Stewardship of Our Time

Aaron Birk November 1, 2020 Psalm 90

Would you agree with me this morning that there is great value of being told the truth even if the truth is difficult to hear?

For example, being told by someone you need to grow in a skill. That truth gives you an opportunity to use the time given to you grow and steward your time differently…even though it was hard to hear.

Or the value of a boss speaking the truth and telling you that the company you work for not going to make it financially in the near future so you have time to prepare and steward your remaining days differently.

Or for those of who have loved ones, I think we would agree that we see the value of hearing the truth of the hard news of cancer or another medical diagnosis, so that we have time to adjust our lives, our expectations, and consider how best to redeem the time.

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

So this morning we are continuing our annual Stewardship Series on the Stewardship of Time.

It’s important for us to consider the principles of stewardship as they apply to time.

1. God owns everything, you own nothing.

2. God entrusts you with everything you have.

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

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

The passage that the Lord has for us this morning is Psalm 90. Turn in your bibles to Psalm 90.

This Psalm is packed with truth about God, us, and how should we respond to these hard truths to better steward our time in our world that is sighing in pain from sin and suffering.

Read Psalm 90

1 A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.

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

2 Before the mountains were born

Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,

Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

3 You turn man back into dust

And say, “Return, O children of men.”

4 For a thousand years in Your sight

Are like yesterday when it passes by,

Or as a watch in the night.

5 You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep;

In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.

6 In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew;

Toward evening it fades and withers away.

7 For we have been consumed by Your anger

And by Your wrath we have been dismayed.

8 You have placed our iniquities before You,

Our secret sins in the light of Your presence.

9 For all our days have declined in Your fury;

We have finished our years like a sigh.

10 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.

11 Who understands the power of Your anger

And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?

12 So teach us to number our days,

That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

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

And be sorry for Your servants.

14 O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness,

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

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

And the years we have seen evil.

16 Let Your work appear to Your servants

And Your majesty to their children.

17 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 morning we are seeking to grow as a church family in the…

Stewardship of Time

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

If you want to grow to be a wise steward you must…

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

Difficulties shake us from our comfort zones. We feel exposed, vulnerable, weak, and one natural response we have when we know the truth that hard times are ahead is to look for something or someone that is secure.

What can we trust and depend on that will protect us and help us get through the difficult days?

There are difficult days ahead, that’s the truth. Near term we are facing the reality of increasing COVID cases, we are facing the reality of political challenges, financial concerns for many, and personal losses in life of loved ones, and our own sin that we are fighting against…

And Moses, the prophet of God and leader of God’s nation, Israel, at this time encourages us…

1. Don’t trust a vaccine for our ultimate source protection because there are only more viruses to come and vaccines can fail…

2. Don’t make our government our refuge because leaders can abuse our laws we have seen it for generations…

3. Don’t make our job our dwelling place…there are whole industries that have changed…

4. Or to be deceived that you can somehow protect yourself

…the wise steward makes sure you are using your time to find your security in an eternal God because…

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.

How should this truth impact us as Christians for how we steward our time?

Are we using our time to help the future generations find their security in their eternal Creator and Lord, Jesus Christ?

As Christians do we believe that our true home and dwelling place is in the Lord, he is purposing and working in this world so that all generations would find their refuge in him.

Also, consider that…

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.”

Some of the oldest and most stable things we marvel are the mountains and the creations God has made in this earth.

I remember hiking through Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Yosemite and God’s power in creation of such amazing landscapes makes you feel so small, and so temporary as you consider works of God’s hands that have been there through nations and kingdoms. Yet even the oldest things we think of…God already was before the mountains and earth.

Because God is eternal there is security knowing that we never escape his presence. He is present in all times…so we know that always we have the security and protection of God as our dwelling place…available.

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

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, shouldn’t cultivating and growing and vibrant relationship with God be the most important focus and the greatest joy for the security and stability of our lives.

Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness our sins and raised to life from the dead so that we can be restored to a right relationship with God. So that we can have the joy of a relationship with our creator…For anyone who turns from their sin and trusts Jesus you have access to God every moment of every day.

But instead we take often take for granted the relationships that are most available and present in our lives.

For example, if I know that I can see my wife or my children at home regularly, when other opportunities are trying to get my time…I can be tempted to think…this is only a one-time thing…this person is just visiting and then I will never see them again…it’s another project at work and I’ll have time after…and soon one of the greatest blessings and important stewardship of my time in relationship like my marriage is neglected...for something more temporary…

And we can do this with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

But there is incredible blessing and joy when we steward our time toward knowing and loving Jesus Christ, the eternal God, who is always present and who is our security in life and death.

So we want to be secure in an eternal God as our dwelling place because he alone is always present for us and all future generations…We need to trust this truth about God if we are going deal with the difficult realities of what God talks about in verses 3-12.

Wise stewards…trust you are secure in an eternal God, and

Wise stewards…

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

When we see our lives on this earth for what they really are…weak, frail, and transitory like a vapor…we need to see ourselves in view of God’s time and eternity.

There are times in life like that just seem like an eternity:

…I remember taking our kids to see their cousins and after about 1 hour 40 minutes of driving we tell our children its only about 5 minutes and one of my children says, “5 minutes!! More like 5 hours!!!”

…My wife and I often joke that when were engaged those ten months before we got married were like ten-thousand years…

…then when we had our first child the first 3 months of sleep deprivation seemed like 300,000 years…

...And the next 2 days might feel like 2 million years…and when we see each other next week we will all have white hair or no hair….

