Our Work/Life Collision
1 Nov 2003, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
Title: OUR WORK/LIFE COLLISION
Scripture Reading: Ephes 5: 15-18
Theme Redeeming the Time so as to be filled with the Spirit
You will remember our series of sermons on the Holy Spirit. "A Breeze of Heresy," re the personality of the Holy Spirit. Followed by the, "The Work and Mission of the Holy Spirit," with emphasis on believers. Then we dealt with, "The Holy Spirit's Mission for Unbelievers." Then we dealt with, "Intoxicated By the Spirit." We dealt with Ephes 5:18 , being filled with the spirit in context of the entire book then in the last three chapters in particular. Our personal Pentecosts is being under the total control of the Holy Spirit in our minds. The fullness of the Holy Spirit brings the Presence of Christ, the Likeness of Christ and the Power of Christ into our everyday practice of Christianity.
THE QUESTION facing us all is the question, How can we achieve this quality of Spirit controlled Christianity? Especially when we are a part of modern culture. Modern Australian culture. We are commanded to "be filled".
How do you become totally under the control of the Holy Spirit in our culture.
THE TIME FACTOR
Pastor Paul under inspiration makes it very clear. It is by "redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephes 5:16 Take a hold of time because our culture tends to evil. I would like to suggest that you cannot "be filled with the Spirit", verse 18, without first "redeeming the time," verse 16. Especially in our culture as it is at present.
OUR VIEW OF CULTURE
To help us understand our culture and our asset "time" I wish to refer to research published by Professor Barbara Pocock, Director of the Centre for Labour Research at Adelaide University. She is a Fellow in social science and labour studies. She has experience in several industries and has advised a range of governments and political parties. Her published work was released to the bookstores in June 2003. I first noticed a review of her work in the Sun-Herald mid 2003. Her title, "The Work/Life Collision - What work is doing to Australians and what to do about it." Published by Federation Press Sydney.
I am indebted to Barbara for her meticulous research over many years, 1966-1988 and 1988 - 2002. I believe her published findings help us to "redeem the time." I will have to be brief, however, I will endeavour to do justice to the theme of her work.
Pocock sees a collision going on between out time, work and our home life. She measures the changes in our culture and identifies the consequences on home, family, and community. They are VERY significant changes.
THE PLAYERS are identified as Companies, Multinationals, Employees, Mums and Dads, Kids and Grandparents. Employers and travel time to work eat away at family time. Workforce demands have eroded our "time", family time, recreation time, volunteer time, Church and service Club time, and Intimacy time. Family intimacy has suffered and the national fertility rate has suffered. The collision between Life and work is very real. It affects us all. We are the culture.
SUGGESTED CAUSES are "foot loose capitalism", "material pursuit", Mother's retail stuff", "retail therapy", frantic "consumerism", which she claims is "unending and unsatisfying". Interviews with countless mothers found that above all , "kids want quality time."
RESULTS are that 60% of both parents work at full-time employment. Travel time to and from work has increased nine fold in the past 50 years. It has doubled between 1980 and 2002. Work hours have increased 3.1 hours per week. This is caused by press for higher profit margins. There is also greater demands for kids care. Stressful demands on grandparents. Volunteer organizations have suffered. Volunteer time given to local communities, civic and local governments, clubs and Churches, is lower in cities compared to country areas.
More television viewing and more internet/website browsing, ( up from 4% of homes connected in 1996 to 37% connected in 2000), and child minding - has affected the community culture. The volunteer rate in the country areas averages 38% (most volunteer time is from employed people in all areas) Melbourne 26% and Sydney 15%! No wonder we as a Church being part of Sydney's culture give little time to gospel outreach. Our suburban streets are deserted from 7am to 7pm and many are out from 6am to 9 or 10 pm daily. Our community has moved from the home and street to the workplace. The fallout has produced our generation and a culture which is us. The biggest issue is our time and the collision with work.
Pocock has coined terms which describe our culture. We are in a "time bind"; "time hungry"; have a "time debt"; work has "stolen time"; we are in a "time squeeze"; have "time poverty"; extreme "time pressure"; and continually experience "time theft" caused by career and work. We have "too many priorities", which "jostle for our time".
