Friday, June 27, 2008

Time not wasted

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” ---Ephesians 5:16
As a person gets older, the more responsibility that person accumulates. I’m living at a young age of 27. I have more responsibilities now than 7 years ago. Back then, I’m a graduating college student. I don’t have a car then. Now, I have a job and a decent salary. Because I’m now a professional, I’m expected to be responsible. One of the things that a responsible person must NOT do is WASTE TIME.

When we hear the words, “wasting time”, often times, we think of unemployed people just sitting down, drinking, and not making any effort to find a job (even if the job is low paying, at least one finds a way to work). Yes, it is true, when one is not working when he’s of the age to do so, he’s wasting his time. I’m not perfect, but one thing I don’t like is gossiping. In the Bible, they’re called “busybodies”. Busybodies are often associated with gossiping alone. However, a busybody is a person who is a gossiper AND a lazy person. Besides, if you’re working really hard, you don’t have for gossips. Gossiping is a waste of time. If you’re gossiping during working hours, especially if you’re working in a government office/company/agency, you’re wasting your time. No, I don’t want to follow the “hit the government” bandwagon of most blogs. It’s because government people are paid by taxpayers’ money. Thus, if a government employee is wasting time (through gossiping, fault finding, making things personal, criticism, etc), he is not only wasting his time, but also the taxpayer’s money. After all, one will not be enriched spiritually, physically and INTELLECTUALLY, by gossips (okay, I know what you’re thinking; no “philosophical response” there…hehehe). Indeed, one should find a work (if he’s unemployed) and work in the workplace (if he’s employed). By doing so, his time is not wasted.
Time is not wasted if you’re doing your best in the time God has given to you. Most of the times, if you’re a church guy/gal, you tend to ritualize the church services. Here we are. Fix ourselves up. We’ll go in the church. Sit down. Stand up. Sang some hymns. Join the public prayer. Sit down again. Listen to the singers/choir/instruments. Shake the fellow congregants’ hands. Sit down again. Listen to the Pastor’s/Preacher’s/Guest speaker’s sermon. Give our tithes and offerings. Stand up to pray for dismissal. Just like a mouse going out of his hole, you go out of the church building. Now, haven’t we asked if we did our best at that worship day? If you’re assigned as the pianist, did you do your best playing the piano? Or, because you memorize the hymnals from cover to cover, you didn’t practice for at least a few minutes, thus, not doing your best? If you’re singing as a soloist or any special number, is it really special? No, I’m not playing perfectionist. Yes, I want a special number that was sung well. However, it’s not the issue of talent if you’re doing your best or not. It’s all about the effort. Yes, the congregants will be mesmerized by your awesome baritone or your lyric soprano or your powerful, music-educated tenor. Even I will clap my hands and shout a loud “AMEN” if I hear you singing a Gospel song. Still, at the end of the day, God knows if you really did your best (by practicing before the service) or not (if you didn’t take time to practice). If you didn’t do your best, you’re just wasting your time. If you’re a choir member and you’re not doing your best and, because of status symbol (“I HAVE a ministry; I’M VISIBLE in the church through choir”) you just want to have a shorter practice, you’re just wasting your time. (Now, maybe some of you will think, “since I’m not doing best and wasting my time, I’ll no longer join the choir.” That’s not only arrogant, it’s also DOWNRIGHT FOOLISH!). If you’re a song leader, lead the congregational singing as if it’s your last. I don’t like it when someone assigned to sing in the congregation, but because he doesn’t want to open his mouth wide (as singers usually do) because he feels it will make him look ugly. I know a young gal who was assigned to be a wedding singer, but because her poise will be affected, she doesn’t want to hit the note even if she can. She opted for a lower version. (That’s “pa-cute”. A singer who smiles is not automatically “pa-cute”. A singer who can reach the note, and yet opted not to reach it because his/her poise will be affected, is the real “pa-cute”). If you’re assigned, do your best to sing. You’re a singer for the Lord, not a celebrity. If the pastor assigned you to preach in the congregation, study hard, pray hard, and deliver it as if it’s your last day on earth. Now, I know there are pastors who assigned preachers on-the-spot. What about if your pastor is like that? How can you prepare, give your best, if your pastor assign preachers on-the-spot (I experience to be assigned as a speaker during Prayer Meeting. The time between Prayer Meeting and when Pastor assigned me? About 2 hours. Where am I at that time? At school. The distance between school and church is 12 kilometers and it’s Espana, a traffic riddled place. I can’t forget that one)? It’s still not an excuse to be mediocre. Pray to God to always give you spiritual strength daily. Read your Bible. Read any materials that are of help (books, magazines, newspaper) for you as a speaker. If your pastor assigned again 1 hour before the service, God will surely work and, since you always read your Bible and have read other materials, you’re ready to give your best. When you give your best in the time AND opportunity God has given you, then your time is not wasted.
Your time is not wasted if you fear God. Now, how can we connect fearing God with godly fear and time management? I’ll try to explain the connection: I have heard many times that a person is a good time manager if he orders things according to priorities. If a task is a Top 1 priority, a good time manager will focus on that priority, and set aside the ones that can wait (there are other boss who give one person multiple tasks with only one deadline, but that’s another story). Now, applying it spiritually, the MAIN DUTY of a believer is to fear God and keep His commandments. If you fear God, you’ll do what He wants, and you’ll not do what He doesn’t want. God hates sin, so, you’ll not waste your time doing sins. Because you fear God, you’ll avoid things sins because sin eats your precious time (that precious time can be used in other more meaningful things). Sin is a waste of time. If you go to places believers are not expected to go (like drinking pubs), is your time wasted or not? For example, in a drinking session, there are times that you’ll start from SUNDOWN to SUNRISE, depending on how much money and alcohol tolerance. Let’s just say you began drinking at around 8PM. It’s unusual if group drinking session is only 2 hours. It usually lasts until midnight, sometimes sunrise. If that happens, you wasted the time that you can use in other things, like being with your wife and kids (for married people), sleeping to gather strength for next day’s work/school. Not only time, you also wasted your money. Alcoholic beverages and tobacco-based products have one of the highest tax rates (sin tax), and yet they’re still earning big. It is because consumers spend a lot for this. Yes, as believers we have our lapses, but as long as we live in this world, God will allow you to bounce back again. Indeed, time is not wasted if you fear God.
Yes, when I read that verse and thoughts that came to me after reading that verse, it also hit me. I’m guilty of time wasting. Yes, one way or another, all of us are guilty today. You may have done your best as an employee, and yet you sacrificed church services. You maybe an active congregant that doesn’t miss a church service, but you’re a busybody talking about other believer’s life as if you’re acting like an opinionated person. You may be an active church goer and participant and yet, because of self pity and deep seated hatred that you’re consumed, you’re not taking time to do your best to improve yourself as a Christian and as a person. C’mon, ALL believers are guilty, maybe not directly, but in similar manners.

Let’s not waste our time. If you’re an employee, do your job well. If you’re unemployed, make an effort to find a job, even a short term job if there’s nothing available for now (I know a believer who did just that. He’s not only blessed with a good job, but God gave him a partner, the prettiest in that local church). If you’re inside the church, stop the gossip. Instead, take time to smile, and make other believers happy. Share some wholesome jokes. Use your time to encourage another believer or pray for them.
I have many things to say, but I’ll stop there. After all, I have driven one principle today: let’s not waste our time.

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