2019-05-08 Margin.

“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you,
and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’”
Luke 12:20

Lately, I have been reminded that life is short. For some, it is even shorter than others. There is no guarantee about tomorrow. Truly, there is no guarantee about today. Even if there is a today and a tomorrow, there aren’t a lot of them. Sure, it may seem like there is an endless supply, but even a long life is short. Therefore, it is very important that I make the best use of my time as possible.

I worked for a guy for twenty years that was driven by time, more so than anyone I have ever met. He was incredibly productive in the workplace; however, I have come to understand my career isn’t my life. Superstars at work don’t have time to be the same at home. I’m not saying I’m either. I’m saying there is more to life than work. There is also more to life than play, as the guy in today’s passage soon found out.

How then might we find a balance between all the things that should be important to us? I think we find some very good instruction in Ephesians. By no means should this be our only guide, but it certainly is a good place to start. This is a bit lengthy but worth the time. I’m going to try break it down by positive and negative instruction, so it is easier to digest.

Ephesians 5:1-21

1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3-8a But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness,

8b-14 but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

15-21 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. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Sometimes it’s easier if I simply have a plan. One hour for God, ten for the work day, one hour for chores, two hours for family, two for hygiene and personal, and eight for sleep. Do that every day and everything will be fine. That doesn’t work. Actually, Paul’s instructions give us a great deal of flexibility so that we might accommodate everything that may come our way. While most days seem to fit a template, we need flexibility to truly walk in love as Christ loves us.

Here’s an example. Try to schedule a meal with someone you would like to know better. What happens? You’ll find two schedules that make it almost impossible to find time. Try doing this as two couples, and you’ll have to go out weeks. Now, add kids to the mix….

We don’t have “margin” in our schedule to be flexible. Just as we need margin in our checkbook for the unexpected, we need margin in our calendar to accommodate what God might have for us. If we are too tight, we don’t have time. How many blessings do you suppose you miss because God can’t find room in your calendar? This is no small issue, folks. When our calendars are tight, we have made our schedules our idols.

Test me on this. Pick someone – anyone – and try to schedule some time with them. Just imagine how blessed your life would be if you could pick up the phone knowing that you could see the other person without it being a scheduling hassle. It’s a shame if the only time people can drop everything is in an emergency.

Margin. That’s what God is asking us to do. Make margin in our lives. For him. So he can use us. Money. Time.

Think about this.

Father, now that I have written all this, make me a doer, not just a talker. Amen.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

Photo by Heather Zabriskie on Unsplash

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