October 9, 2020
By Skip Heitzig
I've found that one of the most compelling and attractive traits in a believer is the trait of generosity. I think that's because it reflects the character of God Himself: we have a generous, giving God (see John 3:16).
One characteristic of generous people is that they are openhearted with their time. Acts 2 says that the believers in the early church "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers…. Continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart" (vv. 42, 46).
It takes time to meet and eat with people. It takes time to pray together. It takes time to be exposed to Bible study. These believers were clearly committed to investing their time in one another's schedules. Not every gift of generosity is a financial contribution, nor does it need to be. You can effectively invest your time in any number of worthwhile, God-honoring pursuits.
And if you're wondering, How can I be generous with my time when I have no time to be generous with? be encouraged by the example of Jesus. He lived a busy life full of pressing needs, yet toward the end of His time on earth He was able to pray, "I have finished the work which You have given Me to do" (John 17:4).
Here are a couple principles about how Jesus managed His time:
1. Jesus could be generous with His time because He was first generous with His time with God. Mark 1:35 says, "In the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, [Jesus] went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed." When you spend time with God—whatever the time of day—that's where your heart and mind get reoriented.
2. Jesus said no to certain things so that He could say yes to other things. Jesus did not respond to every need He saw; there were plenty of people left unhealed and untouched by Him during His time on earth. Why? He knew the difference between following the urgent and following the important. And you manage your time by devoting yourself not to what's urgent, but to what's important—to what God has called you to do. That means no is a holy word.
So what is crowding your time and keeping you from what's important? It could be as simple as some time-wasting activity. In Ephesians 5:16, Paul called us to "[redeem] the time, because the days are evil." So let's figure out, in whatever days we have left on this earth, what we can say no to so that we can say yes to what's truly important.
God is generous with those who are generous (see Proverbs 11:25; 22:9; Luke 6:38), so give of your time expectantly, knowing that it's not yours anyways. The Lord is the giver of life and the giver of all things. We are merely stewards—not only of our finances but also of the very minutes and hours of our days here on earth.