Summary: In this message we look at the importance of living our lives in such a way that we honor God in all that we do.
“Be Careful How You Live”
You may have noticed that many of the major news magazines put out a special issue at this time of year to recall the highlights of the previous year. Some of these include articles written by experts who make predictions about what they expect to see happening in the future. Some of these have been accurate while others couldn’t have been more wrong.
For example, one of those predictions was that at the turn of the century, technology would have taken over so much of the work we do that the average work week would only be 22 hours and that we would only need to work for 6 months out of the year. The prediction was that as a result, our biggest problem would be trying to figure out what to do with all of our leisure time. As Dr. Phil would ask, how’s that working for you?
Most of the men and women I talk to are working more hours than ever and have very little leisure time. In fact, most of us are too busy. We are always in a hurry. We walk fast, we talk fast, we eat fast and then when we finish we stand up and say, excuse me, I gotta run.
So today we stand at the beginning if a brand new year, January 1st 2012 and I wonder how we will do this year. Will we be as busy? Will we make better use of our time? Paul gives us some advice in this passage. Listen. Ephesians 5:15-17. The first thing Paul tells us is this: we must be very careful how we live because our time on this earth is limited. Brief.
Psalm 39:4 "Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away.
Psalm 90:10 The length of our days is seventy years-- or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
I realize for some this morning that 70 or 80 years sounds like a long time. When I was in my 30’s I remember I thought my Father was ancient. After all he was 64 and then he died that year and I realized he was actually very young. It’s all relative. The psalmist tells us to number our days and then he gives us a reason…so that we will always develop a heart of wisdom.
I read an article this week titled “Dead Ahead.” It tells about a new clock that keeps track of how much time you have to live. You enter your information, DOB, height, weight, whether you smoke or not and then it calculates how many seconds you have left to live. Mine said I have about 472 million seconds. That is about 15 years. Doesn’t sound like very much and then I had another thought…you and I are not guaranteed even one more day. Our time of this earth is brief. It is limited. The 2nd thing Paul tells us is this. Because our time on this earth is brief we must make the most of every opportunity. Again he gives us a reason. Make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.
Jesus said that Satan is a robber and a thief and trust me now one of the things he loves to rob us of is our time. Because time is a very precious possession. So he tempts us, he distracts us and we lose time. So we should never waste it.
One of the things that happen to all of us is that too often we get too caught up in the here and now and we forget about the things in life that really matter. Life makes a lot of demands. Even good things can be very demanding.
In the gospels we find the story of Mary and Martha. Their brother was Lazarus. They lived in the town of Bethany. When Jesus passed through that area he would sometimes stop and stay with them. On one of those occasions Jesus was in their home. He sat down to teach and Mary was sitting at His feet just soaking in every word. Meanwhile Martha gets upset because Mary isn’t in the kitchen helping. So Martha complains to Jesus and says Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself. Tell her to help me! Jesus responds by saying Martha, you are worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her. This is what I believe this passage says to us. There are many good things in life. We can choose to focus on them. However, many of them are still a waste of time. We must learn to focus on the best things. It wasn’t wrong for Martha to be in the kitchen making a meal. In fact that was a good thing. It just wasn’t the best thing. The problem was that Martha was so preoccupied with what she was doing that she forgot that God was in her Living room. And that’s the same mistake you and I make almost every day. We get so caught up in the now that we forget about the eternal.