“Time is precious” is a phrase that we often hear. We all need time for working, sleeping, meals and other necessary activities. Popular terms like “managing time” and “buying time” reflect the great value of time. If we lose money, we can earn it back. But if we misspend our time, we lose it forever. Once lost, time can never be recalled. How true then is the saying that “time and tide waits for no man.”
Everyone is given an equal number of hours to use each day – 24 hours which is equivalent to 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds. But not everyone spends them well. Many view time as their own, to be spent as they desire. With this “carefree” attitude, they live for the present without regard for eternity or accountability. Sadly, their maxim in life is to “eat, drink and be merry”.
To the Christian, however, time is one of God’s precious gifts. What then should be our response to this gift of time from the Lord?
o Be thankful for each day
We ought to accept the gift of time with a thankful heart. Each new day is a gift from God’s gracious hand. When we awake each morning alive and well, we thank God for His tender mercies that have kept us through the night: “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lam 3: 22-23).
Let us not take this precious gift of time for granted. Always be mindful that our time belongs to Him. He determines the length of our years on earth. The psalmist lamented that we “spend our years as a tale that is told … for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Ps 90: 9-10). Let us therefore cherish each day and live it well to the glory of God and the blessing of others.
o Be a wise steward
As believers, we are called to be good stewards of all the resources that God has entrusted to us. This includes the gift of time: “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (I Cor 4: 2). This truth is reiterated by the apostle Peter: “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (I Pet 4: 10).
In ancient days, a steward was a trusted servant who was given responsibility over the household affairs while his master was away. He did not own any part of the household, but was merely an appointed manager. Thus as stewards, we realise that all that we have – our time, talents and possessions – do not belong to us. We are to use them wisely and faithfully, because we must one day account for them before God.
As stewards, we should guard carefully how we use our time. Do not waste it on vain or unprofitable pursuits that are of no eternal value. Richard Baxter aptly commented: “Place a high value upon your time, be more careful of not losing it than you would of losing your money. Do not let worthless recreations, idle talk, unprofitable company, or sleep rob you of your precious time. Be more careful to escape that person, action or course of life that would rob you of your time than you would be to escape thieves and robbers.”
o Walk circumspectly
We must treasure the time given to us by walking “circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Eph 5: 15). We ought to conduct ourselves diligently lest we fall into temptation and sin. We are not to indulge in fleshly pleasures and desires (Gal 5: 16), but to walk wisely and soberly – ever conscious that our short time on earth is wholly in God’s hands.
Let us also heed the exhortation by the apostle Paul – “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (v 16). The term “redeeming the time” has the idea of “buying back” time or “making the most of our opportunities”. We need to make the best use of our time by spending it on things that are profitable and honouring to God.
o Do God’s will
One way to redeem our time is to live according to God’s will and purpose for our lives: “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (v 17).
It is God’s will that we glorify Him in everything we do: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Cor 10: 31). It is His will that we grow in Christian character and be conformed to the image of His Son (I Thess 4: 3; II Thess 2: 13; I Pet 1: 16-17). Let us therefore direct our time and energies to the pursuit of holiness. Be faithful to fulfil our spiritual duties of prayer and the reading God’s Word. Set aside time for church meetings as well as for fellowship with the saints. Use these opportunities to strengthen our faith and relationship with our brethren.
Doing God’s will also includes serving the Lord. Time spent in serving Him is time well spent. How are we serving God? Do we use our time and talents for His service? One ministry that is often taken lightly by God’s people is the area of evangelism. Once a month, take time to join the evangelism team in giving out gospel tracts. It is a privilege to witness for our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us obey the Great Commission and be a part of the evangelism ministry.
Beloved brethren, let us treasure our gift of time from the Lord. Let us also remember that we are accountable to Him for its use. May we therefore spend our time wisely for God’s glory and service. Use every opportunity to pursue after holiness and to do the Lord’s will.
In the use of our time, let us follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ Who devoted His earthly life to doing the Father’s will: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (Jn 9: 4). Like our Saviour, let us earnestly seek to do the Father’s will and serve Him while there is yet time.