MAY 2012: The Christian Giving of Time
All congregations are being asked by the Church nationally to examine how we use our time, money and talents in the service of God and of his Church as part of a National Stewardship Programme. A leaflet was enclosed in the April edition of The Word explaining how the programme works.
The Church of Scotland is embarking on this national programme to remind every member that we are called to give our time, talent and money to enable the worship, mission and service of the Church. As a congregation we will embark on a “stewardship season” as part of our contribution to the national programme. This means that every year we will designate a month when we will look at different aspects of Christian Stewardship; this will help the idea of stewardship to become part of the life and culture of our congregation. In 2012, our stewardship month is May and our focus for this year will be on how we use our time.
Time is a fundamental part of God’s creation (Genesis 1: 14-19) and should be recognised as a very important gift from God. In considering the Christian giving of time, you are encouraged to reflect on the way you use your time.
Last month in The Word, I outlined an exercise you could do in preparation for our Stewardship Month. This was to keep Time Diary for a week to show you how you spend your time and what choices you make about how you use your time.
During May, as part of our designated Stewardship Month, perhaps you could continue to focus on how you spend your time. You might find the following questions helpful in stimulating thoughts and discussions:
Time for God?
Why are corporate worship and private devotions essential ingredients for a healthy human life? In what ways does time for God differ from time for the Church? Should time for God be regarded as time spent in activity or time when we stop doing, stop being busy?
Time for Friends and Family?
In what ways does time spent with friends and family enrich human life? How important is time for friends and family when we prioritise our use of time?
Time for Work?
What are the benefits from spending time working? In what ways is the balance of life upset when there is no opportunity to work or when time for work encroaches on time for other things?
Time for Rest and Recreation?
How does time for rest and recreation differ from time for family and friends? What was Jesus saying when he emphasised the second great commandment, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself”?
Time for the Church?
In what ways do we give time for the work of the Church? Does the Church make the best use of the time we give? In what ways could the Church make better use of our gift of time?
These are only a few of the questions you could explore as you think about how you use your time. Consideration of the stewardship of time is about the whole of life, not just about the life of the church. Focussing on the stewardship of time is also an opportunity for you to reflect on the different amounts of ‘free’ time that are available to you at different stages in your life.
It is hard to measure the stewardship of time. But as you consider some of these questions during May, perhaps you could look at the time you give to God as a priority?
During May, we will explore some questions and issues around the stewardship of time as we meet together for worship. Our focus will be on the many gifts that God has given us and how we can use these gifts to enrich our life together as the people of God in Ardrossan.