Monday 7th June 2021
MONEY AND TIME
Pastor Soong Kok Kee
Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Frank Sinatra’s daughter Tina recalls her father’s unceasing drive to succeed and make money, even when his health was at risk: His health was in tatters and his life mired in financial wrangles, but my father refused to stop giving concerts. “I’ve just got to earn more money,” he said.
His performances, sad to say, were becoming more and more uneven. Uncertain of his memory, he became dependent on teleprompters. When I saw him at Desert Inn in Las Vegas, he struggled through the show and felt so sick at the end that he needed oxygen from a tank that he kept on hand. At another show he forgot the lyrics to “Second Time Around,” a ballad he had sung a thousand times. His adoring audience finished it for him.
I couldn’t bear to see Dad struggle. He wanted to retire at the top of his game, and I always thought he would know when his time came. Pushing 80 he lost track of when to quit. After seeing one too many of these fiascos, I told him, “Pop, you can stop now; you don’t have to stay on the road.” With a stricken expression he said, “No, I’ve got to earn more money. I have to make sure everyone is taken care of.”
Since his death there have been constant family wrangles over his fortune. Do you think it was worth it?
Chuck Colson recalls his prison ministry: Most of the death-row inmates were in their bunks wrapped in blankets, staring blankly at little black-and-white TV screens, killing time.
But in one cell a man was sitting on his bunk, reading. As I approached, he looked up and showed me his book – an instruction manual on Episcopal liturgy. John Irving, on death row for more than 15 years, was studying for the priesthood. John told me he was allowed out of his cell one hour each day. The rest of the time, he studies.
Seeing that John had nothing in his cell but a few books, I thought, God blessed me so much, the least I can do is provide something for this brother. Would you like a TV if I could arrange it? I asked. John smiled gratefully. “Thanks,” he said, “but no thanks. You can waste an awful lot of time with those things.”
For the 15 years since a judge placed a number on his days, John had determined not to waste the one commodity he had to give to the Lord – his time.
In contrast, our Lord never seemed perplexed by money and time. When asked if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus answered: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Mark 12: 17). With great demands on His time, Jesus spent early mornings and late nights in prayer, seeking to know and do His Father’s will.
What about us brothers and sisters? We all need money of course, so let us ask God for wisdom to strike a balance between the two – Money and Time.
Hymn writer Frances Havergal wrote:
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for reminding us to make the best use of our time and our money that you have so graciously given to us. And on that Great Day when You come back in Your Father’s glory with His angels, You will reward each of us for what we have done with all the things you have entrusted to us. (Matt 16: 27). In Jesus precious Name we pray AMEN.
弗兰克·辛纳特拉(Frank Sinatra)的女儿蒂娜(Tina)回忆起她父亲，即使在他的健康已出现危机仍对成功和赚钱的不懈追求：他的健康每况愈下，他的生活陷入财务困境，但我父亲拒绝停止举办演唱会。“我必须挣更多的钱。” 他说。
遗憾的是，他的表演越来越不稳定。由于他对自己的记忆力没有把握，他开始依赖提词器。当我在拉斯维加斯的沙漠旅馆见到他时，他熬过了整场表演后，感觉很不舒服，以至需要从身边的氧气罐中获取氧气。在另一场演出中，他忘记了他唱过上千遍的民谣 “第二次” 的歌词；崇拜他的观众为他完成了它。
但在一个牢房里，一名男子坐在床铺上看书。当我走近时，他抬起头，让我看看他的书 – 一本关于圣公会礼拜仪式的指导手册。约翰·欧文(John Irving)在死囚牢房已超过15年，当时他正在为成为神职人员而学习。约翰告诉我，他每天被允许走出牢房一小时。其余的时间，他都在学习。
看到约翰的牢房里只有几本书，我想，上帝如此祝福我，至少我能做的就是为这个兄弟提供一些东西。如果我可以安排的话，您想要一台电视吗？我问。约翰感激地笑了笑。“谢谢，” 他说: “但不用了。人会在这些东西上浪费很多时间。”
15年来，自从法官给他的日子定了一个数字，约翰就下定决心不浪费自己必须献给上帝的唯一宝贵的物品 – 他的时间。
赞美诗作者弗朗西斯·哈弗加尔(Frances Ridley Havergal)写道：