Monday, January 14, 2008

Time in a bottle

The old year ended, and the new began, with sermons (basically) on redeeming time. At the same time I was working my way through the Jonathan Edwards sermon, “The preciousness of time and the importance of redeeming it.” You have to love Puritan sermon titles. At least we always know what they are about!

Anyway, it was a triple-whammy to walk me into 2008, thinking about the year just past, and how to do better this year. And it further informed a deepening, nagging, clarifying conviction about music ministry:

It is all about stewardship.

In regard to the subject at hand, there is of course the stewardship of time. How to use, or redeem, or redemptively use, time.

But it also surfaces the issue of “why” it is so important to use time well. And the implications of time used well … to what purpose or ends? Surely the time given to me in ministry is fleeting and uncertain. 22 years flew by, and even if I have 22 more in this racket it won’t be enough to accomplish anything significant.

Unless what is accomplished is what God considers important. Unless what is accomplished uses and enhances the people that God gives the church to make music for his glory. Unless time spent considering, praying, choosing, preparing, and leading people is partnered with God’s purposes for the church – to equip every member for ministry in the areas of their giftedness; to build and strengthen the church for local and global gospel witness; to joyfully proclaim Christ’s glory among the nations.

Sure, I’d like to have efficient and effective use of my professional time to accomplish more, for personal growth, to produce more. Somehow, I think, almost none of that matters so much as spending the right kind of time with people. Spending preparation time with a larger picture in front of me – of why it is important to get this musical phrase right in rehearsal, to choose just the right song for that spot in the service, to help that young musician succeed in her first public worship service performance.

With apologies to Jim Croce, there apparently is enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them … If you’re looking in the right places, and if you’re working with the One who is in and through and beyond time.

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