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Friday, October 6, 2023

Learning to Express Love With Our Time

In 1 John 3:18 it says, “We must show love through actions that are sincere, not through empty words.” (GW)

We all have different amounts of energy, wealth, and talent, but we all have the exact same amount of time: 168 hours a week. We can always get more money, but we can’t get more time. We only have a certain number of allotted days, so we need to decide: What is our time worth?

What I’m learning is that the most valuable thing I can give someone is my attention. When I give attention to somebody, I’m saying, “You matter to me. You are valuable. You are worth listening to. You are worth my time.” 

Jesus said that the essence of relationships is not what we do for each other or the things we give to each other. The essence of true, loving relationships is how much we give of ourselves to another person.  The best expression of that love is time.

The Bible says in 1 John 3:18, “We must show love through actions that are sincere, not through empty words” (GW).

There are many men who say “I don’t get it. I give my family everything they need. I’m a good provider. We live a very comfortable life. What more do they want?”

What they want: They want you!

Only I/We can give them our time. Nothing can compensate for time—no amount of gifts, money, or clothes. Kids don’t need things; they need parents. Another video game is not the answer. They need us!

How do we find more time for the people who love us and that we need to love? One suggestion: Turn off the TV, and put away your cell phone. It’s amazing that people will scroll through social media instead of making friends in person. They’ll watch reality shows about somebody else’s family instead of working on the reality of their own family.

Ephesians 5:2 reminds us, “Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God” (NLT).

Love means giving up my/our agenda for their agenda. It means we give up our time for their time. It means we give up our preferences for their preference. It means we give up what we’d rather do right now to do what they’d rather do right now.

That is a sacrifice. That is love.

This verse gives us an example of how to "give up our lives" for others--to help those in need. This is strikingly similar to what James teaches us; “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17 NIV).


How clearly do my actions say I really love others?  Am I as generous as I should be with my money, possessions, and time?

I’m challenged this week to pay focused attention on those that I interact with. Giving of my time and focus uses my time, but it’s one of the best ways to invest it.  With my Financial Coaching practice I get to do this in consultations. I can serve those who need more focused attention and hope. This means giving up slack time or TV/movies.