money, we still have to set priorities on where we spend. The same is true for time except we all have the same amount of time in a day. Think of time as money. My parents had to budget money and they had to budget time. So while I was bummed sometimes that we couldn’t go on expensive vacations nor do a lot of the things other people did, my family invested time in the most valuable asset ever known, Jesus.
There was never any question on Sunday morning as to whether or not we would go to church. It was as sure as going to school on Mon-Fri. It was as expected as the water bill. When budgeting money the necessities come first, food/water. That was a priority. Hearing God’s word and receiving the sacrament was a priority for my parents for us. So while we may have been “poor” in my eyes as a teenager who didn’t always like seeing other people frolicking in their hundred dollar bills driving in new cars, my parents were actually extremely rich. They had been given an eternal treasure and they wanted me to inherit that same treasure. And it wasn’t just me either. My parents gave rides to church for neighbor kids or people they met who didn’t have cars.”
So when you are considering how your family spends it’s time, run a budget. A budget of time. This will tell you your priorities. Eating, sleeping, etc. are necessities. However isn’t it curious that our Lord speaks of hearing the word and eternal life in terms like water, eating and drinking? (John 4 “The Woman at the Well”, The Lord’s Supper, John 6 Eat my flesh, John 7 “If anyone thirsts let him come to me.”) How about our Lord preparing a meal of his body and blood on a weekly basis? Maybe he is trying to help us budget our time with Him as the center?
A budget of time is a gift from God, a diagnosis. My point about us all having the same amount of time isn’t always true. None of us knows how much time we have, nor do we know how long our children have in this life. Neither do we know if Jesus will return today! God uses time to preach the law to us. You have a fixed amount of time, where do you spend it?
While we mismanage our time and money often, Christ never was found squandering what his Father had given to him. He, though he was rich, for our sake became poor. He became poor so that we would be rich in the forgiveness of our sins. That we would be rich in faith toward him and love toward neighbor. God has changed you by baptism. He has changed your schedule. One from a budget of shortfalls to an incalculable surplus!
Maybe we all can kind of grasp the concept of eternal life and not having the restraints of time but do you also know you’ve been given the Holy Spirit who is not stingy? Who gives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23)
See you on Sunday!