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Living Unselfishly

“Making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

Time will tell whether you’re unselfish or selfish.

In 1842 Robert Murray M’Cheyne, pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Dundee, Scotland, wrote a pastoral letter to an individual who was an unbeliever. The following is an excerpt from his letter:

I was reading this morning (Luke ii. 29), what old Simeon said when he got the child Jesus into his arms: “Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” If you get a firm hold of the Lord Jesus, you will be able to say the same. . . . God is leading you to the very spot where the Redeemer is,—a lowly, despised, spit-upon, crucified Saviour. Can this be the Saviour of the world? Yes, dear soul; kneel down and call Him your Redeemer. He died for such as you and me.

M’Cheyne lived unselfishly, caring for the spiritual welfare of both believers and unbelievers. Because of poor health, he died at age twenty-nine after ministering but a short seven and a half years. His spiritual legacy of passionate love for the Lord and pastoral love for people continues to serve as an inspiring example for believers today.

M’Cheyne’s life illustrates what the apostle Paul was saying to the Ephesian believers: make the most of your time. In Ephesians 5:16 the Greek term translated “making the most of” means “buy up for yourself.” That doesn’t mean you’re to hoard your time for your own use; rather, you’re to buy up for yourself time that will give God glory. Every day brings new opportunities to be seized for God—opportunities for good, for righteousness, for holiness.

Like M’Cheyne, buy up opportunities daily for God’s glory and the good of others. Be committed to minister to the spiritual needs of believers and unbelievers. By doing so, you will make your time count for eternity.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you be unselfish and serve others effectively by His grace.

For Further Study

Read the following verses: Galatians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Philippians 2:3-4. How do they say you are to live?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,