In this modern age we have so many conveniences that save us time. The list is so long that I will not even start it. Think about it, and you will have a very long list of your own. The question I have is: What are we doing with the extra time “saved”?
It is amazing how quickly the minutes not used to the honor and glory of God can add up to significant time lost. If you wasted just 10 minutes a day, in a month you will have wasted 5 hours, in a year 60 hours! The startling fact is, most of us waste far more than 10 minutes in a day. (By “waste” I refer to time not used in a constructive manner and “to the glory of God”—1 Cor. 10:31.)
None of us knows how much time we will be given to finish the work of perfecting our characters. We have covenanted to serve God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30); to give Him our very best. Have we been doing that? Or do we feel justified in taking time now and then to please ourselves, to read a magazine that contains nothing edifying, or to watch TV for an hour or two, or even to spend 30 minutes with a neighbor catching up on local gossip?
When we made our covenant with God, we pledged to put Him first in our lives, to purge from our minds whatever God calls evil, and become pure of heart. In exchange He would give us life eternal, with riches and honor, joy and peace beyond anything we can even imagine. How can we reach that goal if we fritter away the time God has extended to us?
Our daily use of time is determining whether we will reach our goals. Are we developing habits that will help? Good habits practiced regularly will get easier the more we practice them. Conversely, if we practice bad habits, they may become so strong that we cannot break them before we run out of the time God has allotted us. We do not want to do anything that is not helping us gain the life we aspire to.
One thing to help us use our time wisely is to have a plan. Health and fitness experts advise starting the day with a good breakfast. The same is true for a healthy spiritual life. Start the day with God. Pray with a humble heart, seek guidance and strength from His Word. Read it, meditate on it, memorize it to have it always ready when we are tempted. We must have a solemn consciousness of our responsibility to God. These moments of tender worship can help us realize that every day is a precious gift, that every moment is fragile. All too quickly life and opportunity slip away.
Before starting work it may be helpful to lay out our priorities for the day. What obligations are most important? What are secondary? What can wait? These may be both duties and spiritual priorities, depending on our obligations, because both can be done simultaneously. Every day is bound to have its challenges and interruptions. Having guidelines to follow can help us keep on track.
When we are employed, we must do each task to the best of our ability, “heartily as to the Lord, and not to men” as Paul said it (Col. 3:23). If we are working at home, and a task doesn’t take our full concentration, we may be able to occupy our mind while we work by singing spiritual songs, repeating Bible verses, or listening to something that will feed us with upbuilding thoughts.
One of the greatest sins against self is to have a good impulse and then fail to act on it. We will be judged by what we do, not by what we plan.
As we go through the day, do we check ourselves to see how are we doing? Even with good planning and high aspirations, we will have days that don’t turn out the way we had planned. That is alright, but do we keep a right attitude when our plans are changed?
At the end of the day, it is important to review our accomplishments or failures. Where did we do well? Where could we have done better? Seeing that we are making progress in our growth into holiness is encouraging and will spur us to greater effort and attention. When we have come short of our goals, we need to think about why we came short if we are going to do better tomorrow.
We cannot afford to let the days go carelessly by. It is time well spent to see where we are weak so we can be more careful in those situations next time. To be forewarned is to be forearmed and prepared to meet those challenges another time. Then it is time to get recharged by prayer before closing the day, getting ready for the day to come.
God has promised to give us the time we need. The apostle Paul says we have “promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1Tim. 4:8), but we are not given time to waste. We are at the very end of salvation’s day. Elijah could arrive any time, and soon after Elijah, our Savior, Judge and King will come. Our whole concern now is to be getting ready for that Day.
Now is our opportunity. Let it not slip away unused. We will not be sorry if we have put our time to good use and fought the good fight and won! I have heard that for every minute we give to serving God, we will get a thousand years of perfect life. Actually, it will be more than a thousand years for every minute, because time then will be countless, even eternal!
Let us each be striving to lay up a great treasure of well used minutes in heaven. PAF