Do you ever think about just how much value Americans put on their time? Or realize just how much we worship having "me" time? For those of you who are Believers, have you ever thought about how those rights we hold onto are in direct opposition the the Lord? That has been what has been on my heart this weekend.
In Matthew there is a parable of a master who gives his money to three of his servants to keep for him while he is away. The three servants take this money and do some very different things with it. Two of the servants invest the money and it is returned back twice as much. The other goes and buries his out of fear. When the master returns the two who have invested are told "Well done, good and faithful servant." The one who has hidden his portion of the money is sent away.
What is it, then, that the Master of the Universe has given to us, His servants, to invest? He has given us so much: the keys to the kingdom, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control, spiritual gifts such as teaching, healing, and discernment, compassion, salvation, mercy, grace, and on, and on, and on.
How do we invest those things? By ministering to other people 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Seriously. If we have a single minute of our day where we are not seeing with an outward focus the lives of those around us and asking the Lord about how we can help them, then the only other person we our investing in is ourselves. That, plain and simple, means that we are worshiping ourselves.
I don't necessarily know that those of us who don't invest what we've been given in other people will "be sent away." The Bible is clear that our salvation once earned cannot be lost. But, what I do know, is that at the end of my life, when I am standing before the Lord giving an account of my life, I want to come limping into that throne room without an ounce of fuel left in my tank, without a shred of rubber on flat tires, and the life from my battery drained. I don't want an earthly possession left, or a minute of my time as my own. I want to invest so much of what I have been given into others that the return is double what I started with. I want to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant." For me to give away myself in service to others is to gain everything. Life will never be fulfilling and truly full of joy until I realize that life is not worth living, unless it is worth living for other people.
What stands in the way of this is my desperate belief in my right to hold on to my own time. I have had small spurts of breakthrough in this, and yet, I still hold on to my free time with clenched fists. And just like the servant who buries his money, I hold on to what the Lord has given me out of fear. I am afraid of giving up *my* time. Or, more acurately, I am afraid of giving up ALL of my time. I don't think anyone who knows me would say that I don't serve, because I do. But the very real truth is that I give it up on my own agenda and time-frame. I still see my life as my own in this way. I need to understand that my time isn't my time, but the Lord's time. Right now *I* decide when I'll serve. *I* decide when I am done serving. *I* decide what I am going to do on my nights where there is nothing specific scheduled. *I* *I* *I* *I* *I.* Do you see all the "I's" in there? What I need is to realize that when *I* am in charge, the Lord is not. I need less of me and more of the Lord. This is the meaning of the verse about dying to our selves. I need to get out of the way so that the Lord can HAVE His way.
I am greived over my fear. I am greived over my lack of compassion and love for others. I am greived over how much of myself is still inside of me. I am greived today that I am still counting the cost when somuch has been given to me.