Sermon: Time

Sermon 16 Nov St Mary’s Whitby

Rev Felicity O’Brien

Christian stewardship is about our managing of those things God entrusts to us – how we take care of resources so that they will be put to good use, and not wasted. It involves giving back to God a proportion of our income, time and talents, and how we do this reflects his place in our lives.In the first address on the stewardship of wealth, Tim pointed us to the Biblical principal of tithing – ie giving to God a tenth of our income ; a principle God laid down as the proper stewardship for his people in the Old Testament. Or you could put it the other way – tithing involves keeping 90% of our money, talents and time!Last week Ralph addressed the stewardship of gifts and talents.He pointed out how everyone has their own God-given talent, for example painting, music, mercy, hospitality and the like. Add to that the spiritual gifts that we have as Christians, which Paul tells us are for the proper functioning of the Church.Ralph concluded his address with an appeal for us to consider where each of us are presently – or could be – using our gifts and talents to serve God in this parish.

Time is the third resource that we are considering in this series about stewardship of God’s gifts to us. It’s not like money or talent, where the amount we have differs widely from one person to another. We each have the same number of hours in the day. 24 hours, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. How many years we have, well, that’s where it is limited, at least here on earth. Our time in heaven is infinite, so we really have a lot of time! Continue reading

Advertisements

Jabez re-written

1 Chronicles 4:10-“O that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from hurt and harm!”

This is known as the Prayer of Jabez, and some years ago it was very popular. I came across it again recently when a visiting preacher spoke – Dr Charly Tom from Mercy Mission in India. He was very interesting, and brought up this idea of praying that God would enlarge our borders.

I started thinking about this – it’s easy to ask for God to enlarge our borders, but are we prepared for what may follow? Dr Charly has been running an oprhanage and school for many years, and is constantly relying on God’s provision to support his work.

But if we are really asking God to enlarge our borders – maybe for more ministry, or more to do to usher in the kingdom, we must not forget the next bit -“and  that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from hurt and harm!” If we are prepared to ask God for more ministry, we must also ask God for the support we need to back that up. God’s hand with us – that will open doors and provide our needs. Keeping us from hurt and harm is physical safety, but also spiritual protection.

If we only ask for God to enlarge our borders – or stretch the pegs of our tent, as another version has it- without asking for God’s provision and protection, we will be like bread dough, which we are trying to fit across the pizza pan. If we stretch it without first kneading it properly, it tears and gaps form, which let the sauce seep through. The pizza will stick to the pan and burn. We can be like that too – if we let ourselves be stretched without God’s provision, we too can break apart and burn out.

Perhaps we could reverse Jabez’ prayer – “God, let your hand be upon me, and keep me from hurt and harm, so that when you bless me and enlarge my borders I can work for your kingdom in the world.”