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Time – Do you spend or invest?

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary This past weekend was homecoming at the high school. Daughter #2 was excited about going to the dance, but a few weeks ago discovered her tennis team had an all-day tournament on the same day and, to complicate matters, it was over an hour
by Faith+Lead | September 17, 2012

By Dr. Terri Martinson Elton, Director of the Center for First Third Ministry at Luther Seminary

This past weekend was homecoming at the high school. Daughter #2 was excited about going to the dance, but a few weeks ago discovered her tennis team had an all-day tournament on the same day and, to complicate matters, it was over an hour away. Needless to say, both mom and dad were needed to make the day come together.

This past Monday Daughter #1 called from college. She was getting everything in order for her mid-semester break trip to London, only to discover her passport needed to be renewed…in person, in Minneapolis, three and a half hours away from school. After research, and several phone calls, it was decided Tuesday and Wednesday (as in the next two days) would be the window for it to happen. I made the pick-up on Tuesday, Grandpa got the Wednesday shift.

That’s how I spent my time this week, I mean the hours when I wasn’t working, buying groceries or sleeping. What about you? How did you use your time? Each week I face choices around the use of my time. Some weeks I fair pretty well, others not so well. This week clearly was a test for my decisions regarding time.

So yesterday, when Sunday worship rolled around, I was tired and debating skipping worship (not something too often done at the Elton household). But I went. And in worship I entered into an intersection between my life and God’s Word. Last week started the series On Purpose Living, helping us align the resources of their life around our God-driven purpose, and today’s theme was about time. Whoa.

As the theme unfolded throughout worship I found myself replaying in my head the past week. My conversation during the road trip, getting ready for the dance, connecting with other parents, checking in with the coach – and then the pastor’s question: Do you spent time or invest it? Time is a limited commodity, he said, and everyone has the same amount. Yes, and time is a resource given to us by God. Therefore, making choices about time is not about me. Rather it’s about being a steward of how God’s created me to be and the opportunities placed in my life. Almost too much for my tired brain to process.

My week was busy, for sure. But I’m happy to say this week I invested my time. I had two powerful dialogues about faith and life, participated in creating community and reconciling relationships, listened and talked, used my gifts and invited others to do the same, and let relationships trump activity.

Today’s worship was a gift, and a challenge. Monday starts a new week, and who knows what opportunities lie ahead. But this I do know, Pastor Jeff’s question will be echoing in my head. What about you? How will you use your time?

– Terri

Click here to listen to Pastor Jeff Marian’s sermonIt’s about Time, preached September 16th.

And I’d like to offer a special thank you for this sermon series. For those that read “My Letter to the Church” post a few weeks ago this series has been a blessing. If you’d like to take the challenge Pastor Jeff offered the congregation this past weekend, try doing the Time Audit Worksheet found at http://www.simpleproductivityblog.com/free-stuff/

Join the conversation on Facebook.com/FirstThird!

Terri Elton is passionate about young people and their families, and loves the church. No really! She’s our Associate Professor and teaches with an eye toward developing leaders and leading change.

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