“Time…How Much Do You Have?”
“If I could catch time in a bottle…” or so the song goes. Sometimes we are obsessed with time. Usually it’s in the “I never feel like I have enough” department. We don’t usually wish for time to go quicker but rather that it would slow down. As I turned 40 this month, the issue of time seems to have bore down on me different than when I turned 30. Now mind you, I’m not one of those people that despise having to grow older. I appreciate the added knowledge and wisdom that older age usually brings even though I do wish I could still do some of the things I did back in my teens or twenties - like a round-off, back-handspring, back tuck! My wife would probably like it if I didn’t continue to try many of the things I have enjoyed doing in the past. I just keep reminding her not to worry – the insurance premiums are all paid up…
But what about this issue of time? Actually, what I want you to consider is not how much time do you have, but how are you using the time God has given you? As we’ve established, none of us are getting any younger and time is slowly (or quickly) getting away from us in terms of our life right now on this earth. We all wish we had more time and maybe even some of us try to cajole God by saying to Him, “You know Lord, if you would just give me more time, think of all the great things I could do for you,” as if God needs any of us to do “great things” for Him! God doesn’t need any of us; He chooses to allow us the privilege of serving Him and accomplishing His good pleasure here on earth and on into eternity; He has created and saved us to do good works (Eph. 2:10) for the advancement of His kingdom.
Consider what God would have us understand about the amount of time we will spend in this first life: James says that our life is “a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” In Psalm 39:5 our days are described as “handbreadths,” our lifetime as “nothing” in God’s sight and that man “is a mere breath.” Ps. 144:44 also adds that man’s “days are like a passing shadow” while Job comments in 7:7, “Remember that my life is but breath…” Psalm 90:3-6 has Moses praying to God, “You turn man back into dust And say, “Return, O children of men.” 4For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night. 5You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. 6In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; Toward evening it fades and withers away.”
We are exhorted to make the most of our time as wise and Godly people (Eph. 5:15-16), we are to make the most of our time in order to share the gospel (Col. 4:5) and we should fear God in how we use our time for God will judge our works, the things that we fill our days with (1 Pet. 1:17). There is also the principle of faithfulness in our service to the Lord that can be applied to how we use our time. We find this kind of faithfulness in passages like 1 Cor. 10:31 “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” and Mat 24:45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?” Of course Christian faithfulness is about action and action requires our time. Most notably James 1:22 says, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”
Are you getting the picture here? Our lives on this earth will be quick and fleeting when compared to the eternality of God, therefore, as Christians, we should want to make the most of our time for the glory of God. Moses even entreats God a few verses later in Ps. 90:12, “So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” To be able to present to God a heart of wisdom means that we have to put God and his priorities first in our lives; whether it’s through your own devotional time in the Word and prayer or leading other members of your family in this way; or through serving in the church or exercising your spiritual gifts to edify others or fellowshipping with the saints, etc. Practically speaking, ask yourself, “Do I take the time to “do” the word? What are my days filled up with? What percentage of my time is spent on things that will have some kind of eternal value?”
Consider how many minutes are in a day: there are 1,440 minutes in a day. Now what if I told you that I wanted to give you $1 for every minute of the day, every day, for the rest of your life just “because?” Now mind you, you didn’t do anything to earn or deserve this money, it’s just a gift from me to you. But there’s just one little stipulation - everyday that I give you this money, you have to spend at least $20 on me. That’s $20 out of every $1,440. And you could spend it any way you wanted to; you could buy me something that I might want, give me a surprise gift or you could even pay me the 20 bucks back in cash - it doesn’t matter. What would you say to this offer? You’d take it in a second!
Yet God gives us 1,440 minutes a day, every day and what portion of that are we willing to spend on Him? What are we willing to give back to Him? Could we not give Him even 15 minutes out of that 1,440? What about 30 minutes…or an hour…or two? Think of all the ways you spend your time in a 24 hour period. Of course there’s things like sleeping (can you dream to the glory of God?!) and work (homemakers included) or school (you can certainly work, raise a family and go to school to the glory of God) but think of all of the other things you and your family might do. For instance the time students spend on extra-curricular activities like band, choir or school clubs or for parents, hobbies and special interests. What about relaxing time; hanging out with friends, hanging out at the mall, hanging out at Starbucks; students hanging out in their room or on the phone, or on the computer, playing games, listening to music, reading things with no spiritual value, taking a nap, sports, sports, and more sports with some of them having 2 practices and a game each week (which often includes the whole family), and do I have to even mention...T.V. and movies?
Yet do we have even 30 minutes a day for God? Can we not open our Bibles and feast upon all the delectable and delightful treats that He has graciously given us (Ps. 19:10)? Can’t we give time to Him in humble prayer (1 Thess. 5:17); to the God of the universe who has created and upholds all things by His powerful word (Heb. 1:3)? This God who has known us before time even began (Eph 1:4)? Who has loved us before we loved Him (1 Jn. 4:19)? Can we not bow before Him and give Him praise and thanksgiving for all He has done in our lives and all that He does for us each day (Ps. 69:30)? Can we not take a moment and confess our sins to Him, begging for His forgiveness (1 Jn. 1:9)? Can we not show our trust and dependence on Him by asking Him to meet our needs and the needs of others (Matt. 6:11, 7:7)? Can we not show Him our deep, deep love and gratitude by serving Him in the body of Christ (Jn. 13:14)?
After all, isn’t He the one that gives us the 1,440 minutes in the first place? Think about it, He creates us and loves us, saves us and wants what’s best for us and gives us time, but what do we give God? What do we do to say thank you to Him? What do we do that shows God we truly love Him? What do we do that shows our obedience to Him? Do we give Him anything back? Do we give Him our…time? Consider 2 Cor. 1:12 and how having godly wisdom through God’s grace might affect your decisions as to how you spend your time. It speaks of a life following after God, loving God and obeying God. Of course the Bible has much to say about fleshly “wisdom,” just look at Prov 28:26 “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than he who is crooked though he be rich.”This very day I ask you to consider how do you spend your time? Are you using it for the glory of God so that you can cultivate a heart of Godly wisdom or are you preparing a heart of unholy foolishness? If the answer to the previous questions is yes, you are cultivating a heart of Godly wisdom, then praise God! Keep it going and be blessed! If the answer is no, you don’t have a heart for His Word, you don’t have a heart for prayer, you don’t have a heart for service, you don’t have a heart for being with other believers, then you need to seriously examine your life and see what’s missing. That’s kind of a trick question because I am going to tell you what’s most likely missing: repentance or maybe repentance and a personal relationship with the One True Living God, namely, Jesus Christ. And it’s only through true repentance and faith in Him and His work on cross that you can even begin to live for Christ and make your time here on this earth count for all eternity; that you might one day present to Him a heart of wisdom and hear Him say to you “Well done good and faithful slave (Matt. 25:21, 23)."