Maybe it is because I have reached 70 years of age but I have been valuing my time more and more recently. I feel great, am in good health, still keep active, and work hard in a variety of ministries that the Lord has called me to. But, I must admit, I don’t have the strength nor the stamina that I use to have 40 years ago when I first met Jesus and was born again. I am thankful to have reached this age and to be in decent health and still actively engaged with God’s people and reaching out to the lost on a daily basis.
However, I realized many years ago that there are three things I can do with my time – with every day that the Lord gives to me to live for Him. I can waste it, I can spend it, or I can invest it. I can’t “save time” keeping it for later in the week or later in my life. I can’t “create” more time as the Lord has numbered each person’s days. I can either waste it, spend it, or invest it. I have, in the past, done al three. Over a decade ago I decided to no longer waste time. Now, I am at the point in my life that I am no longer willing simply to spend time. I want to invest the limited time that the Lord is blessing me with.
I work in many nations and in many places in North America. I am involved in many ministries and do a lot of discipling and mentoring. This involves face-to-face time with people and ministries as well as much computer time working on communicating through various channels now available to us. It is amazing work that I am honoured to do for the Lord. But, I digress.
Within the wide range of ministries and churches there are believers who are doing great things for God. They are wrestling with concepts and ideas about the Kingdom and the Church. They are moving forward in their walk with the Lord. They are ministering to the lost. They have open hearts and obedient wills and follow the Lord with great zeal and passion. They are investing their time in the Kingdom and in the plans and purposes of God for their lives, ministries, and local church. They are a joy to work with. They are responding to what the Holy Spirit is doing today and together we invest time – their’s and mine – in things that are important and eternal.
There are others, however, who are parked and not moving forward. They want to spend time with me. They want me to spend time with them – teaching them and ministering to them. They love the Lord but they love their comfort and security even more than the Lord. Yes, I can bless them. Yes, I can teach them. But, if what they are learning does not change them and does not influence and impact the way they are living – challenging them to change and engage more and more with the lost, the least, and the last … then I am just spending time. Enjoyable. Looks somewhat beneficial. But, really very self-centered and non-productive for the Kingdom.
I have recently decided that I am not willing to simply spent time ministering when there is no return for the King and the Kingdom. When the ministry and time spent does not result in change – individual and corporate – then I am simply spending time with believers. And, I am not interested in fellowship and teaching for the sake of fellowship and teaching. My call, as an apostle, is to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.” So, if they are not changing and growing, reaching out and ministering to the lost then what we (and I) are doing is very narcissistic and self-centered. And, recently I have come to conclusion that I need to remove myself from these situations so as to no longer simply “spend time” ministering … when really the ministry is actually maintenance. And, I have not been called to maintain but to advance the Kingdom.
So, I am changing what I am doing, where I am doing it, and with whom / for whom I am doing it. I have determined that in these latter years I will no longer waste time with people who don’t want to change and grow. I will no longer spend time with those who are not moving forward with the King and the Kingdom reaching out to the lost as demanded and commanded by Jesus. But, if people want to grow, be equipped, and are interested in changing so that they can truly impact their communities and the nations I am certainly willing and eager to invest time in them.
So, much of the current ministry that I am involved in is coming to an end. By mid-October into the early part of winter in November (2017) I will have gently but in a very definite way removed myself from any and all current ministry engagements where equipping is not happening; where believers are not growing, developing, changing; and where disciples are not reaching out to impact the least, the least, and the lost with the Gospel of the Kingdom. It is time to tighten up the ministry and use my time – invest my time – wisely.