Stewardship of Our Time

Dr. Rob Green November 8, 2020 Psalm 90

Good morning. I hope you have been encouraged by the messages and the testimonies throughout Stewardship month.

  • I think we all understand the Importance of being a good steward to honor the Lord.
  • One of the other benefits of living with purpose/meaning/Intentionality Is a greater sense of hope and encouragement.
  • If your children do something bad, then you would rather know the truth.
  • If the company was going to downsize It would have been really nice to know with more than 20 minutes of advance warning. He would have rather known the truth earlier so he could prepare.
  • That allows us to make lifestyle changes that we need to make. It allows us to consider what care options we want to pursue. It potentially reprioritizes our situation.
  • to which he should have responded, "well, Dad, can I have that money now so It Is ready when the government comes to collect?"
  • I hope you have thought about your role In LN. Serving In various ways … praying for those who are serving … Inviting those In your circle … taking your family through the LN.
  • Christmas Eve services … that Is always an evangelistic sermon. At this point, we are planning lots of service options at all the campuses.
  • The first is yep … we are so weak and frail that we could die right this second. We know that we have only a short time when compared to human history and especially when we compare it to God's eternality.
  • However, there are times in life that seem like an eternity:
  • remember Injuring my groin muscle In a soccer game as a child. It was the most pain I had In my life at that time … the doctor was right … It took a few weeks before It healed. But until then It was easy to think that the pain lasted a lifetime.
  • My wife and I were engaged for a year and it seemed like our wedding would never come.
  • Like a body decayed to dust
  • Recovery from exercise Is very different. Losing weight Is very different … It seems that the metabolic process has slowed considerably.
  • Like being swept away by a flood
  • Like the grass that flourishes and dies
  • Our lives on earth sigh under the curse of sin.
  • The curse means that life is short and difficult
  • Make us sing for joy
  • Help us to be glad all our days (even living under the curse of the fall)
  • Ask and it will be given…like a good Father he gives us good gifts to his children for our joy and good…so ask…
  • Come boldly to the throne of Grace…ask and he gives us the grace and mercy in our time of need.
  • Let's be wise stewards of our time in prayerful dependence asking the Lord each day to provide us satisfaction from his never ending never stopping kindness that is available to us through Jesus Christ.
  • When you are satisfied in the mercy and kindness of God, you will be in a better position to steward your time
  • Consider the work of Christ that he is building his church and the gates of Hades won’t stand against it. Behold the powerful work of Jesus that is able to cleanse sinful people to the uttermost.
  • See the power of Christ that can do far more than we think or imagine. As we focus on the works God has established and look with hope to the works that he plans to do, we will experience so much joy.
  • We know that our lives are full of labor and sorrow. But we are asking you to take our labor and do something about It.
  • Take our labor and Infuse It with grace and use It In the lives of people.

I want to begin this message but asking, "Would you agree with me that you would rather know the truth, even if the truth is difficult to hear?

If your children do something that Is really bad. You would rather them tell you the truth. That allows you to address the matter while It Is still relevant. It prevents the surprise of learning about It later and the potential challenges that might create.

During soccer season this year, I was speaking to a friend. I asked him how life was going. He told me that he just lost his job. He went Into work a few days earlier and was Immediately asked to go to HR. They read a script and walked him to his car.

Or consider the moment you need to go to the doctor's. They run some tests and one of the tests reveals a problem. Even though that is going to be hard news to hear, wouldn't we rather know the truth?

Knowing the truth, no matter how difficult to hear, helps us better steward our time.

This morning we are going to look at a sobering passage where God tells us some hard truths for the purpose of the Stewardship of Time.

Please turn In your Bibles to Psalm 90. As you are getting there, let's review where we have been. Stewardship Is God given responsibility with accountability. As we look Into Scripture and think about stewardship as a whole, the following 4 principles apply:

1. God owns everything, you own nothing.

That Is true of my priorities as we heard the Worrells explain In their testimony. It Is true of my treasure. The Boyers did a great job of explaining how the Lord Impacts their use of money. Our testimony today showing how those ladies used their time to bless our children.

2. God entrusts you with everything you have.

This helps us guard against pride. The Lord has given me everything I have. My Intellect, my time, my health, my success, whatever … he gave It to me.

3. You can either increase or diminish what God has given; He wants you to increase it.

Increase may sound like a funny word In some aspects of stewardship, but think of Increase In terms of actual Increase In an area of stewardship where that Is possible, but think of "effectiveness" In an area where It Is not. For example, time, what we will look at today Is not something you can Increase (I wish!). You get 24 hours a day for the number of days appointed to your life. But It Is possible to squander those days or use them effectively.