…which is why to be wise stewards of our time we must…

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 look back and laugh at our younger selves for our perspective of time. As we age and mature, we tend to look back on years of time and view them from a different perspective. Decades are like snap of a picture…

But when we go through suffering, even as more mature Christians, suffering tends to give us the view that the difficult times will last forever.

Consider the sufferings that Moses and the Israelite people experienced. Moses saw Aaron his brother die, his sister Miriam, much of the first generation of Israelites die wandering in the desert for 40 years because of the sin of the people. Because of people’s rebellion against God and not trusting God to provide and care for them, they suffered from plagues, snake bites, being killed by the sword, and being swallowed up in the earth…and there you are wandering in the desert for 40 years…as Israelite after Israelite dies…

Brothers and sisters, we have been in COVID mode for about eight months, and by all the information we observe…God may ordain for us to be in it longer…others in our church family lost loved ones from a variety of factors and have the difficult journey of grief before them…others still are in the valley of personal suffering…

What will help encourage us best steward our time even though we suffer?

What will motive us to continue persevere and find joy in the Lord being our dwelling?

Look at your life of suffering through the lens of God’s eternal perspective.

God wants to give us the correct perspective of our time here so we can get the most out of it…Christian you should have this eternal perspective…

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

The apostle Peter helps connect this truth of God’s eternity to give perspective of suffering as well…

2 Peter 3:8-10 – “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

A wise steward in this time, is seeing God’s timing of this suffering through the eternal lens that it is helping me prepare for God’s judgment, appreciate his promise, and to bring about repentance in the lives of many so that they do not have to face the just wrath of God for their sin.

As we consider the example of our Savior Jesus Christ, who temporarily and momentarily went through suffering and death, now crowned we glory and power… and we see God’s powerful work in Christ through suffering to bring salvation to the ends of the earth…so we can endure our suffering in view of God’s eternal perspective.

But the truth about us in this world is really important for us to hear to better steward time…our life on this earth is limited. It is so short and we are so frail.

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

Every moment of our time on this earth is a gift from God. It’s an entrustment from him, and we don’t know when he will call us into account.

This brevity of life is illustrated in…

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

  1. Like a body decayed to dust
  2. Like being swept away by a flood
  3. Like the grass that flourishes and dies
  4. Our lives on earth sigh under the curse of sin.
  5. The curse means that life is short and difficult

Remember it was God who formed the first man Adam from the dust and gave him life and it God who returns us to the dust and makes us taste death as a curse for our sin against God. We need to be reminded compared to our eternal God we are like dust.

“You turn man back into dust

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

In California, flash floods were common near the mountainous desert areas…and heavy rains pour down from the mountains, overflowing river beds and streams, and quickly cars and homes and people are swept away suddenly to destruction…that the picture…

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

“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)

The wise steward is allowing 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.

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.

Are we prepared to meet Jesus Christ the judge of the living and the dead. Are your trusting and depending your life on Jesus Christ?

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

Times of suffering are reminders of the reality of the curse of sin. In this world we live in the valley of the shadow of death. We have a refuge and dwelling place as we go through the valley, a good shepherd, our Lord God. But the valley is not going away until Jesus completely swallows up sin and death forever. These times serve as great humbling reminders for spiritual checkups about the source of the problem…

“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.”

“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 has cursed creation with because of sin.

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

“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.”

Church, are we redeeming these difficult times with our death in mind.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 - It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every person,
And the living takes it to heart.

If time allows:

Application for those grieving in our church family

Application for time in serving opportunities through holidays

Application in sharing gospel with unsaved relatives, parents, coworkers.

This is a somewhat somber Psalm of trust in the center, because God wants to speak to our reality. We live in a world of suffering under the curse of sin…but don’t you just love that this song is bookended by the nature of our God.

In this temporary and transient world we have security in an our eternal God…But we also can expect the Lord to give us a joyful and fruitful life even though our life is short…

Notice the song ends encouraging us with hope that because we know God’s character…

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.”

The first request is for God to show his people mercy for their sin to return to them to relent. And to know that in Christ Jesus the Lord offers us his mercy and lovingkindness daily in Christ is amazing. Do you see the contrast? Just like our days under God’s wrath in verse 9. We have the hope that with God that we can be glad all our days…

I love all the commands that Jesus gives us to throughout his earthly ministry to ask…

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.

Church are we being 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 in all sorts of areas in your life, relationships, money etc.

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

If time allows: mention examples in the church family…

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.”

The hard news of the curse of sin and difficulty of our work leads us to see our need for God’s help and appreciate the joy that He can help us live our limited time in a way that is not in vain. Consider, that God desires to will and work in and through us for his good pleasure, so that the works we do everyday in faith to please Jesus Christ, are eternally significant. That God can establish and confirm the works of our hands to provide meaningful love and impact forever….who else can offer me that joy to life.

Example of stewardship and joyful works of Northend Community Center…Faith West…etc.

Let’s pray and ask the Lord to grow in stewarding our time by

1) trusting our eternal God for security in the days ahead

2) making the most of the limited time we have in this sin cursed world

3) and asking the Lord for the grace we need to live joyfully for him to establish the works of our hands as his stewards.

Authors

Aaron Birk

Roles

Pastor of International Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S. – Accounting and Management, Purdue University
M.Div. – Faith Bible Seminary

Aaron is married to Tirzah and has four children: Zemirah, Boaz, Keziah, and Isaiah. Aaron is the Pastor of Global Missions for Faith Church. He serves as a service Pastor for the 11:00 a.m. worship service at Faith West. Aaron oversees international student and family ministries, missionaries, and short-term missions. He teaches in Faith’s Biblical Counseling Ministries and is certified as a biblical counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).