I'm pretty sure there hasn't been a day in my life where I haven't wished for just a little more time. There's always one more thing needing finished, one more show needing watched, another game to play or mile to run. Yeah - I covet time. Maybe these days more than ever, but I'm not so sure about that.
Since I'm "young" and naive, I simply wish for retirement. You know, the days when I will have all the time in the world? Okay, well, I'm not naive, because my wise, retired friends have already clued me in about being busier than ever in retirement.
What do we do with our time anyway? The good Lord gives us all the same amount of hours each day. Ideally we sleep for eight (although you know I sleep much less). These days most of us work for another eight. That leaves us eight hours a day for driving, cooking, cleaning, eating, visiting, snuggling, reading, praying.... etc. Where the heck does it go?
I have a pretty good idea of where mine goes. Driving two hours a day to work and back. Hours of chores each week after work taking care of winged and non-winged animales (yes, I meant the Spanish spelling). Wasting time on Facebook and Pinterest and watching Netflix or Amazon Prime long after the kids have been tucked in. I am a complete time WASTER.
Here's the thing.
I don't own my time. Any more than I own my money or my own breath. Everything I have. Everything I am. It is straight from God. He's the One in charge. I know I forget that. A lot. A super duper lot. I second guess our finances all the time. We are fairly faithful tithers... but I know without a doubt, this year... again... our tithe won't match the exact ten percent once our taxes are said and done.
Why is that? In Malachi 3:10 - God says, "Test me in this." He is in charge. Our money is His, whether we tithe it or not. God doesn't need our money. It's in the power of giving where the real work is done. It's in the power of trusting where the real growth happens. I am without excuse.
I think we get selfish. We forget our time and money was never ours. We want control. We want to dole it out as we see fit... We struggle with the feeling of never having enough, of always being behind, and we hold some back to make ends meet.
God doesn't really need our time either. He created the world and everything in it in a week, and He took a whole day off! I'm lucky if my house is recognizable after six days... let alone if anything good has been created. Who am I to play the expert of time?
Lately I have been on a reorganization kick. During the past week of this New Year, I have spent the bulk of my free time cleaning or moving things around. The laziest of the down times have been spent on Pinterest looking for more organization ideas. The point I am trying to make is that I haven't spent an ounce of time in the last week, with the exception of a church service, on God. Not an iota in any way spending my time to further the Kingdom or my walk with Him. When I think about the 24 hours God gives me... every. single. day. I get a pang of guilt. How much of that do I really give back to Him?
Not much. On a really good week, I *maybe* spend eight hours actively involved....praying, church, devotions with my kids, Missionettes. That's less than half of ten percent. (I just did really cool math on my computer calculator AND in my head!!) No matter how creatively I calculate... the reality is, I don't measure up. I probably never will.
And, of course, this is all hypothetical. God specifically challenges us to tithe our money.
Humor me, because I'm pretending I also live in an alternative universe where He has requested ten percent of our time.
To make things more interesting, I'm going to go way out on a Biblical limb and say He actually requests 100 percent of our time. He expects us to commit our LIVES to Him. *Gasp*
Ten percent sounds really freaking easy after that, huh?
2.4 hours per day? Cake.
Here's the thing. We are lazy, selfish sinners who want our time to be about ourselves. We think it's too hard to do extra when life has thrown so much at us already. We make excuses for sleeping in or skipping church. We create personal callings requiring little sacrifice and satiate our conscience. We step down because we don't "feel called". We interpret struggles as a sign that God has called us elsewhere. We think we all deserve to retire from service to the Kingdom, just like we retire from work. Guess what? There are no Heavenly exemptions. God wants us to live our lives in service to Him. When we don't... well...
The ones who suffer are the ones God has put in our paths to serve. To witness to. To build up. To pray for. To be a light and a hope. We are tangible, living, breathing beings. We can't even begin to imagine the power we could harness for the lost if we would just COMMIT to serving.
I'm not perfect. I am openly admitting my own guilt. I am also throwing some pretty ugly pointer fingers right now. I am beyond frustrated. I am beyond manners and playing nice, because the ones who are suffering from the inability of the Body of Christ to follow through and SHOW UP FOR THE GAME are the children. The boys who have never had a father figure in their lives. The boys who are raising themselves. The boys who don't know real men don't hit or abandon their families. The boys who will never know that there was a Man who was God who bled and died because He loved them SO MUCH He gave His LIFE. There are lost boys in our town looking for someone to guide them.
And we can't give two hours a week?! Forget 2.4 hours per day.
Today, I drove by a group of boys I know are living in those tough situations. They were out in the pre-dusk hours wandering on the side of the road, wearing black and stumbling towards whatever meaning someone might show them. And I fought back tears because I knew where they couldn't go.
Tonight, I watched eyes fill and faces fall when I told a few little boys they couldn't be with us after tonight. And I bit my tongue so I wouldn't scream... Where are the bloody men who attend this church?
One Man bled for us all. Jesus took the nails and the cross even though it kind of messed with the rest of His day.
He showed up when He didn't have to.
He made a way so we wouldn't continue to stumble in the dark.
He called the little children unto Him.
And we have the gall to say we are too busy.
We have the the impudent, self-righteous nerve to look the other way and stay at home when there are boys in our community who are as lost and searching as any boys could ever be. Are our consciences so satiated no sermon will awaken them? Does the fact that the women are busy ministering to the girls and doing their best to fill in with the boys and stretched as thin as the ozone just not bother anyone?
Obviously not. And obviously not to the point that the few who were struggling to meet the needs of our lost boys threw up their hands and threw in the towel. Because no amount of cajoling and glossed over sermons could convict any more men in our congregation to find an hour or two on a Wednesday night.
Because we can't just cut to the chase and be painfully honest.
My boys don't get Rangers anymore because not enough men from the church show up to lead. It's not really about reorganizing anything. We had more boys showing up than men who attend our church, and it wasn't safe anymore. It's about our church's inability to answer the call.
Here's the real truth.
I'm not in tears tonight about my boys. I'm in tears because of the boys I saw wandering the streets. I'm in tears because of the tears welling up in the eyes of the seven year old who counts on being somewhere safe every Wednesday night and just found out he won't have that anymore.
My boys won't miss a beat.
But other boys may lose everything.
And I'm assuming we can all live with that.
Even though Christ Himself died to ensure it didn't have to happen this way.
And all the people said, 'Amen.'