The Gift of Time

I spoke of my giving story on Monday as it related to giving money to the church. Today, I’m going to speak of another gift God wants us to give to His people–the gift of time. There are no variations in the amount of time we have as opposed to the amount of money we have. There are only twenty-four hours in each day. Hours to work, hours to rest, hours to take care of our families and ourselves.You’re probably asking, “What do you mean? Do we need to give time to the church too? I thought that was taken care of when I wrote my check to the church.”

Not exactly. God wants us to give time to Him and His people too–i.e., the church. This has never been as difficult for me as giving money has been because, well, I have more time to give than money. I like feeling like I’ve accomplished something for God when I spend time doing something for the church or for one of God’s people.

So, why don’t more people give more time to the church? We all have the same amount of time in every day. It should be easy to plan time for God or for His people.

Apparently, it’s not though. Some people don’t give time because they’ve already given money. They think they’ve done their duty by giving the money, and they don’t want to get any closer to people than they have to.

They also don’t think they have enough time to invest. Between working, family, friends, sports, hobbies, and whatever else a modern family participates in, the investment of time in the church seems not to be on people’s priority lists. “Isn’t that why the church has a paid staff?”

Another reason people don’t want to give time to the church is that they don’t have a true understanding of community.It took me a long time to gain this understanding myself so I am familiar with this train of thought. These people have not had people in the church love them unconditionally like we are all called to do so they are unwilling to take the risk of investing time in the church or its community.

Finally, they don’t feel qualified to help. They feel like what needs to be done is beyond their ability, and they don’t trust that Jesus will help them in what He is calling them to do.

These reasons reduce the number of people willing to make the investment of time in their churches which leaves the rest of us to pick up the tasks that need to be done. And there is so much God has for us to do which leads to the other point I wanted to make about the gift of time.

First, I need to admit to a small mistake I made earlier. I said I liked feeling like I’ve accomplished something for God when I invest time in the church. That really shouldn’t be the reason I want to invest time in the church. The grace and love of Jesus overflowing out of me should be the reason I want to invest time in the church and in its people.

There’s another reason people invest time in the church though, and it can be insidious. Some people don’t believe God’s love and grace applies to them so they need to accomplish tasks in order to gain it. That is why they invest an overabundance of time in the church. They see the lack of people available to accomplish tasks and think they will gain credit with God if they step in and do them. This isn’t true either. God loves and has grace for each and every one of us, and it doesn’t depend on us accomplishing a task to gain it. God accepts us and loves us because He sent His Son. Jesus’ death and resurrection are worth much more than anything we have done, can do, or will do. We don’t deserve it. He gives it to us freely in exchange for our belief. The gifts of time and money we give Him should only be in response to the overwhelming grace and love He has lavished on us.

May we all feel His love and grace today as we express them to others through the gift of time!

God’s blessings on all of you today!



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