To Whom Does Your Time Belong?
I ask the question again! “Is it yours?” Last month we discussed the need to be vigilant when handling something that does not belong to us; something which is not our property. We saw that our body is the Lord’s. This month we will discuss time. Time is not something material; yet it is something that needs to be managed and handled as such.
Many authors have written about the concept of time management. Theories have been explained about time and its value. According to Wikipedia, the value of time is the opportunity cost during the time that a traveller spends on his/her journey; the amount that a traveller would be willing to pay in order to save time, or the amount they would accept as compensation for lost time.
Time is very precious to all of us. It is priceless and is free to everyone; however, no one can buy it or sell it. One can destroy time as well as use it. It is true that the one who destroys time can definitely be destroyed by time; and one who uses time can definitely be blessed by time. One who loses time can never get it back again. Time may destroy our health if we do not eat our food in a timely manner or take our medicine at the right time. Time is like a flowing river which moves constantly forward but never backwards. There is a common saying that “Time and tide waits for none”. This proverb means that time never waits for anyone; one must go alongside with time. Nothing in this world can defeat it or win from it. Time is called the strongest thing in this world which can either damage or improve a person.
VALUE OF TIME
Time is the most valuable thing on earth. Although you may have food, clothing, homes and degrees, just remember that everything is acquired in time and all of man’s business is conducted by time. If you do not have time, it means you have nothing. Technology has been developing so that we can do more work in less time. By wasting time, we can lose everything, including our salvation. “It is wrong to waste our time, wrong to waste our thoughts. We lose every moment that we devote to self-seeking. If every moment were valued and rightly employed, we should have time for everything that we need to do for ourselves or for the world. In the expenditure of money, in the use of time, strength, opportunities, let every Christian look to God for guidance.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 208
We all need to learn to number our days and plead with the Lord to restore our lost days. Most people value their money more than time; however, as I stated, nothing is as valuable as time. Time can give us money, prosperity, and happiness; however, nothing in this world can give time. Time can only be used; it cannot be bought or sold. Many people live with little idea as to how to utilize their time properly. They enjoy spending their time only by eating, playing, or socializing with their friends. In this way they spend days and years. They never give a second thought to what they are doing, in the way they are living and using their time. They do not regret the way they are wasting their time. They have lost large amounts of their time which they can never get back. We should learn from the mistakes of others.
IS YOUR TIME YOURS?
The reality is that, “Our time belongs to God. Every moment is His, and we are under the most solemn obligation to improve it to His glory. Of no talent He has given will He require a more strict account than of our time.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 342. Why? In God’s sight, every second will be accounted for. He created time, so man has no right to misuse it. As our body is not ours, likewise the time given to us is the Lord’s. God will require a more strict account of our time than any other gift! King David knew that his time was not his. “My times are in Thy hand.” Psalm 31:15. Peter reminds us to “pass the time of your sojurning here in fear.” 1 Peter 1:17. Our time down here is not permanent. We are just pilgrims passing through from time to eternity. We will have to give an account of how we used our time.
NUMBERING OUR DAYS
We normally number our decades or years with our birthdays, but we do not usually number our days. But we need to number our days, in the light of God’s eternity, considering our mortality and in the light of God’s mercy (probation time). “The value of time is beyond computation. Christ regarded every moment as precious, and it is thus that we should regard it. Life is too short to be trifled away. We have but a few days of probation in which to
prepare for eternity. We have no time to waste, no time to devote to selfish pleasure, no time for the indulgence of sin. It is now that we are to form characters for the future, immortal life. It is now that we are to prepare for the searching judgment.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 342
We read in Psalm 90 (a prayer of Moses), “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalms 90:12 –King James Bible
In different versions of the Bible, this same prayer reads:
“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” –Holman Christian Standard Bible
“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” –New Living Translation
“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” –World English Bible
“Teach us to keep account of our days so we may develop inner wisdom.” –International Standard Version
“So teach us to consider our mortality, so that we might live wisely.” –Net Bible
“Teach us to number each of our days so that we may grow in wisdom.” –God’s Word Translation
“To number our days aright let us know, And we bring the heart to wisdom.” –Young’s Literal Translation
What version ministers to you? We cannot waste time while on our spiritual journey on this earth. Time is short. Life is made up of years, and years are made up of days. Days are made up of hours, and hours by minutes, and minutes are made up of seconds. The older we get the quicker the days and years seem to pass by.
When Pharaoh asked Jacob his age, this was his answer: “And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” Genesis 47:9. How would you answer this question if asked your age?
We all need to be taught by the Lord to number our days so that we can live wisely during our short lifespan here on this earth; so we can learn what is important in life and what is not. The knowledge which comes from the Lord will enable us to use wisely the rest of the time we have. If we learn to number our days, paying full attention to each moment, we will be wise and truly learn to know the deepest meaning and purpose of life. Methuselah lived for 969 years, but Moses said in his prayer, “For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” Psalm 90:4. David said, “Behold, Thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before Thee.” Psalm 39:5. We never know what tomorrow may bring. Let us redeem our time today.
