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Sermon par le Ps Philip Tse

New Year 2020: What are we doing with time?

Lecture: Psaumes 90

Every New Year is a time of celebration and feasting. To many, New Year is also a time of reflection and new resolutions. Have we ever reflected on the importance of time?

1. What are we doing with time?

Do we realise that time on earth is limited for every living creature? There is a beginning and there will be an end (Psalms 90:3-6). Are we in that category of people who do not bother about time and just take things as they come? Or, do we believe that time on earth is about going to work, getting married, have a family, get a new car, enjoy overseas trips, pay our debts, etc? Or, are there other things to do in life which have an eternal impact?

We are thankful to God that He is adding another Year in our life. Time cannot be saved and seems moving very fast. Year 2021 will be coming in a twinkling of the eye, particularly for the over 40 years old and those who are very busy. If we consider time as a treasure which would not come back, our perspective of life will change.

A Christian, who regards time as a treasure given by God, will watch very carefully on how he uses time:

  • He will not waste time in useless things, but will use time to learn and become wiser in his being and doing. Psalm 90:12 (NLT)Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.”

Ephesians 5:15-16Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

  • He knows that he shall be accountable to Jesus Christ whether he uses his time for good or bad.

2 Corinthians 5:10 « For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. ».

C.S. Lewis stated “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”

A good Christian spends time with God by praying privately and together with other Christians. He uses his time to improve his love and relationship with others, and he works hard in the things of life. He is also aware that he needs time to rest and seek the presence of God.

Hebrews 4:9-10 « There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his ».

Rest is not wasted time; it is refreshment from God that prepares a person to face time and make better use of it. It also reminds us that it is ultimately God who is in control and who provides for our needs. As we seek to manage our time well, it is wise to schedule regular times of rest. Fast and Pray on 1st January is a time of rest in the presence of God when we ask Him to be in control of our time and to provide our needs for the New Year.

Rest is not wasted time; it is refreshment from God that prepares a person to face time and make better use of it. It also reminds us that it is ultimately God who is in control and who provides for our needs. As we seek to manage our time well, it is wise to schedule regular times of rest. Fast and Pray on 1st January is a time of rest in the presence of God when we ask Him to be in control of our time and to provide our needs for the New Year.

However, the responsibilities (family, studies, work) and pressures of this world (wealth accumulation, a new car, a second house, overseas vacation, etc.) are taking most of our time. These responsibilities and pressures are pulling us in all directions, and are causing us to be lost in the whirlwind of worldly things. We do not have time to look at things which have eternal value. But Jesus Christ reminded us of to store treasures in heaven which have eternal value. Matthew 6:19-21 « Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. »

How do we store treasures in heaven? Answer: when we use our time for good works which God has prepared for us.

2. We are called to use our time for good works

Ephesians 2:10 « For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. »

God created every human unique. Every person is called to use time to serve God and do good works in a different way. But all good deeds converge to Jesus Christ. For example, some are called to devote more time in music, some in teachings, some in sono, some in Sunday Schools, some in administration and finance, some to visiting the sick, some to work for good pay so as to provide the necessary finance to the church, and others.

How can we know that we are doing good works which God has prepared for us? The answer is: the good works will always bring you closer to God, to pray, to be hungry for the Word of God, to love your neighbours, and helping in church leadership. On the other hand, if you see yourself driving away from the presence of God, difficult to pray, not hungry with the Word of God, not interested to love your neighbours, and not interested to help in church leadership, we should question our good works.

What can happen if I am very busy with life pressures and don’t have time to do good works?

3. Sin of commission and omission

The sin of commission is the willful act of doing what is wrong before God, such as lying or stealing. The sin of omission is not doing what is right before God, such as refusing to share Christ with others, neglecting to care for those in need, and avoiding prayer.

As a simple example, when a parent tells his child that he is not allowed to play video games until his homework is done, but he disobeys. This is a sin of commission as he did something he was not supposed to do. However, if a parent tells her child to clean her room and she does not do it, this is also an act of disobedience, but not because of something she has done. It has more to do with what she has NOT done. This is a sin of omission.

Both sins of commission and omission are acts of disobedience before God. When Christians don’t have time to do good works, they are committing the sin of omission. It says in James 4:17, “therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

4. Application: How to use Time wisely

To avoid losing focus on our identity as Christians and on our good works, it is wise to set goals and priorities. The following steps are recommended:

  • Most importantly, schedule regular prayer time with God. It is He who creates us and gives us time to live. It is He who equips us to carry out the good works He has prepared for us. It is He who directs our days. The worst thing we could do is manage our time as if it belongs to us. Time belongs to Him, so ask for His wisdom in how to best use it.
  • Reflect on the things which God has called us to do specifically.
  • Consider how much of our time we are currently investing in these things.
  • Consider what else is taking your time.
  • Make a list of priorities and responsibilities and ask God to direct us regarding any changes that need to be made.

Praying and reflecting on our priorities is a good practice of making most of our time, so that we grow in wisdom (Psalms 90:12) and making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Remember; Not all are called to be full time pastors or missionaries. But, we are all called to make time for good works which God has prepared for us.