We notice that our culture has changed and is still changing dramatically over the past 50 years and the past 20 years in particular. On the one hand we have Changing behaviour such as work intensification, longer hours and longer travel hours; more homes with two full-time income earners; more child care needs; increasing materialistic marketisation and consumerism; more women in the labour market seeking dollars, careers and social contact at work; thinning community in the suburbs and deteriorating access to leave. These on the other hand are in collision with Unchanging values and institutions. There is the ideal worker who is care-less (relatively stress free) ; gendered distribution of domestic work and care - traditionally women; the cultural constructions of motherhood and fatherhood. The "fallout" of this cultural collision has produced a decline in the quality of life for individuals, women, men, households, children and grandparents; A loss of community. A shift of community from street to workplace; rising levels of guilt especially for mothers and carers; erosion of intimacy ( meaning not only sexual but wider issues of family time with each other); pressure on carers still at home breeds resentment; and the marketisation of care and love as market goods and services which tend to replace relationships, care and time. I have relied heavily on and am indebted to Pocock, for this brief survey of our culture and time.
That is our Australian city culture. We are part of it. It influences the Church as we are the culture. We are casualties in the collision. Our spiritual and social care of ourselves, each other, our homes, our families and our communities suffer.
So to return to the initial question, How do we, "be filled with the Spirit? "How do we, "Redeem the time?"
OUR HUGE THINK
One time hungry mother told Pocock she had to, "do a huge think". Pocock suggests that we all need to study ways in our homes to give time, "time sovereignty " and to make priorities to, "legitimize time".
That brings me back to our Scripture. That is what Paul is saying in Ephes 5:16 when he says, "redeem the time." There are four main verbs for "redeem" in the New Testament. Here the word in Greek is, "exagorazo". It literally means to buy out or purchase a slave and set him free. Here in verse 16 it is in the Greek Middle Voice of grammar. It literally means I will buy back for myself time which has been enslaved and set it free!!!! Wow!! Time here in the verse means time in season. Time of life which comes and is soon gone. It literally means buying up the opportunity while it is available. "Making the most of every opportunity turning each to best advantage since none can be recalled if missed"
Ephes 5: 16 and 18 is really saying that the only way the home family and the church family can be filled with the Holy Spirit is to personally redeem or buy back enslaved time and release it for spiritual growth and mission to others.
How? It will take a, "huge think" by each of us. It will mean disregarding many of our "too many priorities that 'jostle for our time'". There is one major priority we all need to make happen and that is to be continually controlled and filled by and with the Holy Spirit. Then and then only will our enslaved time free up. Be certain it is and will always be a battle .
THE BATTLE AND THE ARMOUR The devil is after your time. He wishes to enslave our time.
Pastor Paul goes on in Chapter 6:10-18 to explain the battle and the armour with which to protect and redeem time and be filled with the Spirit. Verse 10-11 says, one must be strong in the Lord with power and His might, not our own. The battle is with the devil and the powers and rulers of darkness of this world and against spiritual wicknedness, verse 12.
RESOURCES We must take the total armour of God, and we will be successful, verse 13. Paul uses as his example the armour and battle dress of the Roman soldier, verses 14-17.
The Skirt and Belt of truth , practical truth, principles and lifestyle. Protects the Thighs
The Breastplate of righteousness , right doing. Protecting the heart and vital organs which symbolize our affection and love for Christ our God. Protects the Breast.
The Boots represent the witness and mission of sharing the Gospel Protecting the FEET
The Shield Faith in action , believing in God with all your heart, mind and soul. This is double protection of the Heart and vital organs.
The Helmet Salvation is assured when we make an intelligent decision to stay with God who protects our Minds and affections and our Theology.
The Sword of the Spirit is the power of the word of God. It is made practical by the arm and in turn protects the Arm and entire body.
Communicate with God through Spirit. Praying for self and all saints. Prayer exercises the tongue to express faith in God and requests for power to succeed at living the Christian life. Prayer protects the Tongue from uttering disbelief.
God's armour is a "fully covered" insurance policy. "Total cover" from all evil because we "redeem the time" and in the Spirits power fight the battle.
God's way is the best way to redeem your time. His way to battle with the collision of work/time/life is the only way to survive our present culture in Sydney.
Make time, take time to buy back enslaved time and set it free for the purpose of living His life in the Spirit.
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