Summary: If you knew you were going to die today, would that cause you to change your use of time today? Most of us would have to say, "Yes, it would."
The Stewardship of Time Romans 13:11-14
Sermon by Don Emmitte, Grace Restoration Ministries
If you knew you were going to die today, would that cause you to change your use of time today? Most of us would have to say, "Yes, it would."
I wish that I had a better story to tell you concerning my own experience with such news. However, the truth is very instructive. In 1991 while I was still in pretty good physical condition, I began to have more and more trouble with joint pain. I just didn’t feel well. It was increasingly more difficult to run the three or four miles I was accustomed to running. Mary kept encouraging me to go to the doctor, although in those days I was even more stubborn than I am now! Finally, as my condition worsened, I went to the doctor for an examination. He asked lots of questions, ran a few tests, and pronounced me as having early onset of arthritis. The news was not the best, but certainly it could have been better. He prescribed some medication for the inflammation and sent me on my way.
Unfortunately, the diagnosis was not correct and the condition continued to deteriorate. It would be a month or so later when I began to have pain in my chest that I thought I’d better do something more. I went to another doctor and she began to ask lots of questions and run lots of tests. With my family history of cardio illness, she was concerned that I may be having some issues with my heart. After blood work and EKGs I was pronounced as having no problems with my heart, blood pressure, or anything else cardio related. Now, we needed to do more tests to find out what was the problem. It wasn’t arthritis; it wasn’t a heart problem. What was it? Surely it wouldn’t be serious, would it? After all, I was busy doing all the things that I needed to be doing. In addition to being involved at nearly every level of my family’s life and taking care to love my wife and children, I was pastoring a large church, working closely to establish a Children’s Advocacy Center to help abused children, establishing two secure crisis centers for adolescents, and a myriad of other “good” things. How could God let anything interrupt that? I had much more to do!
To make a long story short, a few more tests later and the doctor informed me that I was very ill. While she wasn’t sure yet, she said, “Don, you either have cancer, Lupis, or Hemachromatosis.” Well, I knew what the first two were, but had never heard of the last. I asked her which one I should want to have, knowing that the first two were bad. She said, “If it were me, I’d want cancer!” Now that was not good news. We still had some tests to do; more MRIs, and finally a biopsy to determine what kind of tumors were present in my liver. In the midst of this conversation, I asked her what it all meant? Was this a fatal disease? She took a deep breath and sighed, finally saying, “You may have 90 days to live.” That was not even a consideration in my life until that moment.
Lots of things began to happen. Some of them were good and others not. There were the negative, painful emotions I had experienced. But there were also some very positive emotions. I began to see the beauty of God's creation the way I hadn't seen it before. With the possibility of the length of my life limited, I began to make the most of every moment. Making the most of every moment is being a good steward of time. Of course, Had I to do it over again, I would definitely do things differently in some of those. However, as the weeks progressed and we found out some good news in the midst of all the bad, we discovered that the disease I had, though incurable, was treatable. I would be sick for a while, but I would be able to live with it. Most people would find great relief in knowing that; however, I began to think what it all would mean. It was then that I truly began to think of The Stewardship of Time.
God was very kind to us in so many ways. I learned the depth of what the Apostle Paul said in the midst of his struggles concerning the promise of God:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV).