"PROCRASTINATION: THE THIEF OF TIME"
7/21/2012 10:23:36 AM -
'PROCRASTINATION: THE THIEF OF TIME'
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is (NASB).
There is a legend about Satan and his demons planning their strategy for attacking the world that is hearing the message of salvation. One of the demons says, 'I have got the plan, master. When I get on the earth and take charge of people's thinking, I will tell them there is no heaven.'
The devil responds, 'Ah, they will never believe that. This Book of Truth is full of messages about the hope of heaven through sins forgiven. They won't believe that. They know that there is a glory yet future.'
On the other side of the room another says, 'I have got the plan. I will tell them there is no hell.'
'No good,' he says. 'Jesus, while He was on earth, talked more of hell than of heaven. They know in their hearts that their wrong will have to be taken care of in some way. They deserve nothing more than hell.'
And one brilliant little demon in the back stood up and said, 'Then I know the answer. I will just tell them there is no hurry.' And he is the one Satan chose. Let's take a look at the adage, Procrastination: The Thief of Time' as we examine the text: Ephesians 5:15-17.
I. WISE BELIEVERS' WAY OF LIFE V. 15
Based on what the Apostle Paul has said in the beginning of chapter 5 of Ephesians as he concludes the chapter, he exhorts the believing community to live like wise men/women. I believe the King James Version states, 'See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise' (v.15). The word 'circumspectly' suggests looking all around, giving attention to all circumstances and consequences as one might do when passing through a very dangerous place. The same word may be translated, 'Watch carefully, then, how you walk.' Today's English Version of the Bible states, 'So pay close attention to how you live.' The thought is further explained by the words 'not as fools, but as wise.' What the Bible is teaching us is that believers are to walk as people having the character of wise people, not fools. The Word of God is teaching us that Christian wisdom is practical wisdom, because it teaches us how to behave. The word 'behave' is the Hebrew concept 'to walk' (in the Greek, peripateo). It means to walk around. In 2:1-3 the Apostle Paul has exhorted that our Christian walk or behavior must no longer be according to the world, the flesh, and the devil. In 4:17 he says that we are not to live like pagans. In other words, we are not to live our lives like people who do not belong to God. Rather our behavior must be worthy of God's call, 'in love,' and 'as children of light' (4:1; 5:1, 8). Everything worth doing in life requires care. You pay particular attention to things that matter to you, for instance, your job, education, home and family, hobbies, dress or clothes, and appearance. Therefore, as Christians we must pay careful attention to our Christian life. However, in the life of many Christians the opposite is the truth. Many Christians do not pay attention to the way they live their lives. In view of this, they become stumbling blocks to others. This should not be so. On the contrary, we must treat our Christian life as the serious thing it is. It is a call for moral discernment and a practical skill in making decisions. What therefore are the marks of wise people who take care of their Christian discipleship?
II. WISE BELIEVERS' USE OF TIME V. 16
The Apostle Paul says that wise Christians make the most of their time. The verb that is used in verse 16 can mean 'to redeem' or 'to buy back.' The Greek word for 'redeeming' is a market term meaning, 'To buy out' or 'purchase completely.' The term is used in reference to 'buying back" a slave in the New Testament, except here in this text and Colossians 4:5. It is the same word that is used for the redemptive work of Christ for sinful humanity. The expression here however is a metaphorical way to speak of using time well. The term 'time' is the Greek word kairos. In the Greek language there are two words that are used for 'time.' One is Chronos, from which we get the word 'chronology'; and the other is kairos. Kairos refers to opportunity in this context. Therefore, the Apostle Paul is saying that we are to make use of every passing opportunity. Someone has said that opportunity once lost is hardly regained. Paul goes on to give us the reason why we are to make the most of our time: that is because 'the days are evil.' If the days in which the Apostle Paul lived were evil, I can say without exaggeration or apology that the days in which we live are more evil. When we see the terrorists activities, the tsunami, the mudslide, drive by shooting, the social injustice, pornography, and all the other evils that are going on today, we can conclude that these days are more evil. The reference to the evil days is the conditions unfavorable to Christians. In fact, the Bible predicts that evil in the world will continue to increase, but Christians are to make the world a better place. We are to take moral stand and do good things to help the helpless and the defend the defenseless.
Certainly wise people know that time is a precious commodity. All of us have the same amount of time at our disposal, with sixty minutes in every hour and twenty-four hours in every day. None of us can stretch time, but wise people use time to the fullest possible advantage. They know that time is passing, and also that the days are evil. So they seize each fleeting opportunity while it is there. For once it has passed even the wisest people cannot recover it.
A study revealed that an average seventy-year old man has spent twenty-four years sleeping, fourteen years working, eight years in amusements, six years at the dinner table, five years in transportation, four years in conversation, three years in education, and two years in studying and reading.
His other four years were spent in miscellaneous pursuits. Of those four years, he spent forty-five minutes in church on Sundays, and five minutes were devoted to prayer each day. This adds up to a not at all impressive total of five months that he gave to God over seventy years of his life.
Even if this man has been a faithful churchgoer who attended Sunday school and three one-hour services per week, he would have spent only one year and nine months in church!
If you have a question about the above arithmetic, sit down and figure out how you have been using your time. How large a portion of it is for the things related to God? When you finish this exercise, ponder what Jesus said: 'What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul' (Matt. 16:26)?
