Last night I worked on some budgeting with one of my girls. She and I sat together in front of a computer screen and an open spreadsheet–me typing, she telling me what to type as she looked on via FaceTime (gotta love technology!). It was time for her to get a handle on her income and expenses. Time to figure out required vs. discretionary spending. Time to understand what was left over at the end of a month as “disposable income.” And it’s got me thinking that what we’re wise to do, from time to time, with our money account, we’d be wise to do with our time account as well.
Only so much time gets deposited into the time account. Our monthly “income” of time is fixed. And there’s some non-negotiable “expenses” that we will have to pay out from our account. We need to sleep. The majority of us need to work. Then there are the withdrawals from the account that just come from doing life–eating, commuting, servicing family needs, and so on. But, I’m guessing for at least most of us, after we’ve accounted for our mandatory time expenses against our fixed income, we all end up with some amount of “disposable income.” We all have a certain amount of time that can be spent at our discretion.
Oh, what to do with whatever “windfall” we have left over?
Well, from my reading in Proverbs this morning, one investment opportunity jumped off the page. One suggestion (more of a command, actually) I’m chewing on as to where at least some of that disposable time can be tendered. Buy truth!
Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
(Proverbs 23:23 ESV)
So where do we buy truth from? On the night of His betrayal, Jesus interceded for His followers before His Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). So let’s start there. If we want to buy truth, if we want to be marked by truth, we are going to need to spend some of our time account on God’s word.
Make no mistake about it, truth needs to be bought and the currency for making such a purchase is our time, And, it’s more than just the time we spend being fed from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. I heard a preacher say years ago that sermons are but advertised truth and that, if you want to buy that truth for yourself, you need to spend time “examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so” (Acts 17:11).
Man shall not live on three point sermons alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
(Matthew 4:4 (sort of) PLT (Pete’s Loose Translation))
The preacher can lay it out there. The teacher can set the table. But you can’t really be picking up what’s being laid down without a bit of investment and effort. No way around it, buying truth is going to require using up some of that “disposable income.” It’s going to demand that we direct some of our discretionary time to the word of God. But the returns on such an investment are pretty much beyond counting. The payback is transformation through the renewing of the mind (Rom 12:2).
In fact, if we really believed that to be true, then the time needed to buy truth would no longer be viewed as an optional expense. What’s more, once we’ve experienced the “return on investment” of spending time to buy truth, we start budgeting for “the expense” under the “required” category along with sleeping, eating, and working.
Spend time on buying truth from the storehouse of God’s word. That’s Wisdom’s plea.
Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.
Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way.
My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.
(Proverbs 23:12, 19, 26 ESV)
Reviewing our financial budgeting is just a smart and prudent thing to do from time to time. So is a periodic consideration of how we’re spending and investing our time account. Oh that God’s people would allocate generously towards spending time in God’s word.
By God’s grace. For God’s glory.