Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered April 24, 2010 by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Your Time Margin

Psalm 90:10-12

(RealAudio available)

Suppose that your Bank automatically deposited $86,400 dollars into your account each and every day of your life. There is only one rule. It is yours to spend, but If you have not spent it all that day, your bank will not let it accumulate. Unspent money is removed at the end of each day. The maximum you will ever have is $86,400 dollars. You lose whatever amount you did not take out.

Let me ask: What would you do? Every day you will withdraw every single dollar. It’s your money! There is only one error in my little parable. We are NOT talking about money. The bank is called TIME. At the beginning of every day the bank deposits into your account 86,400 precious seconds. At midnight they all end. Your account has no overdraft protection. Anything that you have not used is unmercifully withdrawn from your account at midnight. The time is free. The bank is an equal housing lender. Every body gets the same identical amount. The clock is running. So, make wise use of each segment of time. You will never get it back once the day is over.

Each day even Jesus Himself only had 86,400 seconds to spend. He never seemed in a hurry and yet He had the most ambitious agenda of any person in history and only 3.5 years to accomplish it. Jesus’ career of approximately 1260 days was short. But He was a friend to time. I don’t know about you, but to me, time seems often to be my enemy. 

Benjamin Franklin once said: “Do not squander time for it is the stuff life is made of.” Jesus reveals that our seemingly endless days will not continue on forever. Look at John 6:44 "No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” At some point we will all come to the last day. The whole world will come to the last day. Then time will be no more.

Daniel 8 speaks about the time of the end. First Peter 1:5 mentions the end of time. This thing we know as ‘Time’ will end.  Then we enter eternity where “clock time” will be no more. No more clocks. No more hour glasses. The last hour will have gone past.

But today we do have time. How are we using our daily allotment? There has been a paradigm shift. In my day teenagers spent hours on the phone. Today, Teenagers seldom talk on the phone although most of them have cell phones. They text each other. One teen said when we go out at night, usually the music is so loud and we are going deaf anyway, so texting is literally the only way we can communicate. Thousands of teens send and receive between 10,000 and 20,000 texts per month. 

USA Today (Feb, 2010) said the average American family will spend nearly $2,000 this year on cable TV, internet, video games and cell phones. At that rate we spend as much on staying wired as we do on gasoline.  A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that U.S. kids ages 8-18 are consuming more media than ever. They are on the phone, computer, or other electronic devise or watching TV for a total of 7.5 hours a day. 52.5 hours a week. Time, 2- 1-2010 p.13. There goes 27,000 seconds of their 86,400 daily deposit. Then we subtract the school time including commuting and homework of 8 hours or 29,000 seconds. Then we subtract the sleep time of 27,000 seconds. What we have left is powerful little.  About 3000 seconds.

We are too busy for God and for each other.  People tell me “I don’t have time to study the
Bible.  I just don’t have time.”  Well, you’ve got 86,400 seconds every day.  You do have time.  You have time for God.  And if you don’t, there’s something wrong with you.

Today, America is experiencing the collapse of the family. Families do not have time to talk. Good relationships take time. Turn to Psalm 90:12. “Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” 

When you hold in your hand a bulletin or almost any piece of printed paper, you will see a margin or border around the perimeter. Nothing is written on the edge. Our life is like a newspaper. Every page is completely filled up, except for the margins. Our schedules are full, except for the fringes. There in the margins of time is where life’s extras can happen. There on the peripheries of your life is free space. Your personal margin is the zone between your load and your limit. Don’t overload yourself. We need time for the growth of our soul. Don’t fill up your life to the brim. 

We work, as Americans, 164 more hours per year than we did 20 years ago. I think in Collegedale where we live the pressure on our time margin is worse. Here, we pack life in too tight. One example, look at our roads here. There is no shoulder! You have a road with a deep ditch coming right up to the edge of the blacktop. There is no margin at all! No room for error. We live a marginless life.

We get up already over booked. Look at our kids. They rush to get off to school. The big clock on the outside of the building will not forgive tardiness. After school they go to music or gymnastics and a quick bite of supper and then off to Pathfinders or Adventurers or a program somewhere. Then there is homework and finally exhausted, they fall into bed. It’s a good thing we do not run a newspaper because if we ran a newspaper we would print right out to the very edge of the page. We are marginless.

Psalm 90:9 says that we live out our years like one long sigh gwt Margin is having time at the end of the day to grow our soul and reflect on God’s blessings. Margin is having money left at the end of the month. Margin is having breath left at the top of the stairs. Margin is having enough space between you and the car ahead. 

Don’t let people draw down on your time margin. People will try to pile things on you and fill your cup of life to the brim. In that overfilled state we spill over so easily. Every moment comes to you pregnant with a divine purpose.  Time is so precious that God deals it out only second by second. Once it leaves your hands your power to do with it as you please is over. It plunges into eternity, to remain forever what you made it.