REDEEMING THE TIME
No one can escape the passing of time. We are all subject to aging and mortality. Time is a talent that we all have. The Lord has given it to every one of us. No one has more than anyone else. The question is, “Can the time be redeemed?”
Once precious time goes, it goes forever and never comes back. Each moment is of value, and once lost, can never be recovered. All the minutes, days, weeks, and years during which you did not serve the Lord are considered lost.
“We are admonished to redeem the time. But time squandered can never be recovered. We cannot call back even one moment. The only way in which we can redeem our time is by making the most of that which remains, by being co-workers with God in His great plan of redemption. . . .
“Life is too solemn to be absorbed in temporal and earthly matters, in a treadmill of care and anxiety for the things that are but an atom in comparison with the things of eternal interest. . . . The Bible gives no indorsement to idleness.” –Christ’s Object Lessons p. 342–343
Although smaller duties are important, we should not allow them to hinder the accomplishment of greater duties. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33. Our time should be allocated accordingly.
Do not presume on tomorrow for you do not know what tomorrow will bring you. “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.” James 4:13–16
“The most signal victories and the most fearful defeats have been on the turn of minutes. God requires promptness of action. Delays, doubtings, hesitation, and indecision frequently give the enemy every advantage. . . . The timing of things may tell much in favor of truth. Victories are frequently lost through delays. There will be crises in this cause. Prompt and decisive action at the right time will gain glorious triumphs, while delay and neglect will result in great failures and positive dishonor to God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 497
Since time belongs to God, we are just stewards and must acknowledge that it is His. As stewards, we are accountable to God for what we do with our time. “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2
FAITHFUL STEWARDSHIP OF TIME
God is very particular with His time. Jesus came to this world “when the fulness of the time was come.” Galatians 4:4. During His ministry He could say: “I must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” John 9:4
Timing is very important in heaven. The Lord’s clock is exact. The Hebrews stayed in Egypt 215 years. They were in the wilderness for 40 years and in captivity in Babylon for 70 years, exactly as prophesied. The Christian church was persecuted over a period of 1260 years. The 2,300 days (years) ended in 1844 and then began the time of the end.
“Every moment is freighted with eternal consequences. We are to stand as minute men, ready for service at a moment’s notice. The opportunity that is now ours to speak to some needy soul the word of life may never offer again. God may say to that one, ‘This night thy soul shall be required of thee,’ and through our neglect he may not be ready. (Luke 12:20.) In the great judgment day, how shall we render our account to God?” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 343
“The youth who are not barricaded with principle do not regard time as a precious treasure, a trust from God, for which every human being must give an account.
“Children should be educated to make the very best use of their time, to be helpful to father and mother, to be self-reliant. They should not be allowed to consider themselves above doing any kind of labor that is necessary.” –Child Guidance, p. 123
“The improvement of wasted moments is a treasure.” –Ibid, p. 123. “Only let the moments be treasured. A few moments here and a few there, that might be frittered away in aimless talk; the morning hours so often wasted in bed; the time spent in traveling on trams or railway cars, or waiting at the station; the moments of waiting for meals, waiting for those who are tardy in keeping an appointment—if a book were kept at hand, and these fragments of time were improved in study, reading, or careful thought, what might not be accomplished.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 343
“By many children and youth, time is wasted that might be spent in carrying home burdens.” –Ibid, p. 345
In the time of Noah, the flood did not immediately follow the giving of the message to Noah. The Lord first announced the end of civilization, then mercifully granted one hundred and twenty years of grace. Noah’s preaching and faithful example urged people to change their lives and prepare to meet the Lord, but they wasted the time. We also have been given ample time to prepare for the Lord’s coming, but grace will not last forever. How are we using our time? How are we helping others to prepare to meet Jesus?
In conclusion, time is the most valuable thing on this earth; nothing can compare with it. Once it is gone, it never comes back. It always runs forwards, not backwards. Everything in this world depends on time, nothing happens before its time. If we have no time, we have nothing. Loss of time is considered the worst thing on this earth because wasting time wastes us and our future. We can never acquire lost time again. If we have lost our time, we have lost everything. We should be very punctual according to the time and do our all work in a timely manner.
The signs of the times tell us that the end of time is very near. The signs Jesus foretold are coming to pass, such as violence, wars, revolutions, and other crises that are shaking the world. Diseases, pestilences, famines, destructive earthquakes, and the growing lack of love are warnings telling us that time is nearly over. Therefore, “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” Amos 4:12. Let us consecrate ourselves anew unto God in humility, confessing our indifference and coldness, and be liberal in giving to the Lord our affections, our time, our talents, and our resources in the coming new year, 2018. This is a new chapter of time which Heaven grants us. Amen.