Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney
What events produced the greatest stress in your life today? The clock and the dollar are such substantial factors in so many parts of life that we must consider their role in any serious discussion of godly living.
THE DISCIPLINED USE OF TIME
But at the heart of a disciplined spiritual life is the disciplined use of time.
Great thieves of time serve as minions of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. They may range in form from high-tech, socially acceptable preoccupations to simple, idle talk or ungoverned thoughts. But the natural course of our minds, our bodies, our world, and our days leads us toward evil, not toward Christlikeness.
Thoughts must be disciplined, otherwise, like water, they tend to flow downhill or stand stagnant.
Our bodies incline to ease, pleasure, gluttony, and sloth. Unless we practice self-control, our bodies will tend to serve evil more than God.
Finally, our days are days of active evil because so many temptations and evil forces are so extremely active in our days. The use of time is important because time is the stuff of which days are made.
Do you realize that whether you experience unending joy or eternal agony depends on what happens in moments of your life just like this one? What, then, is more precious than time?
Thousands entered eternity today, including many much younger than you, who just hours ago had no idea that today was their last day. Had they known that, their use of time would have become far more important to them.
You Are Accountable to God for Your Time - There’s hardly a more sobering statement in Scripture than Romans 14: 12: “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”
Time Is So Easily Lost - Except for the “fool,” no other character in the book of Proverbs draws the scorn of Scripture like the slothful “sluggard.”
if people threw away their money as thoughtlessly as some throw away their time, we would think them insane.
THE DISCIPLINED USE OF MONEY
So how we use money for ourselves, for others, and especially for the sake of God’s kingdom is from first to last a spiritual issue.
Because we invest most of our days working in exchange for money, in a very real sense our money represents us. Therefore, how we use it reveals who we are, for it manifests our priorities, our values, and our heart. To the degree we use our money and resources Christianly, we prove our growth in Christlikeness.
We are managers, or to use the biblical word, stewards of the things God gives us.
For most of us, the house we now call “my house” was called “my house” by someone else a few years ago. And a few years from now, someone else will call it “my house.” Do you own any land? A few years from now, someone else will call it “my land.” We just temporarily steward things that belong eternally to God. You probably believe that in theory already, but your giving will reflect how much you genuinely believe it.
So the question is not, “How much of my money should I give to God?” but rather, “How much of God’s money should I keep for now?”
giving isn’t sacrificial unless you sacrifice to give. Many professing Christians give only token amounts to the work of God’s kingdom. A much smaller number give well. Perhaps only a few actually give sacrificially. Polls consistently show that the more money Americans make, the less sacrificially we give.[
I’ve never known anyone who gave sacrificially — whether through a one-time sacrificial gift or consistent sacrificial offerings — who regretted it.
How you manage the financial “department” of your life is one of the best ways of evaluating your relationship with Christ and your spiritual trustworthiness. If you love Jesus and the work of His kingdom more than anyone or anything, your finances will reflect that.
God does not send you a bill.
God is not a celestial landlord tapping a greedy, outstretched palm, demanding His due, having no concern for how you feel about it.
R. G. LeTourneau of Peoria, Illinois, became a very wealthy Christian businessman and manufacturer of earth-moving equipment. As the Lord continued to prosper him, he increased the proportion of his giving until he devoted 90 percent of his annual income to the work of God’s kingdom. (read more of LeTourneau's awesome story: http://www.giantsforgod.com/rg-letourneau/