“A general rule for the good use of time is to accustom oneself to live in a continual dependence on the Spirit of God, receiving from moment to moment whatever it please him to give us, referring to him at once in the doubts which we necessarily run into, turning to him in the weakness into which goodness slips from exhaustion, calling on him and lifting oneself to him, when the heart, swept away by material things, sees itself led imperceptibly off the path and finds itself forgetting and drifting away from God.”
On my way into work, I happened to drive by a billboard sign with the following message:
Past, Present, and Future walked into a bar….the place got tense.
We seemed to be tense on the hangups, failures, missed opportunities, and poor decisions we have made in the past. We are tense in dealing with the present consequences of our decisions and where we may find ourselves. We grow worrisome, anxious, and fearful of the potential failings of a future we have not yet experienced. We are tense as we realize time seems to be slipping. Our complaint appears to revolve around the sense “there is not enough time,” or, “if I only had enough time.” Lamentations, grumblings, and murmurings complicate our thoughts with dense fog of consternation. With exacerbation, we appear to shirk under the burdensome pressure of time. It seems, we are exhausted, stressed, worried, and prone to anxiety, depression, and other emotional/mental distress; as well as, physiological issues.
Jesus Christ taught that we are to take no thought of our life, what we may eat, drink, or concern ourselves regarding what we may wear. His focus was not on the material possessions we may, or may not have, in this life. The Messiah’s teaching focused on the importance life has in relation to sustenance (See Matthew 6:25-34).
Christ lays out the following truths:
We are not able to add to our stature. This means we are not able to add to our own height, or lengthen our life when it comes to worrying about our own inadequacies, what we are lacking in materials, and what may or may not happen as we move forward. Our worrying prevents any substantial growth.
Provisions of God are simple and sustaining. Reflecting on the nature, the Savior of humanity taught how the birds and the flowers exist in the moment. How their own needs are met without having to “toil, neither…spin”. This does not mean we are to remain idle and hold to expectations of entitlement from divine providence.
This brings us to the third teaching Christ instructs his followers. Seeking first the Kingdom of God and the Righteousness of God. Upon seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness, we are promised, and blessed, with provisions of what we are in need of. Our worry and fear is not on what has already happened. Our worry and fear is not on where we find ourselves in the present moment. Our worry and fear is not on what may become, or how the future may come about. Our worry and fear fades as we continually seek after God.
Francois de Salignac de La Mothe-Fenelon teaches how there are many different times in our lives. He remarks the principle truth we are to apply is this: our time is not to be considered useless. Instead, we are to understand that all we do in our lives has purpose and meaning where the sequence leads to our salvation as we spend moment-to-moment with duties we are endowed with in serving Him and live according to his will and divine Sovereign Grace.
We reach this knowledge, not by a tense and restless zeal, which would be more aptly completely to obscure than to clarify our duties, but by a sincere submission to those who represent God. In the second place, we reach it by a pure and honest heart which seeks God in simplicity, and sincerely combats all the duplicity and false cleverness of self-interest, as fast as he finds them; for a person does not only lose time by doing nothing, or doing what is wrong, he also loses it by doing something other than that which he ought to do, even though what he does is good. We are strangely ingenious in perpetually seeking our own interest, and what worldly souls do crudely and openly, people who want to live for God often do more subtly, with the help of some pretext, which, serving them as a screen, stops them from seeing the ugliness of their behavior.
Our time, therefore, is to live in a manner of life where we are purposeful and meaningful in our own worship toward God. This comes by obedience and faithfulness in trusting in our divine Creator. Francois eloquently says, “…we only have to follow him obediently, and to yield entirely to God our mood, our own will, our sensitiveness, our anxiety, our self-concern, as well as the over-enthusiasm, the haste, the foolish joy and other emotions which make conflicts for us according to whether the things which we have to do are agreeable or inconvenient.”
Following Christ is not about right, or sound, doctrine: In our following Christ, we are devoting our time we have in continual submission to follow after God’s divine Sovereign will. Francois continues to teach: “…the simple light of faith, the gentle and peaceful dependence of the soul upon grace, which it recognizes as the only basis of its safety and of its strength; all this ought to be called upon to keep the soul from the subtle poison which is often hidden in conversation and recreation, and to let it know how to use wisely an opportunity to teach and influence others.” Where we go from here and the take away from this message is:
We are to move back to a more simple and truthful sense of worship by dedicating and devoting our time to God in order to seek after Him, His Will, and His kingdom.
Through our dedication and devotion to pursuit after God, we are to become vessels of influence toward others where we are able to be of service in bringing them to the simple truth of salvation. We, in essence, become ministers in His hand and work according to His divine will, grace, and purpose.
And, finally, our time is precious and bring ourselves back to being more mindful and purposeful in how we manage our time in our sacred Christian life, we are, in essence, alleviating any worries, fears, and anxiety toward what has happened in the past, where we presently find ourselves in life, and what may, or may not, happen in the future.
Past, present, and Future is a part of who we are, does not mean we have to be tense when we are in the Will and divine Grace of God.