Time in a Bottle

Speaker: Ps. Darin Browne

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go through time with

Lyrics by Jim Croce

GOD’S OPPORTUNE TIMES

Suppose your credit card company came up with an offer that if you took an account with them they would deposits $86,400 into your account for one day. You cannot take cash out but only purchase for this money. The cash will be deposited into your account at 6 am and 6 pm the leftover cash will be taken back by the bank. It will not carry balance to the next day. What would you do? What time would you get up that day? I would purchase for every rupee.

God has given all of us a bank, called the Time Bank. Every morning God credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night God writes off as lost whatever of this you have failed to invest in good purpose. It carries over no balance. The clock is running, so make the most of your time.

There are many areas of life that are unfair. Some people get more money, better health, better possessions, better opportunities. But there is one area we all are equal…we all get the same amount of time.

Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV)
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

None of us can catch time in a bottle. We get what we get, we use what we use, and we squander what we waste. In the Bible, two Greeks words are used for time; CHRONOS, which is hours, minutes, seconds, from which we get words like chronology; and KAIROS, which is God given moments or seasons. These are appointed times, specific times, defined times, crisis times…God’s opportune times.

So how can we make the best use not of hours minutes and seconds but of opportune times?

1. LIVE WITH ETERNITY IN MIND

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

Most people recognise that there is more to life than what we experience every day. There is an eternity, and things we do in this life do matter. Yet we burn through time as if eternity is of no consequence, and really this is terrible behaviour for those who claim to know and serve Jesus!

Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

2. RECOGNISE WE WILL HAVE TO ACCOUNT FOR OUR TIME

2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV)
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

There will be an accounting of everything including how we used our time before Jesus Christ, yes even for believers. This is not for salvation; this is for reward and loss. If you don’t know Jesus, you stand condemned already and face a certain eternity separated from God in Hell. I don’t care if you believe or not, every one of us will give an account for how we used the time given to us.

When you stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ, what will you say? Every one of us should be challenged to make the best use of the KAIROS time, the opportunities that the Lord prepares for us.

3. LOOK FOR GOD-GIVEN OPPORTUNE TIMES

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

If we would only look with His eyes, we would see loads of opportunities. We see things with our eyes, but we don’t see with our spirit. At a crime scene where the criminal has cleaned up blood, technicians spray luminal, then use a blue light, and the blood lights up like a Christmas tree. You can’t see it with. Natural eye, but it was there all along.

4. OPPORTUNE TIMES COME TO EVERYONE

If you are breathing and you love God, you will have opportunities to serve the Lord. We often wait passively to be given opportunities, but we need to actively search and seize opportunities.

People who are significant in the Kingdom of God get the same amount of time as you and me, but they seem to recognise and seize opportunities more than we do.

Galatians 6:10 (ESV)
So then, as we have opportunity (KAIROS), let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

We all have opportunities to serve God, but we need to seek and seize them. That’s what Ignite is about; we are a vehicle to help you seek and seize opportunities, and maximise your use of time, for the days are evil.

5. OPPORTUNE TIMES COME IN SEASONS

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV)
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

Often the opportunity you are having today is not the same as before, and it may not be here tomorrow. We need to have eyes to see it, these opportune moments in time. They often come is seasons, that’s why in 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul instructed Timothy to be prepared in season and out of season.

The end of WW2, the occupying US power sent a call out to churches to send missionaries. However, after a long war and still with resentment towards their defeated enemy, no one responded, Japan became secular, and a great opportunity went begging.

Some older ones here used to be very active serving God, and now you don’t have the same opportunities. One season has passed, but praise God another is coming, if only you’d see it.

6. OPPORTUNE TIMES OFTEN COME DISGUISED AS PROBLEMS

When life gives you lemons, decide to make lemonade! Paul had a tough season in the last chapter of Acts. After a long trip, featuring shipwrecks and snake bites, he was imprisoned in Rome for two years. He could have given up, he could have sat miserable and mad at God for not prospering him, but he didn’t!

Acts 28:31 (ESV)
proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Even in a tough season of life, you can find opportune times if you look properly. Some people see only difficulties in opportunities, but we must see opportunities in difficulties. Paul wrote…

1 Corinthians 16:8-9 (ESV)
But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

We think that if things don’t go well, if there’s adversity, if there’s suffering, that God mustn’t be in it. Opportunities are often not recognised because they are cleverly disguised as difficulties. David and Goliath, Daniel and the lions, Joshua taking the land. We need to stop seeing trials and problems as bad, or being out of God’s will, and start seeing them as divine appointments, opportunities to shine for Jesus. The symbol for Christianity is a cross, not a cushion! Whatever you are facing, if you ask God, you will see huge opportunities to serve the Lord.

7. OPPORTUNE TIMES BEGET MORE OPPORTUNITIES

Opportunities have a shelf life. Make the most of every opportunity, for the days are evil.

Elisha’s final act on earth was to instruct King Joash to strike the ground with an arrow. He struck it three times, then stopped,

2 Kings 13:19 (ESV)
Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.”

Ephesians says not to make use of the time but make best use of the time. And when you follow through, faith begets faith, and opportunities beget more opportunities. We have seen that financially here at Ignite and Lily House, where time and time again God has miraculously provided hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Joseph interpreted small dreams before he got the opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. David fought lions and bears before he had a crack at Goliath. Stephen waited on tables. Don’t waste time waiting for large opportunities, seize the small ones around you, because they lead to greater opportunities. Be faithful with a little and you will get to do much.

HOW DO WE MAKE THE BEST USE OF KAIROS TIME?

Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV)
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

As sand through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives. Bet you did not realise that a soap opera could be prophetic? We waste, we squander, so many opportunities and so much time. Devices, and apps like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok can soak up literally hours of unproductive time. So here are four ideas on how you can maximise your time for the Lord.