A sea captain skippered a boat taking day-trippers to the Shetland Islands. On one trip, the boat was full of young people. They laughed at the old captain when they saw him say a prayer before sailing out, because the day was fine and the sea was calm. However they weren't long at sea when a storm suddenly blew up and the boat began to pitch violently. The terrified passengers came to the captain and asked him to join them in prayer. But he replied, "I say my prayers when it's calm. When it's rough I attend to my ship." 

If we don’t have time to seek God in quiet margins of our lives we are more likely to fail. But if we have learned to seek Him and trust Him in quiet moments, then most certainly we will find Him when the storms begin to blow. 

Occasionally I open my mail to find a letter from an offshoot. These critical nit pickers are wanting me to read their latest findings. There is something strange about most of these letters. They have tiny little margins around the border of each page.

Please expand your margins. We can all find time to do what we really want to do. He who neglects the present moment throws away a part of himself. The small surplus moment is the carrier of God’s most endearing gift. It must not be permitted to slip away unsavored and unappreciated.

When a man hurries and finally manages to get a task done early, He seldom knows what to do with the time he has gained— except to kill it. This being the case, it is no wonder time flies— WHY does time fly so quickly? Because there are so many people trying to kill it. Remember, time has no resurrection. So please don’t kill it. And by the way, since time flies, it's up to you to be the navigator. 

Speaking of God, look at Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past,” which is to say that there is no calendar and no timepiece in the divine experience, no aging, no getting away from the beginning, nor coming to the end.  You wake up in the morning with 24 hours of the raw unmanufactured tissue of life.  What are you going to do with it?  I want you to spend the first part of it with God.  It is yours. It is the most precious of your possessions. No one can take it from you unless you allow it. It is unstealable. Don’t squander it. 

Look at Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” For God to make you beautiful He must have time to work with you. It is like a Potter with His clay. Give the Potter time. Guard the edges of life. We know how to guard the edges of the Sabbath hours because they are precious to us. Please guard the edges of your own life. The precious life you save might be your own. 

Sister White says in Fundamentals of Education, “A waste of time is a waste of intellect.” Guard your time. Psalm 39:5 says “Each man's life is but a breath.” Adam and Eve had nearly 1000 years, and we’ve got not even a tenth of that.  Our life is so short.

I want to ask you a Question. Do you agree with this statement? “If you are 35, you only have 500 days to live”. Unfortunately this is true. When you subtract the time spent sleeping, working, tending to personal matters, hygiene, odd chores, medical matters, eating, commuting, and other time-stealers, in the next 40 years you will have roughly the equivalent of only 500 days left to spend as you wish.  Psalm 90:10 “The length of our days is 70 years-- or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” 

A group of 40-year old friends discussed where they should go for dinner. It was finally agreed that they would meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the waiters were handsome and the waitresses were pretty. Ten years later, they were all 50. They again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the food there was very good. 10 years flew by and, at age 60, the group discussed where they should meet for dinner. This time they agreed they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet and there was a beautiful view of the ocean. Time moved on and at age 70, the lunch bunch discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because it was wheelchair accessible and they had nice take-home boxes. Time moved on and at 90 years of age, after much discussion, it was agreed they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because they had never been there before!

Folks, life will soon be over. Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” 

Sometimes our own body gives us a larger time margin. We call it a heart attack. Then we have all kinds of time on our hands. But why should we wait until our body breaks down? When we live on overload our body is a ticking time bomb. Give your body ample downtime. Race cars all make pit stops. You can’t fix anything while you are racing through life at 200 MPH. Give your soul time to grow. 

I sat in my garden one day. It is an exceedingly quiet place. No wonder things grow so well there. Slow down and live. Set a daily appointment with God. Keep your appointment. 

In 1975 my mother opened the drawer of her mother’s dresser and lifted out a special package. She said, “Look at this beautiful blue exquisite gown; it is silk, trimmed with a dainty lace. It still has the tag attached. She never wore it. For years she saved it for a special occasion. Mother said “Well, I guess this is the occasion.” My Grandmother Carson was buried in her pretty unworn gown. 

Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion. I still remember how my grandmother looked in the coffin. I wonder how many other things my grandmother had not seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special. I resolved not to replicate her pattern. I take time to read and walk. I let a few weeds grow in the garden to widen the margin of discretionary time in my life. Use your crystal and china for every special event you can. Don’t save your good perfume for special parties. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. Our hours might be more limited than we know. 

Every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that the day is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God. Life is a precious gift from God, and He wants us to get the most out of it.

John 10:10. “Jesus came to give us life and to give it to us more abundantly.”  You need to make time for Jesus.  Make time to pray.  Make time to hug your wife.  Make time to study your Bible.  Make time to put Jesus first in your life.  You’ll never regret it.


Hymn of Praise: #246, Worthy, Worthy is the Lamb
Scripture: Psalm 90:10-12
Hymn of Response: #500, Take Time to Be Holy
Sermon Notes:  Sermon notes available as PDF



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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 5/9/10