The Bible tells us that there are some things that will last forever. One is the Word of God. Jesus said, 'Heaven and earth shall pass away but My words shall not pass away.' (Matt. 24:35). The Bible says that God has set eternity in human hearts (Eccl. 3:11). Therefore, humans will live forever. Some will live forever in hell and others will live forever in heaven. It all depends on who is your Savior and Lord. Why is it that we spend most of our time in pursuing things that are transient and neglect those that are permanent? Why do we major in the temporal things of life and neglect the eternal?
The cardinal time management question is this: Are you doing anything with your time that has the potential to last forever? In your 'busyness' have you carved out time for good works, which continue forever? Or are you so consumed with supporting a lifestyle or other personal ambitions that everything you are doing will be left behind?
In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie wrote about too many of us, 'His toothache means more to him than a famine in China that kills a million people. A boil on his neck interests him more than forty earthquakes in Africa.'
Let me bring it to our contemporary situation. Let's say you were a believer living in either Sri Lanka or Indonesia. The Lord impressed it upon your heart to go and witness to a certain family in a nearby village on the day before the Tsunami. You felt the urge and the wooing of the Holy Spirit but you refused to go. The following day the Tsunami struck and that family died without Christ, but you were spared. How would you feel?
The only part of life that crosses the threshold between this world and the next is the human soul. Therefore, if you want to make a lasting contribution, then you should become more interested in the other fellow and spend time helping people 'break the code' on how to gain eternal life. This should start in your home and spread to every arena of your life, not as a rote activity, but fired by the intensity of your own gratitude toward God.
Have you ever noticed how a man who has stopped smoking tries to convert everyone he meets into a nonsmoker? Have you ever noticed someone who has enjoyed an elegant dining experience tells everyone he meets about his discovery? Frankly, most men seem more interested in converting others to nonsmoking and their favorite restaurant than to eternal life. Often you do not share your faith in Christ with others because you fear you will offend people and they will dislike you. The truth is that half of the people in the world are not going to like you anyway, so they might as well not like you for the right reasons! If one hundred people dislike you, but one person becomes a Christian, would that be worth the effort? The truth is that ninety-nine out of a hundred people will want to answer and discuss the question, 'Where are you on your spiritual pilgrimage?' Therefore, when planning the use of your time, be sure to include time for things that have the potential to last forever.
Let me address some of you who may be religious but not genuine Christians. How are you utilizing your time? You have been attending church every Sunday, but deep in your heart, you have not received Christ as your Lord and personal Savior. I am not a prophet of doom but if you were to die today, where would you spend eternity? Will your destination be heaven or hell? Think about this very well, because the days in which we live are evil. John Hagee said, 'Yesterday is a cashed check; tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is cash in hand so use itinvest it.'
III. WISE BELIEVERS' UNDERSTANDING OF GOD'S WILL V. 17
Not only are wise believers careful in their behavior, and use their time wisely, but also wise believers discern the will of God. Wise believers are certain that, whereas willfulness is folly, wisdom is to be found in God's will and nowhere else (v. 17). Jesus Himself prayed, 'Not my will but yours be done,' and He taught us to pray, 'May your will be done on earth as in heaven.' Nothing is more important in life than to discover and do the will of God. Therefore, the primary consideration for the Christian must never be what is most profitable financially, what is most pleasurable or enjoyable, or what will bring the greatest personal advantage or honor. Your first concern as a believer is to discern what God wills you to be and to do. This is the way of wisdom and anything short of it betrays a mind lacking in moral intelligence.
In seeking to discover God's will for your life, it is important to distinguish between God's general and His particular will. For example, one of God's general will for our lives is to make us like Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). God's general will for Christians is that we become His witness sharing His love with the lost and dying world. God's general will is that we will bear the fruit of the Spirit. His general will is that we will be filled with the Holy Spirit and love one another. His particular will however, extends to the particularities of our life, and this differs from a believer to another. For example, what career you are to pursue; whether you should marry or not, and if so whom are you to marry. Only after you have made the distinction between God's general and particular will can you consider how to find out 'what the will of the Lord is.' God's general will is found in Scripture; the will of God for the people of God has been revealed in the Word of God. However, you may not find His particular will for your life in Scripture. To be sure, you will find general principles in Scripture to guide you, but detailed decisions have to be made after careful thought and prayer and sometimes the seeking of advice from mature and experienced Christians. The questions you need to answer are these:
Are you behaving yourself as a wise Christian? Are you using your time majoring on things that are eternal? Have you discovered God's general and particular will for your life?
Since the Tsunami hit south Asia, the world converged there to help with the rescue and recovering efforts. That is a noble side of humanity. However, the Bible tells us that something that is worse than the Tsunami is about to hit the whole world, but Christians are the only people, that have the solution. Why then are many Christians not investing their time warning their families and neighbors to run for cover? 'The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up' (2 Peter 3:10). The Book of Revelation states that people will cry and literally ask the mountains to fall on them. Why don't you invest your time wisely telling people to run for safety in Jesus Christ before this catastrophic event occurs? In our quest for material things of life, in our quest to get ahead in life and the pursuit of affluence, we have the tendency to forget that death can knock at our door at anytime. The question is, "Are you maximizing your time in godly pursuits so that when the grim reaper calls your number, you are prepared and that there would be no regret? Invest your life and time for Christ.
If the messages from this blog have been a blessing to you and you want to give to support this ministry, you can write your check to:
Kennedy A. Adarkwa, PhD
6402 Redding Court
Arlington, TX 76001