Summary: Challenge Christians to make the most of the minutes of their lives.
TURN TO NEH 1 in your King James Bible
INTRO: My Fleeting Opportunity--Stewardship of My Time
Nehemiah and Ezra are amazing books…They are both historical and prophetic. They both have to do with regathering Israel in the promise land…after occupation and dispersal and persecution…
God moves a Gentile king to decree the Jews are to go “home” this happened in 500BC with Cyrus the Persian and again in 1917 with King George (Balfour Declaration)…after this Arab enemies show up…”Palestinians” = Philistines
God has to miraculously deliver them from their enemies while they literally rebuild their destroyed nation
A. Today’s focus, “stewardship of our TIME”
i. Drawing lessons from Nehemiah
READ NEH 1:1-4 (Nehemiah hears the bad news)
Neh 2:1-5 (Nehemiah prays and asks the king)
Neh 2:6-8 Artexerxes grants the request
Neh 3: the men who decide to take their time (opportunity) to build up the city
They could have stayed where they were comfortable—could have lived for self and stayed SAFE
Neh 4:1-3 enemies & mocking
If we take our opportunity—opposition will come
Neh 6:15 The wall is built
16—enemies are cast down
These are men who took their opportunity
They looked at the time God had given them—and used it!
Their names are eternally recorded as a memorial to a group of men who “redeemed the time”
Ephesians 5:15 See therefore how ye walk carefully, not as unwise but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
A. What is stewardship?
i. Most immediately think of tithing/$$
ii. Managing something that belongs to someone else
iii. Last week: saw stewardship is
1. Accepting the truth that everything I am and have comes from God
2. Accepting my duty to manage that for God’s glory
iv. The Christian life is a stewardship
B. Stewardship is about priorities
ii. Checkbook shows our priorities
iii. BUT…Calendar also shows our priorities
i. Because we spend our time on the things we care about
One ingenious teenager who was tired of reading bedtime stories to his little sister decided to record several of her favorite stories on tape. He told her, “Now you can hear your stories anytime you want. Isn’t that great?” She looked at the machine for a moment and then replied, “No. It hasn’t got a lap.”—if he was smart he realized that he was wisely spending his time re-reading the same stories
ii. Our calendars reveal our priorities because time is so VALUABLE
How do we value ONE YEAR? Ask a student who failed a grade.
What is the value of ONE MONTH? Ask a Mother whose baby arrived prematurely.
How much do we value ONE WEEK? For the sailors trapped in a submarine on the ocean floor it was the difference between life and death.
How much do we value ONE HOUR? Ask someone who missed a connecting flight home because the first flight was delayed by an hour.
What is the value of HALF AN HOUR? Ask the parents of the flower girl and ring bearer who missed the wedding because one of them thought the wedding was at 4:30, rather than 4 pm?
How much do we value ONE MINUTE? Ask someone who had a heart attack in a restaurant with a paramedic sitting at the next table.
How much do we value ONE SECOND? Ask an Olympic swimmer, who just missed qualifying by 3 one-thousandths of a second!
iii. Time is valuable—and an opportunity
Ill. All of us will one day have a dash representing our life—what will your dash mean?
iv. Don’t wait until its too late:
A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump. “Reverend,” said the young man, “I’m so sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip.” The minister chuckled, “I know what you mean. It’s the same in my business.”
iv. Tragically, some wait until it’s too late
v. Some miss their opportunity
1. Look at those around you…
2. They didn’t set out to end up..alone, poor, bitter, sad, deflated
3. How? They missed their opportunity
When Leonardo DaVinci was painting his Master Piece, the Last Supper, he selected as the person to sit for the character of Christ a young man, Pietri Bandinelli, who was connected with the Milan Cathedral as chorister. Years passed before the great picture was completed, and when one character only—that of Judas Iscariot—was wanting, the great painter noticed a man in the streets of Rome whom he selected as his model. With shoulders far bent toward the ground, having an expression of cold, hardened, evil, saturnine, the man seemed to afford the opportunities of a model terribly true to the artist’s conception of Judas. When in the studio, the profligate began to look around, as if recalling incidents of years gone by. Finally, he turned and with a look half-sad, yet one which told how hard it was to realize the change which had taken place, he said, “Maestro, I was in this studio twenty-five years ago. I, then, sat for Christ.