Theme of the Week: Stewarding Time
Bible Verse: “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” James 5:13
Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
You may remember the childhood game, What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf? For the uninitiated, one child stands as the “wolf” in one direction. The other children cry out from far away, “What time is it, Mr. Wolf?” The wolf yells out a random time, such as “5 o’clock”. The children then must take the 5 corresponding steps toward the wolf. This Q&A repeats until the wolf senses the children’s proximity, and when they ask for the time again, the wolf can shout, “Lunch time!” and whip around and attempt to tag its prey.
I suspect this wouldn’t be a very fun game for adults. Even so, I see a lesson for us as men. Maybe during the course of our day, we could ask ourselves, “What time is it, Mr. Wolf?” And we answer with what makes the most sense. Or I should say, with what makes the most sense as God leads us.
For example, if we’re engrossed at work, being in the same sedentary position, perhaps we respond to the question with, “It’s stretch time!” and get up for a drink and shake off the cobwebs. In your home, maybe your son wants to talk with you, but you’re busy watching the game or just dead tired. But you know what, Mr. Wolf? It’s listening time! Your son needs you, Dad. Sometimes we need to stop what we’re doing and see what’s in front of us.
Similarly, the book of James has plenty of straightforward teaching about how to live our lives and handle what is in front of us—meat and potatoes for the soul. The verse for today is representative of this: “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise” (James 5:13). It can’t be said any more plainly. When we’re in trouble or suffering, what time is it? It’s prayer time! How about the opposite, when we’re happy? What time is it now? It’s praise time!
We may find ourselves in familiar situations and do what we’ve always done. If you don’t typically pray to God when you’re experiencing trouble but rather try to tackle the problem yourself, James 5:13 tells you what time it is. When you and I are happy, which I hope is often, today’s Bible verse tells us the time.
I wrote the following to help us know what time it is, in the spirit of Ecclesiastes 3 for a modern generation:
There is a time for everything, br>
a time to listen to the sermon, not the time to catch up on texts, br>
a time to eat more and a time to eat less, br>
a time to save money and a time to bless the poor, br>
a time to read the Bible that suits your daily rhythm, and no time for excuses, br>
a time to serve your family and never a time to strike them, br>
a time to open up to other men and a time to listen to a weeping man, br>
a time to say you don’t have all the answers and a time to answer the bell, br>
a time to read the news and a time to block it out, br>
a time to tickle your children and a time to let them beat you in chess, br>
a time to play video games and a time to do the chores, br>
a time, which is daily, to compliment your wife, thank her, and say “I love you,” br>
a time to know the Lord’s peace and a time to be at war with the devil, br>
a time to share the good news of Jesus and a time to walk away, br>
a time to work hard and a time to take the sabbath.
Prayer: Lord, guide me to pray when I’m in distress, and let me praise you when everything’s going well. Give me wisdom to take a second look and see what’s in front of me, so I might act accordingly.
Reflection: Although I could always pray more, am I praying in dependency upon God “enough”? Likewise, am I praising God enough? During the day, do I sometimes stop and see if the Lord is leading me to do something else?
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