"I'm so busy, how am I supposed to have time to do what God wants me to do?"
"How much time is enough to devote to God?"
"I know it's important to make time to pray and read the Bible, but I just don't seem to get it right! How do I 'make' time?"
How many times have you asked yourself these questions or had these thoughts? Time seems to be one of those commodities we just never seem to have enough of - kinda like money. And yet the God we worship has been known to multiply what we don't have enough of... So under what circumstances does He do that, and how can I get Him to do it for me? 'Cause I certainly need more time, and more money wouldn't hurt either!
Honestly, I want to steward my time and my resources wisely, and to get to the end of my life feeling that it counted, you know? I want to feel that my life had some bit of influence beyond just my immediate results. Let's put it this way: it would be nice if my life was like a seed, and if what grew from it was bigger than just me.
Most of us know that we should give God (or the church?) at least some of our money, and that we should devote some of our time to doing good works, or maybe praying or something spiritual. Is that a key to living 'a blessed life'? Because we read in the Bible that sometimes God is super chuffed with that stuff and blesses people's lives magnificently (and disproportionately), and other times it really doesn't blow His hair back. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
The thing is, God can only bless what is in His hands. We need to bring to God what we want Him to bless and multiply. Take the true story about Jesus feeding thousands of people on the contents of one boy's lunchbox: All the food was brought to Jesus and so He was able to bless all of it. But he didn't keep it. The miracle didn't happen in the hands of the Master. He gave the food back to the disciples with instructions on how to distribute it, and as they gave it away, it was multiplied. God is not interested in you giving Him gifts. He is interested in you giving Him your heart, and your trust. And when you take your precious money, or when you take your valuable time, and you give Him a part of it, that really doesn't flatter Him. But when you bring all of it to Him, you teach your heart that He is the most important thing to you, and you show that you trust Him to provide for you.
Recently I was asking God to help me to steward my time and to be fruitful with my life, and as I was asking it I was trying to work out where I could carve out an hour to write something inspirational or a half hour to have coffee with someone who needed my help. As I knelt there, trying to scrounge around for a meagre offering of time to give to God, I felt Him gently ask me if I was just going to give my extra time, or if I would consider giving Him all my time.
"I can only multiply what is in My hands," I felt Him say. And instantly I knew that I wanted Him to make all my time fruitful. I wanted to bring every minute of raising kids and loving my husband and phoning my mom and making meals for my friends and studying His Word and I wanted Him to have it all and bless it all and then to give me instructions on how to distribute those minutes for maximum multiplication.
Giving God our 'first fruits' means coming to Him with everything we have. It means offering Him our full bank accounts and our empty diaries. We bring our offering to the Master, He blesses it, and then as we give it, it grows.