I fear that as college students, we often steward our time very poorly. It is incredibly easy to get caught up in the busyness of life, and we thus forget to manage our time for the glory of God rather than the glory of self. Because we have been cursed with original sin and because our hearts are naturally rebellious against God, we desire to exert our will over God’s will. Our time over God’s time. Much of this self-driven will expresses itself through the way we spend our time. Are we spending more time worrying about how we’re going to do on an exam, or are we spending time resting in God’s sovereignty and care for us? Are we spending more time wondering when we’re going to find our significant-other so we can get that ring by spring, or are we resting in the fulfillment and joy that only God can provide? Are we spending more time in social settings doing mindless things, or are we #intentionally pursuing relationships with those around us because we know that God glories in Spiritual community? There a million questions we could ask ourselves in regards to the way we spend our time, and I’ll be the first to admit that I often find myself in the former category of the question rather than the latter.
For instance, my roommates––whom I love dearly––often come to my mind when I’m having a quiet time. In these moments, I’m reminded that God calls us to pray for our fellow brothers and sisters. I’m reminded of the urgency of going before the Lord in prayer on behalf of others. Yet, each morning when my alarm goes off and I think to myself, “get up now so you can pray for your roommates,” I’ll inevitably push the snooze button and not worry about fulfilling God’s command to pray for others. Somehow in my irrational sinful pride, I say to myself, “these ten extra minutes of sleep are far more important than laying aside my own preferences for the needs of others…. far more important than obedience to a God who cares so deeply for me.” It’s astounding to me how often I find myself spending my time catering to own needs rather than submitting myself to the Lord’s will and ways. It’s astounding how often I choose to steward my time so poorly.
God calls us to be selfless with our time. He calls us to make the best use of it for the glory of his name. In John 9:4, Jesus says, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.” In this context, Jesus uses the word “day” to refer to his earthly ministry while he is here on this earth because he is the “light of the world” that lightens the day. Consequently, the word “night” refers to Jesus’ impending crucifixion and death. Christ is putting into perspective for us the reality that though it is day now, “the night cometh.” He is highlighting the intense awareness of time he has for the need to fulfill the ministry God has placed before him to accomplish. He is setting aside his own preferences, his own comforts, and his own time in order to submit to the authority of his heavenly Father. If Christ Jesus himself––who is divine, need I remind you––can humbly submit himself and his time to another, how much more should we, as his followers submit ourselves and our time to God.
As followers of Christ, we must be faithful to fulfill the time God has entrusted us with, with things above and not things below (see John 4:34 11:9; 12:35; & Rom. 13:12; & Gal. 6:10; and the whole book of Ecclesiastes). We must be faithful to spend our time in a way that glories God rather glories self. We must use our time wisely to serve others, pursue Gospel ministry, and fulfill God’s will for our life. We cannot allow the age-old saying “I’ll do it later” become a habitual practice. Let us use our time now to be ambassadors for Christ. There’s a reason that Jesus spoke this verse (John 9:4) in front of his disciples. It’s because he has given us the privilege of being a part of his ministry and his mission. How awesome is it that God, in his divine wisdom and compassion, chose us––rebellious sinners––to accomplish his will through the proclamation of his word in ministry. We must not take this privilege lightly. We should respond with joy to the fact that God seeks to use us to accomplish his will. Yes we must be prudent and not reckless in our pursuit of making good use of time. And yes, we must make time for “sabbath” rest; but, we cannot allow distractions, preferences, or our own comfort sway of us from the ministry God has placed before us. It is urgent that we “work the works of him who sent us”, because “night is coming,” when we can longer partake in God’s ministry.
Many of you are probably close to someone that has been affected by cancer. At the very least, I’m sure all of us know of someone that has been affected by cancer. Cancer is a nasty disease that takes the lives of so many people and speaks to the gravity of the effect of sin in the world. In 2011, I came to realize in a much more real sense the ways cancer can affect someone as my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. I stood by my dad’s side in oncology labs where he received IVs and in hospital rooms where nurses cared for the massive wounds on his torso from various surgeries. I stood in the hospital room as he grimaced and moaned in pain. I stood by his bedside as he looked hopeless at times. It was during these moments that I wished someone had a simple cure for cancer and that it could be vanquished as soon as it is discovered. Now imagine with me how upset (angry, honestly), I would be if after all the pain my dad went through I found out someone had a cure for cancer, but they just simply didn’t want to share it with the world. Thankfully my dad has been cancer free for over five years now, but I can’t imagine how frustrating it would have been that if for whatever reason, someone had a solution for a problem that ravishes so many people’s lives, and yet they chose not to help. Yet, are we not doing the same thing when we fail to carry out the Gospel ministry that God has laid before us? Do we not have a true message that brings others from death to new life in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? We cannot ignore the reality, rather the urgency, of the Gospel and what it calls us to. We must lay aside our wills, our desires, and our own time in order to spread the good news of Christ’s reconciling work on the cross. The night is coming, friends, and we must be diligent in the work laid before us before it does indeed come.
God, use me for the glory of your name. Help me to make effective use of my time so that I can carry out your ministry in my time on this Earth. Give me the wisdom to see your will as more important than my own. Grant me the ability to humbly places your ministry above my own. I need you now more than ever; come and fill me. Use me as vessel at your disposal.