Church of God in Christ, Mennonite

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11

A TIME FOR EVERY PURPOSE

God does not exist in the realm of time. One day with Him is like a thousand years, and a thousand like one day. Although God inhabits eternity, He created time and maintains complete control of its existence. The earth turns, and the sun rises and sets at his command. Seasons come and go; young life flourishes, then grows old and passes away, all by God’s design.

Man, however, is controlled by time. We live our lives by minutes, hours, and days. Every day affords us twenty-four hours, and nothing is farther from our grasp than an hour gone. Time must be managed. Choosing priorities in the use of each day is of utmost importance. Whatever controls our time controls our lives. And how we live determines our destiny.

We have no control over the nationality of our parents or where we were born. We did not choose our mental capacity or physical characteristics. Only our response to the circumstances of life lies within our control. This generation holds enormous possibilities to fulfill or abandon God’s purpose for our lives. Never has access to the Bible, travel, and means of communication been greater for the use of spreading the gospel. How will we answer?

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God . . .” Do our hopes and dreams, our plans and goals, and our work and leisure indicate love for God and his kingdom? Placing God’s kingdom first affects the management of our time. It results in cherished moments allotted for prayer, devotion, and worship. It softens our hearts with compassion for the needy and a burden for the lost. It gives direction when to speak encouraging words or offer silent support, when to cheer with a song or sympathize with a helping hand.

Are we too busy to spend a moment holding a frightened child, an hour visiting the lonely, or a day cleaning flooded homes? Nurturing the young, counseling the fainthearted, or encouraging the weary will take precedence over catering to our own whims. We must purpose in our hearts to build trust with open communication and break down walls of suspicion.

We often struggle to keep a heavenly vision. One purpose of our existence is to provide for ourselves and our families. There is a time to work, a time to plant, a time to build, and a time to accumulate. A good work ethic coupled with faithful stewardship is necessary. But if material things become the focus of our existence, we have failed God, others, and ourselves.

Loving the world fans our desire for ease and abundance. It requires a disproportionate amount of time spent pursuing financial success. It generates a drive for independence and smothers the spirit of simplicity. God calls us to forsake the kingdom of darkness and shine as beautiful lights in our world today.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). We see little of today and nothing of the future. Our earthly view proves short-sighted. It creates doubt and erodes confidence in our heavenly Father’s care. We question the untimely death of loved ones. Poverty and lack of opportunity seem unfair. The cruel hand of war creates chaos and untold suffering. Truth is trampled, and the foundations of morality are destroyed. However, God remains in control. He is unchanging with no shadow of turning. He can be trusted. His love never fails, and every purpose He designs will be fulfilled in due time. Believing this yields unrivaled security for the Christian.

Although life is fleeting, we are part of God’s great plan. In accepting his will, we grasp how He makes everything beautiful in his time. From the ashes of disaster grows the lovely flower of faith. Suffering produces a depth of patience that touches many lives. We see a rebellious prodigal transformed into a loving servant and a faltering youth grow strong in the Lord. Two young Christians can join hands in holy matrimony, knowing God will keep them in his love. Parents see the fruit of their prayers realized in converted children. The dying are able to face death serenely in total confidence that heaven awaits. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jer. 29:11).

From Adult and Youth Sunday School Studies, May 17, 2020