"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven" Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

 

Time - A Precious Gift

The Bible teaches us that there is a time for everything. "Really? " I hear those who are running around ragged in our midst cry out. "Really ?" For people in the church, and indeed outside the church, there never seems to be enough time for all that needs doing.

This prompts the question : Has the Bible got it wrong ?Are these well-loved words of scripture, from Ecclesiastes, failing to speak to us in this age of rush, hurry and worry ? Or have we got it wrong ?

When we read these words, do we think they are saying there is a time for absolutely everything we desire to do, no matter what it is ? If this is the case, then no wonder we often feel there is not enough time. Or, do these words of scripture imply there is time for everything God deems to be His will for us.

It seems to me that how we understand these words depends on whether we consider time to be ours alone, or time to be a gift from God.

If time is ours alone, there will never be enough time for all we want to do. If time is a gift from God, then there will be enough time, if we make time to be still for the presence of the Lord. The challenge for us is to slow down and take time to discern what God is asking us to do with the time God  has given to us. This we must surely do in our individual lives, within the life of our family, and of course within the life of the church.

When I am feeling frazzled by time constraints, I often turn to a little book called @Lord of Time' written by Frank Topping, published in 1985 by Lutterworth Press, Cambridge.

He writes, "Somehow, over the years, I've become conditioned to fill every minute of my working day with activity...... I've convinced myself that doing nothing is a waste of time...... But ceaseless activity eats away my life."

Further on he writes, "Lord of time, help me to make time to be.....Lord, slow down my aimless race.....Slow me down, Lord. Enlarge my life with stillness. In serenity, help me to take stock, to enjoy what is close at hand, to delight in lingering in the company of those I love, to appreciate and to enjoy every precious moment."

And towards the end of his reflections on time, Frank Topping concludes with these words: "Lord, let me see you in my work, that I might witness to your presence, Let me see you in my home that I might speak and act as a child of God, Let me know you in my heart that the thoughts of my mind might reflect your love. Lord, as you have time for me, may I make time for you."

To achieve what Frank Topping is looking for in his life and encouraging us to find in our lifetime, demands time. Time away from the busyness of everyday activities and time alone with God in prayer and praise.

Time is indeed a precious gift, to be used wisely and well. This year's Stewardship Programme in Denny Westpark Church will focus on 'Time'. We will be asked to think about what we do with our time. What time we give to the church's work and witness, and what it is we believe God is asking us as a congregation to do at this particular time in our church history. As members and friends of the congregation, you will be asked to see time as a gift that God not only gives to you but as a gift you can share with the Church.

Your gift of time might involve taking a leading role as an office-bearer. Your gift of time might mean attending worship more regularly. Your gift of time might entail praying at home for the work of the church It might involve tearing up some of your old diary commitments and creating time for the family or new means of engagement in the life of the local church. The way in which you offer your gift of time will be unique to you, but, this you can be certain of, there will be enough time for it, if it is in line with God's will for you.

Let's make this stewardship theme a positive time, a time of encouragement and growth, a time during which we look back over the years with thanksgiving and forward to the future with a renewed sense of hope.

With warmest regards and God's richest blessings.

 

Rev Dr Jean W Gallacher


Interim Moderator
Denny Westpark Church of Scotland