Time for Restoration (7)
So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90.12
Time and our journey
We began this part of our study on restoring the reconciled world by considering the gift of time and ourselves as stewards of this gift, called to invest it in such a way as to return glory and honor to God with all the time of our lives. We do this by taking up the ministry of reconciliation and the work of restoration that have been given to us, investing all the time of our lives in the work of making all things new.
When we see our lives from the vantage point of Jesus Christ, exalted in glory and furthering His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, we understand better what we’re supposed to be doing with our time. Seeking the Kingdom of God with all our time is our highest priority, so we need to be clear both about how we are using our time in the present, and how we can improve the use of our time so as to pursue the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in all the time of our lives.
Restoration doesn’t just happen. When it happens, it happens because people who look to Jesus exert themselves in the time of their lives to restore the reconciled world to God. This is why God gives us the gift of time each day.
Living each day within the framework of our lives as a journey toward eternal glory can help us to grow in the Lord, draw on His strength, live sacrificially for others, do the good works for which we have been redeemed by the Lord, and in so doing, bring a greater measure of restoration to the sin-wracked world (Eph. 2.8-10).
Putting it all together
But how do we put this all together?
Practically speaking, how can we get into a rhythm of making the most of our time each day, so that, at the end of each day, we can have the satisfaction of knowing that the labors of that day – all the ways we have used our time for restoring the reconciled world – have not been in vain (1 Cor. 15.58)? Let me suggest three disciplines for an ongoing process that can help us to be good and faithful servants of God because we are good stewards of His most precious gift of time.
First, establish and maintain some system for continuous planning.
If, as Moses prayed, it is possible to “number” our days – and all the moments of them – before we get to those moments, we’ll be more likely to use the time of our life for the purposes of the Kingdom and restoration. If we just wait around for the next moment to show up and see what it brings, we’ll never be effective in the work to which God has called us. Christians, as we’ve seen, must live toward the future, toward that eternal destination of glory, arranging the days of their lives in patterns that foreshadow, anticipate, and actually make visible the eternal glory toward which we are journeying. We need to plan for restoration if we’re going to be effective at it.
By planning our lives carefully, thinking through in advance how we want to live and use the time of our lives, we’ll have more success in making the most of our time, because we will have accounted for the use of this most precious gift before we actually begin to unwrap it. In this sense, making a plan for your time is like making a budget for your finances. You know where your money is going before you get there, so you won’t squander it on lesser things, leaving the most important things unaccounted for. So also with your time.
Second, learn to live within an envelope of prayer, so that you are continuously in communication with the living God. Your journey in this life should be like that of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, in continuous conversation with the Lord, listening as He sheds light on your path and strengthens you for the work of restoration.
Let Psalm 139.23, 24 guide you here: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” If this simple prayer can become the attitude of your heart throughout the day, you’ll be open to however the Lord may want to convict, correct, or co-opt your time for the purposes of His Kingdom.
Taking a few moments at different times of the day, just to pray this prayer and listen for the Lord’s prompting, can help to make this prayer an attitude in which you continuously pursue your journey with the Lord in the time of your life. Review the day thus far, giving thanks for what God has done; preview the remainder of it, setting your heart and mind for restoring the reconciled world in all your opportunities.
Finally, partner with a few soul friends who love you, know how you’re trying to live your life, and will provide prayer, encouragement, and accountability for every step of your journey. These should be people who will take seriously the command to “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10.24). As you meet with them for prayer, sharing, strategizing, and growth, you’ll find such companionship to be an invaluable resource to help you in your journey with the Lord.
The time of your life
The time of your life that remains to you, whether the days be many or few, can be a glorious, joyous, hope-filled adventure of living for Christ and His Kingdom. The time of your life can be, well, the time of your life – full of meaning and fruitful living for the Lord. If you set your mind and heart on the work of restoring the reconciled world, arrange your time before you get to it, and keep in touch with the Lord each step of the way, you’ll discover that your whole life can be a journey of restoration and Kingdom progress.
But you’ll need to take seriously the challenge of stewardship which God has laid upon you by bestowing His most precious gift of time into your care.
And you’ll need to understand the Lord’s agenda for the work of restoration.
1. What is your present approach to planning the time of your life? How can you improve on that?
2. What can you do to remind yourself to stay in company with the Lord throughout the day?
3. Who among your Christian friends can you turn to in helping you make the best use of your time for the work of restoration?
T. M. Moore
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This is part 4 in the series, Restoring the Reconciled World. All installments in this series may be downloaded for further study by clicking here.
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