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8002 U. S. Highway 301 South, Riverview, FL  33578  813-677-5995

Managing Our Time Wisely
An average person will spend about 
229,000 hours over the course of their
lifetime sleeping. That’s 25 years, or 
about 1/3 of an average life spent 
asleep. You spend about 37,000
hours, about 4 years, in your 
lifetime driving a car. About 4 months
of that is spent sitting in traffic. 
You spend about 9 years total of 
your life watching TV, and 2 of those
are spent watching commercials. The 
average employee spends 2 years of their lifetime sitting in work meetings. Over the course of their lives, we spend an entire year on deciding what to wear.

Nobody really plans to spend their time this way, right? Nobody starts out thinking, “Wow, I’d really like to spend 15% of my life watching TV” or “I think I’ll give one year of my life away to deciding what to wear, and four months sitting in traffic.” But how we spend our days adds up to how we spend our lives and it just kind of… happens.

I've been thinking a lot about time lately. Taking my teenage son to the Gator game last week, it occurred to me that just five years from now, l'll likely be visiting him at college for a game. And as we re-engage our busy calendars post-COVID, I'm finding it harder to fit in everything I used to do before. Time is precious, and complicated.

Ephesians 5:15-16 says, "Be very careful how you live, then, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil."  Another way to translate “making the most of every opportunity” is “redeeming the time.”

John Wesley once preached a sermon called Redeeming the Time. To be honest, it's one of Wesley's more bizarre sermons, focused on figuring out exactly how much sleep you need and not sleeping more than that. His point, though, is a helpful one. Wesley shows us that the use of our time is a spiritual issue.  "For we cannot waste…any part of our worldly substance without sinning against Him. It opens the way, and prepares the soul, for every other kind of intemperance. It breeds a universal softness and faintness of spirit, making us afraid of every little inconvenience, unwilling to deny ourselves any pleasure, or to take up or bear any cross."

Perhaps for some of us, redeeming the time means taking a look at 'time-wasters' such as our phones, social media, and even unproductive worry. On the other hand, for others, redeeming the time means creating margin in our lives for more intentional Sabbath rest. Maybe for others, redeeming the time means embracing the season of life we are in, rather than looking back to the past or ahead to the future.

The ways we experience time affect us not only as individuals, but as churches. Are we busy and over-scheduled? Are we using our time in ways that advance our mission as a church? Are we stuck in the past, or fearful about the future? How might God be calling us, as individuals and as churches, to redeem the time?

Peace, Rev. Emily Hotho,
Superintendent, Gulf Central District

#BeUMC
The United Methodist Church is founded on a Wesleyan theology of grace, anchored in Scripture, and based in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the continuing movement of the Holy Spirit. #BeUMC is the United Methodist Church’s current multi-media evangelistic campaign designed to share the stories of United Methodist individuals, organizations, and churches to the wider world.

  • First and foremost, we are dedicated to the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in the tradition of John Wesley.

  • All belong and will be loved in The UMC. All will be heard, respected, and engaged. All will be free to develop their personal relationship with God and to serve fully in the ministry of Jesus Christ.

  • With more than 12 million members across the globe, the United Methodist Church is a powerful connection, living and sharing the grace of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are committed to work for global health, education, creation care, child welfare, disaster recovery and countless other efforts.

  • As United Methodists, we embrace a Church where we experience our triune God in personal and community relationships, transforming our own lives, the lives around us, and the entire world.
Be Confident
He has reconciled [you] in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.  (Colossians 1:21-22) Have you ever returned home to discover that the family dog has gotten into the kitchen trash can or chewed up a cushion or soiled the living room carpet? When that happens, the beloved pet will often hide in a corner and not even meet our gaze. Even our pets (sometimes) know when they have “sinned”! They are full of shame and guilt. But when their owner “has a talk” and welcomes them back with a loving embrace, their confidence is restored.

God has made it possible for us, His children, to “come boldly to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16) even after we have sinned. We can “draw near with confidence” in spite of our shame at having failed. Why? Because Christ, by His death on the cross, presents us “holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Colossians 1:22). When we sin, if we confess our sin, God is “faithful and just to forgive us” (1 John 1:9).

If you have sinned, don’t hide in the corner. Go with confidence to God and be forgiven, cleansed, and restored.  The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in the love of Christ. (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

Worth It All
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.  (Colossians 1:24)

Earlier this year, Pastor Kelom Kalyan Tete was seized in broad daylight by Hindu extremists and tied to an iron post at a busy intersection in Delhi. More than 150 people beat, taunted, and assaulted him. Schoolchildren kicked his legs, and the others punched him in his head, chest, stomach, and back. He was repeatedly slapped in the face. About noon, the binding on his hands came loose, and Pastor Tete managed to escape. He expected to die, but God preserved him for continued service.

Pastor Tete is neither the first nor the last to receive such treatment from the world, yet we know our sufferings are never in vain. Whether caused by persecution or by the adversities of life, our hardship is seen, heard, and used by the God of Calvary. All of our life, even our suffering, can be used by God in ways we cannot fathom. No one gets through life without hardships, but it will be worth it all when we see Jesus.  One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase. So bravely run the race till we see Christ.  (Esther Kerr Rusthoi)

Turning Point Ministry