The Clock and the Dollar
Besides people, what were the greatest causes of stress in your life today? If you are anything like me I'd venture to guess that have to do with the clock and the dollar. Even the nicknames we give them to tell of their excessive importance in our lives: father time and the almighty dollar. The clock and the dollar really do seem to rule sometimes. They really know how to get their elbows on the table in our lives. We have to beat the clock and we need more dollars. We are captured and too often held captive by these two influences. I've been thinking about this a lot since using that illustration recently in a sermon.
I really do think that there's a way to put the clock and the dollar in their rightful places. They should not be greedy tyrants driving us, they should be gospel tools, serving Christ. The first thing that came to my mind was a lasso. You know, one of those things a cowhand uses. You see them most often in rodeos. My favorite event at a rodeo is not the bull riding but the calf roping. That's where the rider throws a lasso around a moving calf, slides off his horse and tackles the calf in mid stride. Gets in there around the horns and wrestles it to the ground and then ties its feet and bam, it's done. I think that's what we need to do with the clock and the dollar. At least in this hemisphere. In America it seems like we are hyper connected to the clock in the dollar. To a very unhealthy degree.
The apostle Paul talks about redeeming the time. Buying it up, making the most of every opportunity. That's what I want to do. But I don't read anywhere in my Bible where God says make yourself as absolutely busy as you can and fill up every single moment with appointments and obligations and to-do lists. And we are called to be wise stewards of the resources God is given us be at our time, our talents, or treasure. We are not called anywhere to waste our hard earned money or even consider it our own. And I think that the clock and the dollar have been allowed to become the biggest culprits in robbing us of the peace that God wants us to have in Christ.
Colossians chapter 3, verses 15-17 say, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do,whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
How exactly can you accomplish and experience this kind of peace?
1. Think on Christ and His Word.
Consider Jesus Christ, the same yesterday today and forever. Expose yourself as often as you can to God's Word. Read it, listen to it, think about it, bring it in your conversations, rejoice in the goodness of God in giving you His Word,. Take time to savor gospel truth. Recount and rehearse the goodness of God in Christ. Revel in the message of the cross. Remember what God has done in your life in bringing you to Himself and growing you in Christ.
2. Leave some margin in your schedule to decompress and be available to help others.
Don't fill every minute. Leave some room for the spur of the moment. Be flexible enough to flex with what God may bring your way. Don't be lazy but also don't feel guilty when there is nothing to do right this very minute. Be available for the people that mean the most to you and those who currently mean the least. Spend time with those nearest and dearest to your heart. And be willing to go out of your way for those who aren't. You might just find the God gives them a special place in your heart as well.
3. Don't commit every minute and dollar to something and commit the most important ones to God's work.
Leave some margin in the budget. Free yourself up to have something to use when needs arise. Spontaneous occurrences are often the ones that God uses to bless people the most. Be ready, willing, and able to help at a moments notice. Commit your first dollars to giving generously and sacrificially to the Lords work. Wrestle with yourself if you have to but just make sure that the first dollars go towards work. Make this a nonnegotiable aspect of your stewardship. Set up automatic giving if you have to.
4. Fight your ingrown tendency to be greedy and selfish, and desire most to exalt Christ.
Think more about who you might be able to help rather than what you want to buy next. Daydream about how you can help and bless others more than about driving in that new car forgetting that new piece of furniture you really want. Basically, defriend yourself from greed. People are watching you. The Holy Spirit dwells you. Trust God to work in you what is pleasing in his site and what is helpful for the good of others. Exalt Christ in your thoughts, words, and actions. Model Him to a watching world.
The Gospel frees us to serve Christ wholeheartedly. We don't have to be slaves to the clock or the dollar anymore. We are free to give all praise to the Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ we have been saved by sovereign grace alone, through the gift of faith alone, in Christ alone, as revealed in Scripture alone, for God's glory alone. So we are free. The clock and the dollar don't need to be your master. In fact, God's desire is for you to be mastered by Him.
Jesus must come to have first place in everything. He is the preeminent one. The clock and the dollar have nothing on the peace of Christ. But you are going to need to use that proverbial lasso to not just say it but live that truth. Think it over, pray it through, and then act upon what God reveals to you. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, and be thankful. Because Jesus loves you.