Jesus encountered many people as he traveled the road to Jerusalem. Some received his teaching with great joy. Others were changed by his healing touch. Still others, though, turned away from both. No matter the outcome of the encounter, each person was changed in some way.
The story of the Rich Young Ruler is one case of a person who eagerly approached Jesus with flattery and inquiry but left him sad and deeply grieved. The reason? Jesus called him to sell all he had and give it to the poor. He couldn’t do that...because his riches were too valuable to him.
The obstacle that stood in his way of following Jesus was his inability to surrender that which, ironically, he never really possessed and won't be able to hold onto forever. (His money) But if time is money, as the saying goes, then might we also be called to see our time as something to be sacrificed?
When we become a follower of Jesus Christ, our time is given new priority. We volunteer. We give a helping hand. We become a listening ear. We take time to cook food for others at Project Echo. We give time to God in prayer (when we used to give it to the TV!).
This last month, we mourned the loss of a member of our church who gave much time to others. The late Les Myers lived sacrificially - serving both God and country. He was a veteran and a lifelong Methodist who was a founding member of Hughes United Methodist when it was first breaking ground. He gave of his time toward the “hands-on” with ministries of Olivet and Habitat for Humanity. How different so many peoples lives would be today if Les had responded like the Rich Young Ruler instead of living out his life so generously? Never underestimate the impact of giving of your time.
At his memorial service, several expressed their appreciation for Les’ generosity in life. One man summarized it by saying, “He left this world a better place than when he found it.” To give of our time and energy to help others is in fact to make the world a better place.
You and I have been given the gift of time. Therefore, with hearts that desire to love and serve God, may we do so by giving of ourselves to others through our prayers, presence, our gifts and our service – and may that be our witness!