Jesus was criticized for spending TIME with tax collectors and sinners. We should be criticized for spending time only with ourselves and our loved ones. As we saw in John 17, we have been left here on planet earth to reach the people of this world. They need to be reached. Lostness is real — and followers of Jesus have the answer to human lostness.
But the communication of that message takes TIME. And time requires commitment, priorities, sacrifice. And friendship. Deep, on-going, strategic friendships.
I am an unapologetic C.S. Lewis fan. He was not perfect. And there are some areas where he and I disagree with one another. But I love finding a new C.S. Lewis quote. He said somewhere: “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” Time is the great equalizer. Time measures our priorities. It declares, wordlessly, what is important to us and what efforts we have made to express our values to others.
Someone named Roy T. Bennett put it this way: “It’s worth making time to find the things that really stir your soul. That’s what makes you really feel alive. You have to say ‘no’ to other things you’re used to, and do it with all your heart.” I’m really no fan of Stephen King, a man who has terrified innumerable people with his books. I heard that King was raised in an Evangelical family. King says in one of his books: “Time takes it all, whether you want it to or not.”
Jesus spent time with sinners. It took time for Him to eat and drink with them. He was charged with “welcoming sinners.” It takes time to “welcome” someone.
Today is my last day of class with my fourteen lifer brothers in a local prison. These men are in a two-year program to be trained as prison chaplains. I’ve been teaching them Bible doctrine each morning from 9 AM to noon for three weeks. Most of them will never leave prison. Yesterday afternoon I went through security, got patted down, was let through several sets of locked doors, and met my students in the visitors’ room. To play ping pong. I invested a little bit of time with them, outside the classroom.
The brutal fact is that you and I have exactly the same amount of time every day. We choose how we will use that time. Lao Tzu said, “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”
How will you use the time God gives you today? In the words of the great theologian Dr. Seuss, “How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”