Stewardship of time


“How’s your Friday?” my friend asks in the emails chasing between us. “Got some time for a cup of coffee and some ‘carefree timelessness,’” the question proceeds. Of course she can’t see me beaming at the screen as my definitive “ABSO-LUTELY” shuttled right back into her inbox.
It’s been a long dry season to reach this place in my life’s story. The place where I recognize that accepting an offer for “carefree timelessness” IS being a good steward of my time. Now, before laughing too heartily at me or shrugging off the value of “carefree timelessness,” I would suggest that you step back and reflect on how you are stewarding your time.
Upon being set free from the stewardship of my time by others (e.g., parents), I was quickly lured into the trap of spending my time seeing how much I could buy in this world.  I had people (who could benefit me socially) to see; things (that benefitted me tangibly) to do and places (that fed my hunger for significance) to go. Lest we kid ourselves, this is a storyline that many of us are on the verge of tumbling into.  In the heat of the battle, we are valiantly fighting to collect the tee shirt because we have already “been there, done that.”
The purpose of the quest was to accumulate all of the worldly wealth and riches necessary to BUY as much “carefree timelessness” as I thought I needed until I drew my last breath. According to television commercials and magazine ads, I would be successful once I had accumulated enough for my posterity. The sooner I accomplished this … well, the sooner I could enjoy it.  Ironic, isn’t it!  Ironic that by the time I reached the place that I was confident that I could enjoy “carefree timelessness,” I would most likely not know how to enjoy it (I didn’t practice before I got there, remember). I would continually worry about not having enough worldly resources to carry me through the season of “carefree timelessness.” Or, my body could fail me and someone else would once again be stewarding my “carefree timelessness” for me.
Yet, as so often happens to many of us in the midst of our epic tale, momentum shifted and victories looked more like losses. “Carefree timelessness” was poured into my life through divorce, job loss and ultimately financial ruin. For others, the instrument of deliverance may be loss of health, death of a loved one or a natural disaster. The possibilities and combinations are as endless and as unique as we are.  More importantly, I didn’t need to chase this prize, as the world had convinced me.  It was “already there” and “with me all along.”
Today, when Christ beckons me to “come, follow” him, I am keenly aware that the mission at hand is work for his kingdom rather than my own. I may be dispatched to the coffee shop, to the book study, or to a phone conversation in the middle of the afternoon.  I now understand that it is in these things I am being a good steward with my time.  Ironically, when I generously invest myself in these things, there is always an abundance of time to accomplish the other things, too.
 Sheri Benson, Diocesan Stewardship Commission

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