4. God can call you into account at any time, and it may be today.

Psalm 90 is all about this one!

Please follow along as I read. This Is the Word of the Lord. [Read Psalm 90]

The title of our message Is Stewardship of Time and I would like us to consider …

3 ways to grow in stewarding your time during difficult times.

I. Trust you are secure in an eternal God. (v.1-2)

Moses tells us that our lives are short. We will get to the details of that later. But God is eternal. Let that phrase sink in. God is eternal.

That is why a biblical worldview and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is so critical. If all you have is a naturalistic worldview then your security is only in yourself. That is not satisfying.

When a person trusts Christ as their Lord and savior, there is a new relationship. Moses grew up in privilege, but refused to accept the Egyptian worldview. His saving relationship with God put him in a secure relationship with the eternal God.

That is true for every one of us who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If you are here this morning or watching online, there is no other point in this sermon more important than this one. You need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You need to repent of your sin and trust in the D/B/R of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Romans 8:38-39 which says, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, which will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Would you also agree that this security In an eternal Is so much better than the current versions of trust …

1. If only we had a vaccine, everything would be awesome …

2. The outcome of the election even If your candidate wins …

3. Our current way of life will be preserved …

Moses goes bigger … he knows that security comes In his relationship with an eternal God and describes that security as follows:

A. He is the dwelling place for all generations

“A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.”

It’s interesting to consider that the timing of this community song of trust by Moses is when Israel was not yet in the Promised Land. They had no land of their own, and we know that the first generation of Israelites freed from Egypt would die in the wilderness, never to live and dwell in the Promised land.

What an amazing comfort that the security for Moses was not in the Land, but in the Lord…but then to know that because God is eternal…he provides the security and hope not just for me in my time, but in all the times for all the generations after me.

We talk about what kind of life we will leave our children and grandchildren. When we have a stimulus package I think welp, Samuel, I got good news and bad news. The good news Is that I got a check from the government today, the bad news Is that you are going to have to pay It back.

Is that the legacy we are leaving for our children? I hope not. I hope It Is In the fact that they can have a personal relationship with the eternal God of the universe through Jesus Christ that Is going to transcend whatever blessings/curses our generation leaves them.

Trust, Trust, Trust In your relationship with the eternal God because It provides security. Notice how else security comes through …

B. His eternality means you can never escape his presence

“Before the mountains were born

Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,

Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”

During Covid, many people have felt very alone. Stephanie was telling me that there was an elderly gentlemen who died recently and the cause of death was Isolation. Interesting way to list the cause of death.

Without Interaction, there was nothing left for the 95 year old to live for.

Hospitalizations have radically changed. I was talking to one of our church members and said I almost visited you In the hospital today and his response was, "I am so glad you didn't because then my wife could not have seen me today."

It Is very hard to feel secure when you are alone. Moses reminds all of us that whether God's people are wandering nomads, slaves In Egypt, or on a journey to the promised land, God Is always with them.

Last week Pastor Viars, mentioned the Stewardship of Priorities, and this really ties well to the Stewardship of Time when we think about our personal relationship with the Lord and how we use our time.

If God is the eternal one and he is the only one who is present in all times to provide security, then cultivating and growing a vibrant relationship with God will be the most important focus and the greatest joy for the security and stability of our lives.

God's eternality Is a security blanket we can trust no matter what our circumstances. The final reminder …

C. His eternality provides hope that those who come after you can also enjoy his presence

I mentioned a little about this already. What kind of hope and security do we offer our children and grandchildren?

The promise that God Is with his people and that he never leaves them or forsakes them.

When we think about the proper stewardship of time, I think It Is very Instructive for Moses to start with the eternality of God and the security that we have In him as a result.

Think of It this way, the Lord does not give you a time card as the starting place for the stewardship of time, but with the proper worldview.

The Christian worldview for the proper use of time Is that your security and the security of those who follow you Is founded on a personal relationship with the eternal God.

Stewardship of time starts with the right worldview that the Lord is always with us and we can trust him for our security in an uncertain world.

The second truth found In the passage Is…

II. Make the most of your limited time. (v. 3-12)

When people say we have a limited time, it is easy to think in extremes.

We live In this strange sense of life takes forever when we are suffering or when we are eagerly anticipating an exciting event and the other sense where life comes to a close so quickly.

