Friday, March 25, 2011

Good Works and Stewardship of Time

Fr. Dale Matson

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15-16, NASB).

I was born in 1944 and now am at the leading edge of the “Baby Boomers”. This is a huge population bump that, if not already, will soon be drawing Social Security. What I have noticed is a tendency for many of my contemporaries including my own relatives to focus primarily on themselves. I am reminded of the words of Jesus from a portion of the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (6:19-21, NASB).

For this generational cohort, the time is slipping away at an ever faster pace. Many have reasonably good health, adequate finances and an uncomplicated life of leisure. They have a great deal of discretionary time every week. For me the question of what I am doing with this time is answered every morning as I journal the previous day’s activities. The question for me every morning is, “Was I a good steward of the time I was given?” I am not a works righteousness type individual but do believe that Christians are called to do good works in response to God’s grace and blessings. Good works are the actions that say to a loving and gracious God, “Thank you dear God; I will invest the talents you have given me. I will be a good steward of the time you have given me.”

“I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor--it is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, NASB).

Man was put on the earth to dress and keep the garden. That was his good works assigned to him by God. Because this work fulfilled a purpose the Creator had for man, it gave man’s life meaning. There is no unemployment in the Kingdom of God and our original assignment has not changed. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10, NASB).

The good works done in faith on this earth have eternal value. More and more I understand that good works redeem the time I wasted in self-indulgent and self-destructive activities. I also fully understand the sacrificial, complete and atoning death of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus and am not saying that I need to add one more cup to His offering or His suffering. Mostly it is about awareness at this stage in my life that each day is a gift from God. It is also an impression that our good works are in giving ourselves to others in the form of a listening ear, an encouraging voice, a helping hand or an intercessory prayer.

“Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11, NASB). Amen

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