Summary: The Gift of our Time

James 4:13-17 (p. 849) December 1, 2013


Mike Yaconelli writes in his book Messy Spirituality “When my children were young, track meets filled a part of each week during the spring. One particular hot spring day I attended a Jr. High track meet, arriving in the middle of the boy’s 1500 meter race. During the last lap of the race, the audience stood, cheering 2 boys running side by side for the final 50 meters. A short distance behind them ran a pack of 4 or 5 boys jockeying in 3rd place. The crowd broke into applause for the first two runners and then crescendoed as the pack fought for 3rd place.”

Then Mike says, “Another runner caught my attention. As I looked down the track, I saw one boy lagging behind all the others, way back. Poor Kid. The portly 7th grader struggled for each breath. His face was red and sweaty, the main artery in his neck bulging and throbbing to supply oxygen to his deprived muscles. Suddenly the woman to my left stepped over me and rushed to the railing, obviously the boy’s mother. She screamed, “Johnny, run faster.”

I wish you could have seen the incredulous look on Johnny’s face. He had to be thinking “Mom, are you kidding!!! I’m running as fast as I can!”

Satan is the god of the urgent. He is the god of fast living. When I was younger fast living used to mean “debauchery.” But, now it means “FAST.”

Sin does not always drive us to drink; more often it drives us to exhaustion. Exhaustion, tiredness is more debilitating to the soul than drunkenness. Fatigue of our souls is the product of “running faster.”

I love this quote: “Christianity is not about inviting Jesus to speed through life with us, it’s about noticing Jesus sitting at the rest stop.”

Speed damages our souls because living at a certain pace consumes all our energies. Urgency has a scream that drowns out the still small voice of God, and instead of knowing Jesus more intimately, He becomes a diminishing speck in the rear view mirror.

It’s as if we arrogantly think we have life figured out. Time is just a gallon of gas we put into our tank to get down the road...and


James says “Now, listen, “You say today, at the latest tomorrow – we’re off to start a new business, a new plan. We’re gonna make a ton of money. You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.”

Life can be so predictable right...ordinary, routine. Wake up, coffee, drive to work or school, ball practice, dinner, homework, T.V., bed. Tomorrow, same story, 2nd verse.

An occasional vacation or weekend to break up the treadmill, but tomorrow will be the same right?

“And while the church earnestly warns Christians to watch out for the Devil, the Devil is sitting in the congregation encouraging everyone to keep busy doing “good things.” I’ve seen entire families speed by each other in unrestrained zeal to lead one activity or another at church every time the doors are open. RUN FASTER!

There are two very arrogant sins involved in this. Sometimes built on a platform of “working your way to heaven.” Those two sins are:

1. It won’t or can’t get done if I don’t do it and

2. I’m the only one that’s going to do it the right way!

And instead of “Passionately Preparing all People for an Eternity with Christ” by reaching lost people and empowering them to grow in Christ, the same people do the same things. Year after year, “Hey, how’d we get to this barn again?”

A lot of this happens because we talk about faith and God’s plan, but really we’ve got tomorrow figured out better than Him.

Really? Maybe the first gift we should give to God, especially through this “run faster Johnny” season is, OUR TIME.

Listen to this event in Jesus and the disciples lives. Jesus has just told the story of the “Good Samaritan” and we read:

LUKE 10:38-42 (p. 725)

Man! You get the picture in your mind don’t you? Martha is a type A (order, structure, and she’s also thoughtful). She’s opened her home to Jesus and His band of many men (or at least I’m guessing the disciples are included). Martha, the army sergeant of the kitchen, attacks the meal and its preparations.

But Mary, hair braided, tye dye T-shirt, holding a flower, (laid back, non-rushed, hippie type personality) sitting in the living room on a pillow while Jesus talks, drinking in His words like a man dying of thirst in the desert.

When all of a sudden Martha barges in the room, hair a mess, sweat running down her brow, and she points at Mary and yells at Jesus “Don’t you care about me? I’m working my fingers to the bone. She’s just loafing there. Tell her to come help me!”

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