1. TREASURE YOUR TIME

Treasure our time as valuable and precious. Every day is precious; we should treasure it and number it. Some people say, “Oh I wish it was the weekend, I don’t like this day.” As believers, we shouldn’t have a hump day Wednesday, we should have a gratitude attitude and value everyday. It’s precious.

Psalms 90:12 (ESV)
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

I had a physically difficult trip to the Philippines. The ministry was great, the effect was tremendous, but every day was 39 or 40 degrees, their hottest summer in memory. Many don’t have air-conditioning. I had an air con running for a few hours in a small room and the temperature was still 33!

So, after a tough trip, every flight I had was delayed, up to 4-5 hours. Getting home took longer than flying to Europe. I could have complained, but I said, Lord, let me use the time effectively. Let me maximise it for You, and that’s where I wrote this sermon (in three different countries).

We have a limited number of days. Let’s treasure every one of them. I have sat with dying people, and when they have only a few days to live, they treasure every visitor, and every moment they can. Our time is valuable.

To realise the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed one year.

If you want to realise the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

To realise the value of one hour, ask the businessman who was stuck in traffic and missed his flight.

If you want to realise the value of one minute, ask the man who had a heart attack and died because there was no one to attend to him in a minute.

To realise the value of one second ask the Olympic swimmer who missed a medal by one millisecond.

Time really is valuable, so use it wisely. Some people say ‘time is money.’ They feel they can work overtime and earn more money. You can work and make money, but it is totally impossible to make more time. Time is much more valuable than money.

2. INVEST YOUR TIME

If time is truly valuable and to be treasured, you need to invest it wisely. Microwaves have made cooking faster, mobile phones have made connectivity faster, internet helps us send messages faster. We feel we save time because of the latest inventions. Where is the time we saved from all these inventions? We have used it for something else. See we cannot save time; we can only invest our time.

How we spend our time reflects what is most important to us. Doctors invest six or seven years in training, students invest twelve years to graduate. We invest in worldly things, but what about the Lord. What do we invest in Him?

Hebrews 10:25 (ESV)
not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

I urge you to invest in eternity. Coming to church, coming to prayer meetings, quiet times, times with friends and family, times reaching out to those who don’t know Jesus.

Don’t tell me you do not have any spare time at all. When we get spare time we watch too much television, Facebook, or texting. These are wasted times and we need to give an account for this wastage.

It’s not wrong to relax and take a break, but we need to consciously invest time into the things that matter eternally. So, invest your time. Remember, there will always be something else to do. There will always be somewhere else you can be, but the best investment of your time is to invest for God and to invest for your family in eternity.

3. MANAGE YOUR TIME

The key to investment is management. If you do not manage your time, you will not have time to invest. So, learn to effectively manage your time.

Colossians 4:5 (ESV)
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.

Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Remember the illustration of putting rocks of various sizes into a jar? The lecturer put seven or eight large rocks into the jar until it was full. “Is the jar full?” He asked. Everyone nodded. Then he took pebbles and filled up the jar with the small rocks until they reached the rim. “Is the jar full?” By now, they didn’t answer. So, he poured fine sand in. “Is the jar full?” Some nodded. He proceeded to take a pitcher of water and filled up the jar again. “What’s the lesson about time management?”

Unless you put the big rocks in first, they never will fit in. You must figure out what the big rocks are for you. Give time for those big rocks. My personal big rocks are giving time to God, giving time to my family, and giving time to church and work. If you can give time for those big rocks, automatically everything else will fit in.

4. ENJOY YOUR TIME

Ecclesiastes 3:12 (ESV)
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;

Life can be miserable, mundane, uninspiring, and laboured for many people, but I reckon Christians have the best fun of all. Without drugs, booze or illicit sex!

We need to enjoy our time on earth. Many people are always sad, upset, negative, and waste their precious time. Christ died for us to live life to the full, and that involves joy and happiness. So, enjoy everyday. Do not let conflicts, ego clashes, fights and selfishness rob you of genuine joy.

Remember, we cannot enjoy our time if we are over-busy. If our day is full of activities, we will get frustrated and frazzled by the end of the day. To enjoy our life, we need to build some margins into our life. A margin gives you breathing room. It’s keeping a little reserve that you’re not using up. Margin is having breath at the top of the staircase, money at the end of the month, a little free time at the end of each day. Don’t rush from chore to chore and appointment to appointment.

Having good margins in your life gives you peace, no stress, better health, and you can hear from God because God speaks to us in our margin times. Use your time wisely, otherwise, we become too busy for God to speak to us.

Enjoy life. I’m not saying you can’t watch TV or Facebook, because in moderation they can bring joy and relaxation. Enjoy them, don’t become enslaved to them!

5. REDEEM YOUR TIME

The Bible talks about redeeming your time, that is buying it back. You can’t save time in a bottle. You can’t save time at all, but you can invest it wisely. Enjoy it, treasure it, manage it and make the best use of it, for the days are evil.

Jesus is the great example of a person who redeemed his time. He was never in a hurry. He had a very short time to do a big job. Yet he made time to consider His creation, he gave time for people, he had time for the little children, he had time to train up his disciples, time to preach the kingdom, and more importantly time to die on the cross. Even before Jesus was arrested, Jesus had some margin of time to pray and be alone with God the Father. Jesus used His time appropriately. One of the secrets of Jesus’ time management is that he prayed everyday. He invested his time with God.

The key to redeem your time is to invest your time for God. Everything else will pass away but what you do for the Lord will last for ever. So, with this in mind, let us make a commitment to use our time effectively, buying it back from the devil and the flesh to spend it on things eternal, things of God.

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