Sword of JoshuaSword of JoshuaSword of Joshua


Copyright © Jules Dervaes

June 11, 1983

Do you know who Juan Valdez is? You know, the coffee bean picker, one at a time. I’ve thought many times, “You’ve got to pick faster than that, Juan. Is that all you’ve picked in one day? You’re never going to make it. You’re hopelessly backward; you’ll never go anywhere.”

Isn’t it marvelous that we here in America are free from that drudgery? Our timesaving and laborsaving devices have freed us from hardships. While poor Juan is probably so busy just eking out a living that he doesn’t have any time for…wait a minute!…that sounds like me!

I want to talk today about time and making the best use of time by giving God priority.

There is a problem with time: it won’t stand still long enough for us to get a hold of it. Our society is in a mad rush to save time. And, so, we have faster, better ways of getting there, but we have no better places to go. Today, we can save lots of time, but we are not making any better use of the time we save. Sometimes we can’t find any time at all. I read that most of the world’s great men have achieved their true life’s work, not in the course of their regular occupations, but in their spare time.

Picture, for example, a tired-out rail splitter, crouched over his tattered books by candlelight at the day’s end, preparing for his future. Instead of sleeping or goofing off like his co-workers, Lincoln cut out his path to later greatness–in his spare time.

Did you know that an underpaid, overworked clerk took hours from his sleep, or from leisure, and spent his nights trying to crystallize into realities certain fantastic dreams in which he had faith? Today, the whole world is benefiting from what Edison did–in his spare time.

And then there was an instructor in an obscure college who varied the drudgery that he hated by spending evenings and weekends in tinkering with a device of his at which his fellow teachers laughed. But Bell invented the telephone–in his spare time.

Where did they get all that spare time? They got it from the same place we can–from the 24 hours in a day.

What? You say there’s no way? Your days are chock full already. You barely make it now with all that you’ve got to do. Life can seem like an already overstuffed suitcase, bulging at the seams. Packed to the hilt, you can’t cram any more into it or it is going to burst. But there is a tragedy occurring right under our noses. We have so filled our days so full of activity that there is no “time-out” for the most important things. Most tragic of all is that sometimes we actually have no time for God.

What we say in effect is “God, You will understand… I need to do this to feed my family, to be social, to enjoy my life, to better myself, to benefit my children.” None of these count, as God is first. And first is first.

We know we will be called to account for all the time we have lived. You hear of people fearing the IRS will, by chance, audit them for the expenditure of money. God will conduct a time audit of our lives and ask how we spent the time that He gave us. God will demand specific proof and we will have to give an accounting of all the lost minutes, hours, even years.

Here is a three part plan–the 3 Rs–to help you make time for God and His commands.

First, Realize that God demands the best we have to offer. God required the best sacrifice back in the Old Testament and He has not changed. He still wants the best from us today. Make sure we are not giving Him the leftovers of our time. After work, after recreation and leisure, after social obligations, after the 1001 things that we “really need to do,” after all that is subtracted, the remainder (if there is any)–is that what God gets? Realize that God desires and demands the best.

Second, Regain control over time. Do we control time–or does it control us? We get bogged down in so many things. It seems that we are at the mercy of the time invaders, those distractions that pop up out of nowhere and keep coming at us, hurtling at us as if we were playing a continual video game that won’t shut off: the broken washer…flu bug…car monster.
Take control. Pull the plug on that game. We don’t have to be helpless. We can take drastic action and halt everything. Regain control by putting first things first, where they belong. Not third, not even a close second will do.

Third, Redeem your time. You’ll find this principle in Ephesians 5:16. This is the key concept because there is no way in the world that we are going to find the time. We might as well stop looking for it. It’s not there. We will have to make a trade. We have redeemed coupons and stamps. We know that we have to hand in the coupon to get something of value in return. Then, what are we willing to trade? What is your eternal life worth???

Surely God must be very interested in what we trade for Him and His gift. Will we trade some trashy time thrown together at the spur of the moment, or some of our prized time–that time that we hold most dear? If it’s not valuable to us, how can it be valuable to God? What about trading God one hour of our recreational, work, or sleep time?

Here is some caution about redeeming the time. It must be done now. Many of us are gamblers at heart, gambling on a tomorrow and counting on it being there. But we are gambling that we will have a tomorrow to trade in. If we don’t have the time to give to God today, then why should we have plenty of time later?

As events show, this age is soon coming to an end. We wonder if we will be martyred. Will we be one of the ones who will be required to give up his life in order to make it into the Kingdom? Will we? The answer is yes–for every single one of us.

We already are required to give up our lives as a living sacrifice. We are in that very process now. Each day we are to renew the sacrifice and redeem the time. Those who wait, who postpone the daily sacrifice of their time to God, they will have to prove themselves later.

So, the question really is not will we give up our lives, but HOW will we?

Will we choose to give them up a little each day at a time, or give them up all at once? This is the bottom line to life. Our lives are in the RED. We owe God a tremendous debt and that IOU is due for payment. It is to be paid in the measure of time–the hours of the day.

We can pay God now or we can pay Him later.

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