But at the end of the day we know that life Is short. God was kind enough to tell us that even though It Is hard news to hear. Part of making the most of our time Is …

A. View times of suffering from God’s eternal perspective (v. 4)

“For a thousand years in Your sight

Are like yesterday when it passes by,

Or as a watch in the night.” (v.4)

We do not know the exact timing of Psalm 90 Inside Moses' life. But for sake of argument, lets assume It was at the latter end.

Moses saw Aaron his brother, his sister Miriam, much of the first generation of Israelites die wandering in the desert. He watched God judge the Israelites' wickedness and they died from plagues, snake bites, being killed by the sword, and being swallowed up in the earth.

Slowly, but surely, everyone In his generation dies. Some were In their 20s, others made It an elderly age, but all of them died.

For the Lord, the eternal God, a 1000 years Is like yesterday or a 4 hour shift during the night. But to us, 1,000 years represents 20 generations.

Even when we are tempted to think that life never seems to end, we remember the truth that 1,000 years for the Lord Is nothing more than a 4 hour shift.

That is why our 4th stewardship principle - that God can call you into account at any time - is so important.

Moses makes this point even stronger as he continues.

B. Three pictures to teach us how short life is:

“You turn man back into dust

And say, “Return, O children of men.” (v.3)

Ouch, hard words these are. They remind us how quickly our body returns to dust. I am noticing more and more the decaying feature of my body. I am just a few months from one of those 0 birthdays. I'll let you fill In the first number. But I can assure you that It Is not a 2!

Every day Is a little closer to dust -- It Is a hard truth, but thankfully the Lord did not hide It from us.

“You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep”

The Imagery Is powerful here. One of the things about a flood Is that It leaves nothing behind. There are examples of towns that were simply wiped off the face of the earth from a significant wall of water.

That Is our life. I heard once of a little saying like this, "My plan In life: live for Jesus, die, be forgotten." My life will be swept like a flood. Someday, there will be a new NT professor at FBS and he will be better than me, there will be an administrator of the counseling ministry and he will be 10 times the guy I am, there will be a person who takes all of my teaching/preaching opportunities at Faith and within years I will be completely forgotten.

To keep the good news coming, he adds a third

“In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.

In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew;

Toward evening it fades and withers away.” (v. 5b-6)

This probably connects best to the shepherding task where the shepherd must find the green pastures. Grass does not survive long In that area. I once went to a friend's who lives In Arizona. His yard was rocks. I had never seen anything like It. I was dude, did someone steal your grass? He said, grass Is Incredibly expensive to maintain because It Is too dry here.

The wise steward allows the truth about our time on earth, that it is short and it belongs to God and we can be called into account any moment to impact how I live my life today making it my goal to please Christ.

One of the biggest lies we believe is that we always have more time. We can bury our head in the sand and live like death won’t come to us.

How many lives swiftly taken to death do we have to witness before we use our time to consider the truth that death will come to all of us.

When I was studying for this message I heard the story of an Indiana College Student, who was 20 years old, killed by a stray bullet while on a 'Dream' First Visit to N.Y.C.

- He was killed and he was not part of the conflict!

David Douglas, who was In the prior graduating class from our seminary and Phyllis, his wife, were living with her parents. Her parents were Involved In a serious car accident that took both of their lives.

God says in Ecclesiastes, “There is an appointed time for everything.” And in the book of Hebrews

Hebrews 9:27-28 - And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

The bad news, the truth that we did not want to hear, Is that our days are numbered. We are decaying Into dust, we pass away like a flood and It Is as If we never existed, and we are like grass, here In the morning and gone by evening.

We would all be depressed If God had not already told us that we can trust him and find security In him because He Is eternal.

C. Consider God’s anger against sin to number our days

“For we have been consumed by Your anger

And by Your wrath we have been dismayed.

You have placed our iniquities before You,

Our secret sins in the light of Your presence.”

The point he Is making Is that all of us live In a world suffering under the fall - the curse of sin. This Is not the Individual judgment against personal sin. All those who know Christ are freed from the power and penalty of sin. But all of us still live under the fall -- as does all of creation. That means …

“For all our days have declined in Your fury;

We have finished our years like a sigh.”

Wise stewards of time are seeking how best to live under the weight of the curse of sin. Daily we are finding our hope in God and security in him, and looking to his word to navigate the difficulties by obeying him

Church, we must embrace the trust that we cannot remove the curse of sin from this world. We will not be the best stewards of our time if we are seeking to live life trying to escape the groans of suffering God because of sin.

Romans 8:22 – “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”

Our world has dangers of various kinds that continually threaten us. If It Is not a hurricane, a tornado, a flood, then It Is little viruses and bacteria that Inflict our body. Covid today, could be something else tomorrow. It Is part of life.

