“Time is the most valuable thing a person can spend.” Theophrastus, ancient Greek philosopher, circa 300 BC

I was visiting with another Lutheran pastor the other day and something he said didn’t really sound right to me. “I really don’t have time to…”  (The particular activity is really not important. For the record, he didn’t have time to take charge of leading a congregation’s Vacation Bible School.) 

As we continued I realized we were conflating two ideas … “having time” and “taking time.” One is an issue with the provision of time. The other is a matter of the stewardship of time.

Here’s the bottom line: each of us has plenty of time. In fact, when it comes to God’s provision, time is provided in equal amounts to each person. Well, maybe not in terms of the span of our life. Some will be provided more years of life than others (Psalm 90:10). But TODAY each of us will be provided the same number of hours. The question, therefore, has to do with the way we choose to use the time provided to us.

I encouraged the pastor to adjust the way he spoke about his use of time. “(A particular activity) is not a priority for me.” Instead, “I choose to use my time working on (a particular activity).”   And even as I heard myself offering this bit of wisdom, I began to review my own priorities and how I choose to use the time provided me by our Lord.

As pastor I have intentionally prioritized work to support our school ministry as well as further development of our music and worship ministries. I love working on “projects” that others find tedious. But I enjoy the work of project management, especially as all sorts of plans are “coming together.” Financial management and grant writing will take plenty of my time this month since the next round of safety and security grants were being submitted as I prepared this edition of our online newsletter..

But here’s the mistake I just made … this is not MY time at all! This time … all of it … is God’s time. And God’s design INCLUDES time for rest and renewal, each evening (usually) and over a period of days (i.e. “vacation”). God has provided you and me a unique set of skills, experiences and preferences and then directs us to use the time provided to make use of them.

There is “sacred” time, time set aside for worship and praise, thanksgiving and prayer. The scriptures remind us that this purpose is indeed not only God-pleasing, but commanded by God. So we use an hour or two of God’s time each week together in worship.

I … we … have all the time we need, no more or less than others. The critical question is how we use this precious gift of God.