What do you give someone who has everything? For me, some of the most difficult people to buy gifts for during the Christmas season, are those who have the means to purchase whatever they want. So, as Christians, what do we give God, who owns all things? He is not in need of anything. In fact, He has given us an infinitely extravagant gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) in His Son, who died in our place to give us life. God lacks no resource, and He’s also the greatest Gift Giver of all time. What Paul tells us in Romans 12:1 is that God is pleased and glorified when we offer ourselves back to Him in response to what He’s done for us. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1). Give yourself back to God, not as an attempt to repay him (because you can’t), but because you are overwhelmed by His grace and you love Him! Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to explore what is involved in responding to God’s love and giving ourselves back to Him. We should give back to Him our time, talents and treasure, all of which come from Him in the first place. Today, we will examine glorifying the Lord by giving Him our time.
God did not spare His only Son, but gave Him up for us all (Romans 8:32), that we might have eternal life (John 3:16). Our Heavenly Father knew us and chose us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-5). He fashioned us with His fingertips (Psalm 8). God knows us intimately, even the very number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7). He breathed life into our nostrils and sustains our beating heart, moment by moment (Col 1:16-17). God set the sun and the moon into existence, as He made night and day (Gen. 1:3-5). Centuries, years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds are His divine invention. He is not bound by time or finiteness (Ps. 93). Yahweh is eternal and is not constrained by a clock or calendar. God was, He is, and He always will be!
Time, however, for all of God’s creation, is limited and given to us by Him. The Bible speaks of the human life as a “vapor, here one moment and gone the next” (James 4:14). We are like grass that withers and dies (Psalm 103:15). God remains eternal. No man knows the amount of time that God has ordained for him. Scripture tells us that “it is appointed for man a time to die and then comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27). It also tells us that we will be held accountable for what we do with the time that we are given (Eph. 4:17-32). The apostle Paul tells us that we “should make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16).
So the questions at hand for Christ followers are: what percentage of our time should we devote to God? What should our church attendance look like? What does God require in our “spiritual life?” What should be our barometer for determining if we are faithful with our time?
In short, God desires all of our hours, minutes and seconds. In the Western Culture, we have a tendency to compartmentalize everything. We do this with the broad categories of our lives (i.e. physical life, spiritual life, vocational life, family life, social life, recreational life, church life, etc.) God wants it all—100 %. He doesn’t just want our Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday nights. All areas of our lives should be our “spiritual lives.” God demands every second of our life. We should view everything that we do as a means to glorify God by knowing Him, making Him known, and by being excellent in what we do. Paul says this best in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “so whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Even the moments or activities that we consider mundane, should be a means to glorify God.
While every second that we have, should be devoted to Christ, there is a special emphasis placed on attendance to congregational worship on the Lord’s Day (Sunday). The writer of Hebrews (Heb. 10:24-25) reminds us that we don’t need to neglect meeting together at the worship gathering on the Lord ’s Day. This needs to be one of our greatest priorities in weekly planning. If we miss our church’s corporate worship, it should be for extenuating circumstances. This is one of the reasons that ministry to shut-ins/widows is so emphasized in the New Testament. We need this time together every week as a church. This is time to observe the ordinances, hear the preached Word, receive fellowship and accountability, and to worship together. Even when we don’t feel like it, there is great power when we worship as one. God does not merely want your time, He wants your quality time. Observance of the Lord ’s Day shouldn’t be our “leftovers,” after little sleep and long Saturdays of exhausting ourselves. If we are “at church” in physical presence, but absent in every other way, does this please God? We should give God our best! This should be true on Sunday, but it should also be true Monday through Saturday.
As it pertains to church life, we must remember that every person in our particular faith family has a role, a gift, and a treasure to give back. As members of our local church congregations, we should use those things to build up other believers and to reach the lost. We need to make sure that we are sitting under sound teaching/preaching, being discipled, and having a personal devotional life. Also, we should be exercising our gift within the church, evangelizing those in our circle of influence, discipling others, etc. These are not compartments of our life. This is our life, and these pursuits should be infused in everything that we do. Whatever we can do to give of our time, in spite of our circumstances, should be done for the glory of God.
God gave us His son to die on our behalf. The only reasonable response is to give Him our whole life, including our calendar, as an act of worship to Him!