“God our Father you are the Maker of everything that exists, the Author of the world of nature and of all living things, the Creator of both space and time. Without you there would be no past, present or future; no summer or winter, spring or autumn, seedtime or harvest; no morning or evening, months or years.
Because you give us the gift of time we have the opportunity to think and to act, to plan and to pray, to give and to receive, to create and to relate, to work and to rest, to strive and to play, to love and to worship.
Too often we forget this and fail to appreciate your generosity: we take time for granted and fail to thank you for it, we view it as a commodity and ruthlessly exploit it, we cram it too full or waste it, learn too little from the past or mortgage it off in advance, we refuse to give priority to those people and things which should have chief claim upon our time.
Help us to view time more as you view it, and to use it more as you intend: to distinguish between what is central and what is peripheral between what is merely pressing and what is really important, between what is our responsibility and what can be left to others, between what is appropriate now and what will be more relevant later.
Guard us against attempting too much because of a false sense of our indispensability, a false sense of ambition, a false sense of rivalry, a false sense of guilt, or a false sense of inferiority: yet do not let us mistake our responsibilities, underestimate ourselves, fail to be stimulated by others, overlook our weaknesses, or know our proper limits. Enable us also to realize that important though this life is, it is not all, that we should view what we do in the light of eternity, not just our limited horizons, that we ourselves have eternal life now.
God our Father, you are not so much timeless as timeful, you do not live above time so much as hold ‘all time . . . in your hand’, you have prepared for us a time when we will have leisure to enjoy each other and you to the full, and we thank you, appreciate you and applaud you for it. Amen” (The Tyranny of Time, by Robert Banks).
This issue of Dynamic Steward will consider the stewardship of time. With this in view, I have shared the above reflective prayer on time.
In acknowledgment of the importance of outstanding stewardship sermons for our congregations and ministries we are launching a Preachers and Writers Contest, titled “Sacred Eloquence.” We are calling upon our global leaders, pastors, and writers to contribute from your cultural context sermons on stewardship. We will publish our three winners in our 2008 Oct-Dec issue of Dynamic Steward.
You will find our final journal entry by Dr. Haddon W. Robinson, “Clearly: How to Preach so Everyone Understands” a useful tool and guideline that will assist you in preparing your sermon.
Alongside you in His service,