Money ≠ Time – insights from doing youth ministry with the upper middle class

Disclaimer: I don’t know all the ins and outs with youth ministry completely , and I don’t aim to use my 9 years of helping out in various ministries as a reason to be heard, but what I have learned over the years I feel it doesn’t do much good to keep to myself and so I’ll write what I know and leave it up to you to receive or reject.

***

When I first started helping out with youth ministry 9 years ago I didn’t know much except for the location and to some degree the socioeconomic climate of the church I was involved with. I started off working with junior highers who came primarily from family of means, if they wanted something they could probably receive it, but the way that they were able to receive such lavish came from parents who worked a lot. A. Lot.

So when I had time apart from our usual Sunday mornings and nights I got to invest time in some guys who were similar to me (in hindsight, I think I was right to do this, but I should have been more inclusive). Not all the guys I invested in came from intact families, the rift divorce causes sure is a painful one, and I “got it” as I got to know them on a deeper level and they got to know me.

With the rift of divorce in some of these guy’s lives, time spent with one and/or both parents was stretched even more so, and in these times some of the guys were given material goods…but I gathered that these guys would much rather have the time invested in them rather the time spent to afford them such material goods.

I find it sad and even tragic into the limiting view of Time = Money; certainly when it comes to jobs that pay financially we are able to afford most of what we need, but money shouldn’t be our drive so as to work long hours, because that can only last for so long and it becomes an unhealthy exercise wheel, a pattern that isn’t healthy. But it doesn’t stop there, working with intention to make as much money as possible has the risk of affecting others; our significant others, our children, our parents, et al.

***

I don’t think money is the root of all evil, but the way your time is spent, and even more to the point, “where your heart is treasure/wealth is, there your heart will be also” – Matthew 6:21. Matthew “got it”, that where we put our first (and sometimes all) our treasure, whether that’s in the time spent in the office working long hours with the premeditated intention to buy into the hype of “you need _________” or whether it is time invested in what truly matters… Yes, work is important, but one needs to weigh the consequences of working, and some of the things I think about in regards to work are as follows:

1) Am I making a difference?
2) Am I doing something that honors God?
3) Am I doing something that honors others?
4) Am I enjoying what I do?
5) Am I being a good steward of my time spent working?
6) Am I being a good steward of the money I from working?

These are questions that constantly buzz my mind when I am working, and to be honest, I am not there yet with all of them, the puzzle pieces are laid out and it’s time to put it together.

***

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, and not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” – Colossians 3:23-24 (I underlined for emphasis)

With that in mind, work as if you were working for God. Take time to talk to him about the tasks set before you and honor him with your wealth.

Time as you know is quickly ticking away, but I believe that time invested in what truly matters is definitely the way to approach things, to question what matters and seek out ways to pursue those things, but remember this; time invested trumps time spent.

In conclusion, the time you’ve been given is all you have, make the most of it and remember that while in someways time =’s money, that time cannot ever be bought back, therefore money ≠ time.

~Nathanael~

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