Article From the Magazine:

Time Sensitive

By David Jeremiah

If you live and work in America, a deadline is looming in April—a time-sensitive deadline. That deadline is prior to midnight, April 17, 2018. On that day, you are required to file your income tax returns.

A lot of people give in to the temptation to procrastinate in spite of having a year to prepare. It may no longer be true, but in the days when everyone mailed their tax returns in, post offices in large cities would position employees outside on the night of the due date so last-minute filers could drive by and toss their tax returns into mail bags held by the employees. And the traffic would be backed up for blocks and blocks. (Don’t ask me how I know!)

Some people opt for filing an extension. But that doesn’t move the deadline. You are still responsible for sending in any tax due by the deadline, even if you have to file all of your paperwork a few months later. If you don’t believe this is a serious deadline, start paying attention to the increasing number of “tax relief” advertisements on radio and television—law firms whose sole mission is to get citizens out of trouble with the Internal Revenue Service.

Time, tide, and taxes wait for no man.

And speaking of time, welcome to the April issue of Turning Points—a “Time Sensitive” issue of our monthly magazine. You won’t find tax information in this issue, but you will find biblical insights on how to live a time-sensitive life.

What exactly does that mean? It means viewing time from a stewardship perspective. Time is a gift from God—just like our money, our gifts and abilities, and our possessions. Like everything in our life, God’s gifts are to be used in ways that are consistent with His desires . . . ways that bring glory and honor to Him. Time is not given to us to squander, to waste, or to use idly. It is to be used wisely and fruitfully.

There’s something unique about time: Time itself is time sensitive. That is, there is an expiration date on the amount of time we have been given. We have an ever-decreasing amount of time available to us—and only God knows how much time we have left. The psalmist wrote that all the days of our lives were ordained by God before even one of them came to pass (Psalm 139:16). Since we don’t know the expiration date on our time, the biblical injunctions about time are to live in light of eternity—every day as if it is our last.

That means at least two things for every child of God: Redeem the time and invest the time. Those two ideas inform all the articles you will read in this month’s magazine. Hopefully you will be challenged to redeem and invest the time you have left.

To get us thinking about time, let’s distinguish between redeeming time and investing time.

The idea of redeeming time can be a bit confusing because we normally think of redemption in a theological sense—Christ has redeemed us from our sins. But the literal meaning of the word helps: It means “to buy back, or buy out of, or recover.” So modern translations of Ephesians 5:16 talk about “taking advantage of every opportunity” or “making the most of your time.” That’s helpful! As good stewards, we ought not to waste God’s time. We should make the most of the time we have on this earth. But in what sense?

That’s where “investing time” comes in. Think of time like the talents Jesus talked about in His parable (Matthew 25:14-30). The two men who invested the master’s money (think “time”) in accordance with the master’s wishes were rewarded. The man who simply bided his time until the master returned, investing and returning nothing, was rebuked. So not only are we to make the most of our time, we are to “spend” our time pursuing returns—both temporal and eternal—that please the Master.

Think about this: There are 4,680 weeks in a 90-year life. How many do you have left? (Do the math: 90 minus your age times 52!) Are you living a time-sensitive life? That is our challenge this month.

             

This article was first published in Turning Points Magazine & Devotional.
Learn more about the magazine and request your free copies today!

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