October 23, 2017

Our great God is outside of time and over all time.  He does not need time.  He is the eternal one who has always been, is now and will always be.  He is the one God in three persons eternally equal one with the other but distinctively expressive as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Our great God has given us time as a good and precious gift.  He set it out from the beginning according to the days of the week of creation.  He worked for six days in creating all that is and then rested on the seventh day giving that one in seven pattern to us so that we could work for six days and then on the seventh rest from our labors and enjoy the worship and adoration of our great God and king.  God gives us time as a gift.  What we do with it and how we see it says so much about how we see Him and how we see ourselves.  How do we use our time?  Do we engage in labor over the course of six days and then on the seventh day give ourselves to rest from ordinary labor so that we can employ the day in the worship and adoration of His great Name?  Is our time determined most by the delight in the worship of God or the delight in other things?  What is at stake here is far more than the right use of our time; what is stake is the truthful manifestation of the true state of our souls.  
Believers or followers of Jesus are those who see Sunday as the first day of the week toward which every other day is moving and from which every other day flows.  Sunday is the most important day of the week for the believer.  We set it aside for rest from our work and for the worship of God.  It was seen and employed in its entirety during the days of the early church as a day of worship.  The church gathered for what we would consider in our time a most lengthy time of worship and Study and then they would dismiss to what we would call small group gatherings for prayer, study and fellowship or caring for each others souls and bodies.  This pattern would persist in the true church until the modern era when Sunday came to be more a pleasure day for people than a purposeful day of worship.  Some would even read wrongly the words of Jesus about the Sabbath being made for man and not man for the Sabbath as teaching us that the day is for us.  Such a radial misreading of such a critical text would lead by the post World War II era in Europe and America to professing believers seeing the church not as the family of God that delights in gathering as much as possible on the Lord’s Day but as a place to which we come for a few hours on Sunday when other things do not prevent us from coming.  This pattern has persisted into the present era so that many churches gather now only once on the Lord’s Day and the pressing concern for too many who profess faith in Christ as Lord is the length of time that we meet.  We seem to want worship pressed into the time span for less than two hours on a Sunday.  
Now I know that our piety or our love for Jesus can in no way be directly connected to how many times we gather on Sunday or how long the gathering lasts, but could our concern about the number of times we gather on the Lord’s Day and how long the gathering lasts say something very significant about where our hearts really are?  Here is my question:  am I equally concerned about how long a time of worship lasts as I am about how long a football game lasts?  Why not?  If I am consistent then I would say that an 1.5 hours is enough for any activity and far too long for those that do not have eternal value.  It would mean if I were to be consistent that I could only watch the first half of any football game or play only nine holes of golf or go the deer woods and leave after 1.5 hours.  Why not see it this way as silly as it sounds  if the issue is the proper use of time?  But what if that is not the issue at all?   Could it be for me and for you that we always find the time to do no matter how much time it takes what it is that truly delights our hearts?  Time is not an issue when we are doing what gives us great pleasure.  Time is only an issue when we are involved in something that is a duty for us and not a delight; something that feels like a chore we must complete rather than something that brings us real joy.  The truth is I think that time is not money but time is like money:  where our treasure is there is where our hearts really are.  Think about it this week if you have the time.