Love Is Time: Sacrificing for Others

Has this ever happened to you? You have really needed to go somewhere. But right before you are about to leave, a friend (we will call him Fred) drops by or gives you a call. Fred starts making conversation as you slowly inch toward the door. You can tell that he needs to talk about something but is afraid to bring it up. At any other time, you would consent to talking with him, but you really need to go. You say, “I hate to do this (Do you really?), but I have got to go. We will talk later (but do you really follow through with this?).” Fred says, “Yeah…ok that’s fine.” He reluctantly leaves so that you can go. As you are driving where you need to go, you think to yourself, “phew! Got outa’ that one.”

 

            In our culture, time is a currency. What we devote our time to tells us what we love. I guess you could call time one of our major “love languages.” However, our culture also operates out of an individualistic worldview, which causes us to routinely act out of a sense of self-love. Think about it! If time is our love language and if we love ourselves, then it follows that we will devote our time to ourselves or to something that benefits us. You can definitely see this worldview in the scenario presented above. You were more motivated to devote your time to what you needed to do rather than to Fred because, naturally, you love yourself more than Fred.

 

The major problem with assuming this worldview is that it goes against everything God has commanded us to do. Philippians 2:3-4 says,Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” We are called to love self-sacrificially. And if this is the case, then we must be willing to devote our time to others even if it is inconvenient to us.

 

I believe that we see great examples of this in the lives of Jesus and Paul. In John 3:22 we see that Jesus spent time with His disciples: “After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.” Because Jesus loved His disciples, he spent time with them. We also see Jesus dining with sinners and tax collectors (Mark 2:16). Now surely Jesus could have devoted His time to things that would build up His public image, but instead He chose not to. He chose to love the unlovable by spending time with them. In fact, spending time with sinners is one of the reasons that the Jewish leaders wanted to discredit Him.

 

Another example of this: Paul loved his churches so much that he would be willing to remain on the earth to spend time with them rather than to go be with God in heaven because it was more beneficial to them (Phil 1:21-25). Talk about self-sacrificial love! Then later in Philippians (4:9) Paul tells us, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” As Christians, we are commanded to follow Paul’s example in showing this self-sacrificial love. And we do this by giving our time to other people even if it is inconvenient or does not promote our best interest. So how do we do this?

 

  1. Ask for Grace! The only way that we can love like this is if God makes us able to. We cannot love like this on our own because on our own we are only prone to selfishness. The cool thing is that God wants to give you this love because the more of this love you have the more like Christ you will become. So ask and you will receive.
  2. Spend time with God. The first person whom you must devote your time to is the Lord. How can you say that you love God and then not spend time with Him? You hypocrite!!! (Me included). Oh how I pray that your heart would just be flooded with a love for God and His Word and that you would run to be with Him as often as possible even if it means giving up on something that might be more convenient! “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”(James 4:8a).
  3. Force yourself to spend time with other people. The next time something like the “Fred Scenario” happens to you, spend time with the person. The project can wait. The person is much more important. (I understand that sometimes this is impossible, so use discernment of course). Do not love yourself more than Fred! But give yourself to him as Jesus did for you. Then, you will be following Jesus’ and Paul’s example.

 

I hope that this blog has opened your eyes to the value that we place on our time. Again, what you devote your time to is what you love. Put your time into what matters. I am praying for you guys! Please pray for me in this as well.

 

blessings

Richard Gamble

If you happen to know Richard you know that he lives with purpose! Richard has been around the Precept Ministries for years and has most recently served as one of our summer interns. Richard attends Lee University and hopes to someday be a college professor.

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One Response

02.04.13

Your Comments
Time is definitely a valuable commodity, ultimately belonging to Him Who gave it to us in the first place. How we spend it reflects what’s in our hearts. Sadly there are too many times where the minutes I spend watching Star Trek N G outnumber the minutes reading His Word or doing some other self-less thing. He’s not finished with me yet!
Incidentally, HAPPY belated BIRTHDAY!! Xoxo

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