Stewardship of Time

November 3, 2007 Luke 16:1-13

 

Intro

As Faith grows larger we have a wonderful two-fold problem that will continue to increase in a direct proportion to size of the church.

First, we have a growing number of ministry opportunities. Everywhere we look we see new ministries designed to help our church fulfill its God given mission. Both new ministries as well as those ministries that are tried and true provide ample opportunity for service.

Second, we have a steady stream of new members here at faith who need service opportunities that are both fruitful and fulfilling.

As Faith seeks to accomplish its mission of winning people to Jesus and helping those people to move towards Christlikeness surely we need to work hard at helping all people serve the Lord according to how God had made and entrusted them with spiritual gifts.

One of the goals of stewardship month is to motivate each one of us to take steps of growth in the way we serve God.

We believe that we need to evaluate three major areas of life: our time, our talents and our treasure.

Today we will look as the important issue of serving god with our time.

Our goal for today’s lesson is for each student to evaluate the hours given to them against the standard of God’s Word so that they can “make the most of their time”.

Key Factors of Stewardship

Second Factor of Stewardship

We have defined stewardship, and we have learned the first factor of stewardship.  Please take a moment and write out each of these for your review:

Definition of stewardship:  God-given responsibilitywith accountability.

1stfactor of stewardship:  God owns everythingI own nothing.

Today, we will discuss the second factor of stewardship:

Please read Luke 16:1-13.

Luke 16:1-13

Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions. “And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. ‘I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’ “And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he began saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ “And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ “Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ “And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings. “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? “And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

  • What had the master entrusted to the steward?
  • For what reasons did the master possibly do this?

The master in this passage entrusted his possessions to the steward.  Notice that the master did not give his possessions to the steward for the steward to keep for himself.  The master expected the steward to guard and keep them secure for a specified time.  Just like the master in this parable, God entrusts His possessions to us to use.

  • Contrast the word entrust with the word given.  What are the differences?
  • How does a person think or act who views what he has as something simply ‘given’ to him/her?
  • How does a person think or act who views what he has as something ‘entrusted’ to him/her?
  • We don’t necessarily know all the reasons why God chooses to entrust His precious possessions to imperfect people like us, but one the reasons is simply this: God is gracious!  Also, He expects us to be faithful in the use of His possessions He has graciously given.

Today’s Lesson

Guiding Scripture Theme: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Time is a Giftfrom God

Psalm 90:1-4 A Prayer of Moses, the man of God. Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man back into dust And say, “Return, O children of men.” For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night.

Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

We do not have an unlimited supply of time.

We often act as if we had an unlimited supply of time.

  • If we shortchange the time we devote to our families, it is not because we intend to harm those relationships: we just have more pressing things to do.
  • We assume there will be plenty of time to take care of our relationships.

Time is a gift we dare not take for granted. James reminds us,

James 4:13-15 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

Like every other good and perfect gift (Jas 1:17), time is something God gives. Every day—every hour—is ultimately a gift of God’s grace.

Discussion Prompters

Time is Fallen

Galatians 1:3-5Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.

Walter Wink has described how otherwise good elements of God’s creation can be twisted into dark tools of the devil that exert a degrading influence over individuals and whole societies.

The things that give order and structure to life can become the very things that hold us back.

Time is certainly one of God’s good gifts that have the potential to turn against us. We can invest it with power or influence over us to the point that it becomes a burden rather than a gift. At times like this we can identify with Shakespeare’s Hamlet, who complained,

The time is out of joint; O cursed spite,

That ever I was born to set it right!

Discussion Prompters

Time Can Be Redeemed

Ephesians 5:15-17 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Many Christians remember Ephesians 5:16 as it is phrased in the King James Version: “redeeming the time, for the days are evil.

Redeem” is a term from the world of business that implies getting the most out of an investment.

  • Time is the ultimate gift, and it is what we have most in common.
  • We each get an equal daily allotment of this precious gift, and despite our metaphors to the contrary, we cannot save it, kill it, or even waste it. All we can do with time is spend it, but we can spend it either wisely or foolishly.
  • That is what the stewardship of time is all about: How can we spend our time in ways that are fruitful, enriching, and wise?
  • Time is something we must master in Jesus’ name, or it will surely master us. Or, to state the matter more positively, redeeming the time is a way of extending God’s kingly rule in this world.

Peter F. Drucker rightly noted that

Christian stewardship of time, however, is more than mere “time management.”

  • To redeem the time, we need richer language than that. We need biblical language that reflects the God who grants us life hour by hour and minute by minute.

Two kindsof time:

We can begin by noting that there are at least two different biblical terms for competing concepts of time.

In the New Testament, time is sometimes denoted by the word chronos.

  • This is time as it is measured out in minutes, hours, days, etc. It is the time of clocks and calendars, proceeding at an unchanging pace day after day.
  • For most of us, this sort of time, and the work-weeks and time-clocks that go with it, moves too slowly.

But there is another way to conceive of time. Another Greek word for time is kairos.

  • It is also the Greek word for “opportunity.”
  • Kairos is time measured not by the clock or the calendar but by the quality of what is experienced in that time.
  • If chronos says, “Nine months have passed,” kairos says, “I’m going into labor.”
  • Kairos is our perception of the natural rhythms that God has built into the world and into human existence.
  • While chronos tends to drag, kairos often passes before our eyes in a blur.
  • But the quality of our existence is wrapped up far more in kairos than chronos.

When Charles Dickens penned the famous opening line of A Tale of Two Cities,

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times,” he was describing kairos.

As Art Buchwald observed,

“Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we've got.”

So, what shall we do to make the most of it? Here we are confronted with a paradox: 

If we want to enhance our kairos, we need to get our chronos under control. How do we do this?

Practical Steps to Redeeming the Time

Some Key Biblical Considerations

Note: You will want to choose from the following points those that will most greatly benefit your class.

  1. You must decide how best to please God with the 24 hours you have each day.

2 Corinthians 5:9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

  1. .Seeking to please people is our natural tendency.

Galatians 1:10For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

  1. The fear of man brings a snare

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.

  1. You will give an account to God for the stewardship of your time and energy.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

  1. God does not expect you to be perfect in this area, but he does expect you to be growing and changing.

Ephesians 4:22-24 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

  1. The Scripture presents time use as a wisdom issue, not as a moral or guidance issue.

Ephesians 5:15-17 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Philippians 1:9-10 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;

Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

  1. Moral issues deal with right and wrong.
  2. Guidance issues deal with God telling me what to do when I don’t know what to do.

The Scriptures are God’s final and complete revelation to us today!

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

2 Peter 1:2-3 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

  1. Wisdom is ________ and discernment...
  2. You can _______ wise!

James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

  1. You are wise to buy up windows of opportunity.

Ephesians 5:16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

  1. To buy up or redeem means:
  2. To exchange what you have for what you want
  3. How you spend your discretionary time reveals your value system.
  4. The less discretionary time you have, the more important it is how you spend it!
  5. Windows of opportunity are influenced by:
  6. Your age and family status

1 Corinthians 7:32-35 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

  1. Your willingness to live by faith.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

  1. Your faithfulness in past responsibilities.

Luke 16:10-11“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?

What windows of opportunity are yours to buy up or to lose?

Discussion Prompters