For it is by grace you have been saved...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reflections on Time

It’s the holiday season. The number one phrase I hear these days is “not enough time.” There’s not enough time to do all the Christmas shopping. There’s not enough time to get in all the holiday events. Even at church, we just don’t have time: the choir needs more time for practice, we need more time to schedule events, we need more time…

Thinking of writing for my blog this week, my first thought was, I just don’t have the time. I’ve got three services to study and plan for; taking the kids to a concert on Thursday; having a little “procedure” for a kidney stone on Friday; the kid’s orchestra concert on Saturday…. Just not enough time.

What a foolish thought. As if we could somehow manipulate the space-time continuum to meet our own selfish needs. Each and every one of us has the same number of minutes and hours in every day. Each week still has seven days. Each year has the same number of weeks. We’ve known all along that this season would come, that these events would need to be planned for, etc. It’s not a matter of enough time, it’s a matter of what we’ve done with the time God has given us up to this point.

And there is the point. Each moment is a gift from God. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second, every breath, every heartbeat; each one is a gift from the hand of a gracious God. And you’re not even promised one more of any of those.

James tells us that we should consider the fact that our life is merely “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we know that we have right now, this moment to decide what we will do with this gift God has given us. Our job is to consider how this moment, this breath, might be used for His honor and glory.

Paul writes in Ephesians 5 that we should "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Some translations say to “redeem the time.” John Gill writes of that verse:

“It denotes a careful and diligent use of it, an improvement of it to the best advantage; and shows that it is valuable and precious, and is not to be trifled with, and squandered away, and be lost, as it may be; for it can neither be recalled nor prolonged: and taking it for an opportunity of doing good to ourselves or others, it signifies that no opportunity of discharging our duty to God and man, of attending on the word and ordinances of the Gospel, and to the private and public exercises of religion, of gaining advantage to our own souls, or of gaining the souls of others, and of doing good either to the bodies or souls of men, should be neglected; but even all risks should be run, and means used to enjoy it.”

So it’s not that we don’t have enough time. God has given us exactly the amount of time He intends for each of us to have. You may have more days in this world than me, or vice versa, but while we’re here we each have the same number of minutes and hours to seek His glory each day.

Maybe, it’s not so much about how much time we have, but how we use it. I was once given some very sage advice, which I’m sure you’ve heard as well: We find time for those things that are important. So we just need to ask ourselves some questions.

Is the Christmas shopping really the most important thing in my life and the life of my family? Is attending every event that every group has scheduled for the holidays the priority? Even in the church, are we more concerned about putting things on the calendar just because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or are we making the wisest use of the time God has given us?

Hopefully, I used the last few minutes of your time wisely; and they were not wasted. I pray that during this “holiday rush” you remember that God has given you this moment, this breath to be used for His glory. Make the most of it. Redeem it for His honor. Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all for the glory of God.


Mike said...

Very well said my brother!

Gregg Metcalf said...

You are very right! We have all the time we need, all the time we will ever have, and all the time God intended for us to have.

The fault lies in the fact that we often fail to prioritize properly and buy back or redeem the time we have been given wisely.

You did not waste my time brother. This was a good read and reminder!

Praying for you!