You Have Seven Minutes… Maybe

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You have seven minutes . . . maybe. Trust God with the time you have and let Him redeem it.

As a Biblical Studies teacher of high school students, a coach, and a father of four, I am deeply concerned with the stewardship of the souls placed in my care. Often, time itself feels like my biggest opponent. Time is precious and finite. There never seems to be enough, and you cannot get it back once you have used it. How we spend the fleeting time we have with our kids matters, and I often fear I am failing.

There have been many studies attempting to determine how much actual relational time we get with our kids on a daily basis. The results vary, but the reality is, it isn’t much. One particular study estimates we have no more than seven minutes a day for impactful conversations with our kids. I’m inclined to believe this.

Far too often, the demands of life, limited time, and our own sinful nature prevent our interactions with our kids from ever progressing beyond conversations that lack any relational depth or significance. If you factor in the actual need for relaying functional information, the competing demands of friends, teachers, and digital information, we really might not even have seven minutes a day. 

It feels like everything is stacked against us in our efforts to meaningfully engage our students and children. In truth, some kids may go days, or even weeks, without a loving, non-transactional interaction with an adult. Some adults may live in this vacuum of relationship too. 

Even writing this article, I have a tightening in my chest thinking about how I can possibly pour love into my wife, my children, and my students with so little time, and so many demands. Honestly, I have questions about my adequacy in these areas before the issue of limited time is even considered. How can I love and shepherd my kids the way I am supposed to when I make so many mistakes and come up short in so many areas? How do I even get to the finish line of the day and meet all of the basic demands each day requires, let alone do it well and with a Christ-centered focus? How do I know what is most important to say when there are so many needs to be met and addressed? 

The answer for ourselves, our kids, and our future is the Gospel. To truly know, trust, and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ is our only hope, and our sure hope of being who we were made to be in Christ, and for our children. It’s the only way to redeem the time.

Ourselves

First and foremost, we need to know the sweetness, the surety, and the sufficiency of the Gospel ourselves. Before we can love and shape others, we need to understand how loved we are in Christ. We need to understand that it is Him we rely on, and not our own abilities. The God who has commanded us to shepherd those in our care is also our Good Shepherd who has rescued us and will never leave us or forsake us. The God who has called us to our work is the God who has equipped us for every good work. The God who has commanded us to make disciples is the God who makes stone hearts into hearts of flesh. He is the God who has declared He will be with us to the end of the age and told us to take heart because the world is full of tribulation, but He has overcome the world. 

It is not in our strength that we do anything. God is miraculous and powerful. What we face in this broken world is completely overwhelming and impossible to overcome without the grace of God that He has richly displayed to us in His Word and through the free gift of redemption in Christ. 

When we see Christ for who He has declared Himself to be, we can truly know we are forgiven, redeemed, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and united to Christ by His power into eternity, never to be forsaken. 

That. Changes. Everything. 

Life becomes an act of rejoicing in who He is, who He has made us to be, and what He is doing with us in His power. Every fear and inadequacy melts away into His promises secured by His blood. 

Our kids

We need to know that God loves our kids with the same love He has for us. God loves our kids more than we do. The children in our care are God’s before and after they are ours. We are privileged to be God’s instruments to model and teach the truth of the Gospel, to make disciples. We genuinely love our kids, but we are not God. We are not sovereign. We do not know or care more than God does. 

We can trust our kids with God. We are called to rejoice in the Gospel of salvation alongside our kids. We are not the ultimate good in our kids’ lives, and we should not act as if we are. Our primary contribution to our kids’ lives is to reflect the love of God. None of us will regret one second we spend with a child if we are doing that. There are no wasted moments if we are proclaiming and demonstrating the love of Christ.

Our future

What about all the times we haven’t done this? God is gracious. God is forgiving. God is good. God is rich in mercy and his storehouses are never empty. Pray. Let the Scriptures dwell richly in you. Ask God for forgiveness in your failures. Ask your children for forgiveness in your failures, and accept the forgiveness of Christ. Trust in the goodness and power of God to redeem and restore. These are prayers taken directly from the Word of God. These are gifts that God delights to give all His children, us included! 

If you are like me, you can spend your entire dinner telling your kids to chew with their mouths closed. Lift your head up from the daily grind and take a minute to tell them how much you love them, and why you love them, and how much God loves them through Christ. You can tell them that they do need to chew with their mouths closed, but tell them, and treat them, like that’s not the most important thing you want to tell them. Tell them how you love them no matter what, because they are your kids. Tell them that through the adoption into God’s family by the sacrifice of Christ, God loves them infinitely more because they are His children, and He will never stop loving them in Christ. 

Do not fear time. Let God redeem time. God’s Word does not return void. We might only get seven minutes of quality time with the children we love, but Christ is sufficient and powerful. He uses ordinary parents who love Him to proclaim what He has declared in order to make His disciples and change His world. Trust God with the time you have and let Him redeem it.

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