“I’m very busy.” “No time.” “Hard pressed for time.” “My goodness, how time has slipped by!” These are sentiments commonly expressed. We are time bound. We often feel that there are insufficient hours in the day to do what we want to do. As we approach the end of this calendar year, I suggest that we pause, take stock and prayerfully review how we have used our time over this year. This will help prepare us for the new year.
Time is God’s gift to us. We all have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In fact, time is the great equalizer for all of us. We may use this gift purposefully, or we may squander it away thoughtlessly.
Time is indeed a very unique commodity. We cannot retrieve it, stretch it nor store it up. Neither can we stop time in its tracks! Each of us will need to spend our time wisely.
The earnest prayer
Moses, the man of God, presented this earnest prayer as he considered the brevity of life on earth: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12).
He asked God to teach, so that we would “gain a heart of wisdom.” He desired to live wisely. That would entail making good decisions, discerning the choices presented before us. There will be attractions and distractions along life’s pathway. And there are different responsibilities, challenges and opportunities as we journey through the different seasons of life. Moses therefore humbly asked the Lord to be the wise tutor. Like Moses, I would also like to offer this prayer.
The apostle Paul exhorted: “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16). Three key words in the original bring out the essence of this message. The first, translated “be very careful”, emphasizes the need to be continually alert, so that we will walk circumspectly. The next two words are found in this more literal translation, “redeeming the time” (KJV).
“Redeeming” conveys the idea of an astute businessman who diligently seeks out the best bargains in the market place — as one alert to opportunities that are presented. And the specific word for time was kairos — better translated as “opportunity” (not chronos which refers to clock time). Hence, the NIV appropriately rendered this phrase as “making the most of every opportunity …”
The disciple of Christ who desires to be a faithful steward would purposefully set aside time in a regular week for matters that are important and needful. It will certainly include time for:
- Work — to fulfill our vocation,
- Rest and recreation — for physical, mental and spiritual refreshment,
- Family and friends, and people whom God places in our midst,
- Learning, growing, serving, and
- God, our Creator, the One from whom all blessings flow.
Sadly, our pursuit of work and leisure often result in us having no time for God —as reflected in having no time for worship (prayer, hearing Him through Scriptures, corporate worship) and no time to do His will.
This is not to suggest that we must laboriously track every single minute that ticks by. But it certainly means that we will consciously and purposefully devote our time to things that matter. We can ask the Lord to teach us to use our time wisely.
Time is God’s gracious gift to each of us. He expects us to be faithful stewards. Indeed, this gift has a lifespan. God will hold us accountable for how we have spent the years that He has entrusted to us.
I invite you to ponder over this statement as you prepare for the new year ahead:
“Time is a fragment of eternity given by God to mankind as a solemn stewardship, and one day God will call each one of us to give account of how we have used it.” (Brian Russell)
May we be faithful stewards of this precious gift.
By David Yap, Advisory Pastor (YCKC Bulletin 30&31 December 2017)