The Gift of Time | from Diane

by Elouise

A Gift for You

This children’s sermon isn’t just for children. It’s for all of us from Diane, my Sister #3. She gave this children’s sermon in August 1990. In fall 1996, just six years later, Diane was diagnosed with ALS. She lived with ALS for ten years and died in 2006.

Without knowing it yet, Diane describes one of the biggest challenges of her life–the number of days she has left on this earth, brought into stark focus by ALS, a terminal disease.  

Here’s my blogtime version of her first children’s sermon.

What’s in the bag? (heavily edited)
Before I came over here this morning, I looked around my office, and picked up two of the most important things I keep in my office. They’re in this bag right here. What do you think I brought?

[Great guessing from the children (paper, Bible, pencils), but alas, they didn’t hit the target!]

…Let me show you. First I have my clock. Then I also have my calendar. It goes with my clock!

What do you think these two things measure?

  • Time!

That’s right!

[Diane then demonstrates how she uses her clock and her calendar. Her point: the importance of paying attention to the clock and her calendar when doing her job at the church. Much laughter from adults.]

Time is a funny thing, isn’t it?

  • You can’t see time like you can see a clock and a calendar, or reach out and touch it.
  • Even though you can’t see it move, sometimes time just flies right by—especially when you’re having fun!
  • Other times it seems to just stand still and go on forever—especially when you’re not having fun or there’s a grown-up talking on and on.

Time isn’t just funny. It’s strange. The strange thing is that we all have time. Sometimes we get to choose how we’re going to get to use it; sometimes we don’t!

How many of your parents ask you on a school morning, “Well, do you want to spend seven hours in school today?”  Do they ask you that?  Mine never did!  They don’t ask you about that time. You don’t get to choose.

But sometimes you do get to choose how you’re going to spend your time.  Each of us has some time that we can choose how to use.

Do you know what I’ve decided?
I have decided–listen to me carefully!–I have decided that time is probably one of the most precious gifts God has given me.

And not only that.  It’s probably one of the most important gifts that I can give to other people.  If I choose to spend time with somebody  to talk to them in a friendly way, or help them, or just be with them, that’s probably one of the most valuable gifts I can give them.

Time is valuable, and God has given us all some time.

When I was young I didn’t think about that too much.  But as I grow older, I realize time is very important. I want God to help me use it carefully in ways that will please God.  Helping somebody, working or playing together in a friendly way. That pleases God.

We can also choose to give God some of our time by learning about God and just talking to God. So let’s give God some of our time right now to do just that.

Let’s thank God for giving us time, and ask God to help us know how to use our time when we have a choice, in ways that make God happy.  Let’s pray together.

Thank you, God, for this very important gift You give each of us. I pray we’ll think about how we use our time when we have a choice. I pray that we’ll choose to use the time You give us in ways that make You happy. Thank you that these boys and girls are using their time to learn about You. I pray that as they get older they’ll still choose to use their time to learn about You and talk to You. These things I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 11 July 2015
Image from