“As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,

Or if due to strength, eighty years,

Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;

For soon it is gone and we fly away.

“So teach us to number our days,

That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.”

Here is another piece of warm and fuzzy news. The pride of your years is labor and sorrow. Welcome to encouraging Baptist church and your best life now baby!

Moses says this … life Is short and hard. We live In a fallen world with fallen people. We go on a dream vacation to NYC and get killed by a stray bullet. We battle little viruses that sometimes take our lives.

We pass away like a flood - and It Is like we were never there.

So what? Get depressed? Be all bummed out and sit and do thing? No way! The Lord says this teach us to number our days In order to present a heart of wisdom.

Wisdom does not act like we will live forever, act like we are Invisible, act like we are guaranteed the next day. Wisdom says, "make the most of today and all our days."

Parents --- one application could be committing yourself to meaningful time with your children (talk about the Lord, pray, serve). You do not get long. Make the most of It.

Children --- If you are spending your time all Irritated about how restrictive your parents are and how old school they might be, etc. etc., knock It off. Serve them, do what they ask, be a contributor to the family. Make It easy to take you to church.

In our work, our school … put In a good effort. Use your time well and get on with other things.

We started with the foundation of a personal relationship with Christ brings security. The logical Implication of that Is sharing Christ with others. Imagine getting the news that your life Is short and It will be hard and NOT having a personal relationship with Jesus.

I love how this Psalm ends because it ends so positively.

III. Ask the Lord for grace to live a life of joy (v.13-17)

A. The joy of daily satisfaction in God’s mercy and love

“Do return, O Lord; how long will it be?

And be sorry for Your servants.

O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness,

That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us,

And the years we have seen evil.”

Moses asks the Lord to satisfy us in the morning with your lovingkindness. Isn't that awesome? Yes, I got some really sobering news, but it is bookended by amazing truths about the Lord. First, we can trust him because we are secure in him and the second is that he can satisfy us.

I love the NT commands about prayer… consider these

The bad news does not depress us, but motivate us. Motivates us in our walk with Jesus and in the use of our time.

Notice too, the request for God to make us glad is tied to seeing God’s work…

B. The joy of seeing God’s work in his time

“Let Your work appear to Your servants

And Your majesty to their children.”

We also redeem our time by asking the Lord to focus our attention on the works of God because those are enduring and glorious.

This Is a great journaling exercise. What works of the Lord are you witnessing In your life?

Not only that, one of the greatest joys that God’s grace allows us to experience in this sin cursed world is the joy of getting to be apart of his work in and through us…

C. The joy of God establishing the work of our hands

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;

And confirm for us the work of our hands;

Yes, confirm the work of our hands.”

This is an awesome way to end the Psalm. Yes, he gave us hard news, but he also said, Lord, help us make the most of our time, please make our hearts glad, please let us see what you are doing in our life, then Lord would you please confirm the work of our hands.

Many of you know that Pastor Bill Goode and Dr. Bob Smith started the counseling ministry at Faith. In 1985 they decided to offer a conference. Bill Goode died In 1997 and Dr. Smith retired from the BCTC about 5 years ago. But God confirmed the works of their hands. Since 1985 roughly 30,000 have received help In ministering God's word to others. They could have never guessed that.

Pastor Viars In 2002 decided that the Red Cross Christmas program could not die. Something had to be done. That was the first year of Christmas for Everyone. Earlier this week I visited the location they were registering needy children. This Is the 18th year. Since 2002 Christmas presents have been purchased for some 20,000 children. No one could have known that in 2002.

These may seem like extreme examples, but others Include grandmother's faithfully taking a grandchild to church, a mom who teaches her children to live for Jesus, or a dad who faithfully prays for his family.

The Lord knows how to confirm the works of our hands. May God give us the strength, courage, and willingness to make the most of our time.

Authors

Dr. Rob Green

Roles

Pastor of Counseling and Seminary Ministries - Faith Church

Pastor of Counseling and Seminary Ministries - Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries

MABC Department Chair, Instructor - Faith Bible Seminary

Bio

B.S. - Engineering Physics, Ohio State University
M.Div. - Baptist Bible Seminary
Ph.D. - New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary

Dr. Rob Green joined the Faith Church staff in August, 2005. Rob’s responsibilities include oversight of the Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaching New Testament at Faith Bible Seminary. He serves on the Council Board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and as a fellow for the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Pastor Green has authored, co-authored, and contributed to 9 books/booklets. Rob and his wife Stephanie have three children.

Read Rob Green's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Green to Faith Church.