Time is a precious commodity that each of us has in equal proportion. We are all given 24 hours in the day, and 365 days in a year. We are admonished in Scripture to redeem the time wisely. This simply means I am to buy up the opportunities that come my way, and select with great wisdom and prudence how, and upon what, I will spend those precious hours in each day. There is an accumulative effect of the use of time. For example, in an average 70 year life span, the average person will sleep more than 23 years of his life away (assuming 8 hours of sleep per night). Over that same 70 year life span you will spend roughly 14 years working, 6 years eating, and 5 years traveling (fortunately, not all at once). By the same token, time wasted has an accumulative effect, and over the long haul will rob us of a great deal of what could otherwise be significant accomplishments. Think, for example, about the time we spend watching television. The average American (according to those infamous “polls”) watches TV 6 hours per day. Now that really seems a little high, so lets reduce that by 30%, and use a bench mark of 4 hours per day. That amounts to 28 hours per week, 1460 hours per year, for an accumulative total of more than 72,000 hours in 50 years. Whew! It staggers the imagination. That is more than 8 years of television!
Now, in comparison, let us consider the “average” time spent in spiritual matters! If we were to begin the day of our birth spending five minutes each morning and evening in prayer and meditation (which is more than most people spend), and three hours per week in church, at age 70 we would have invested a total of just over 20 months! Even if one was to spend an additional three hours per week in diligent study of the Bible at home, that would amount to a total of 3.6 years in spiritual involvement of some kind. Lest you begin to feel that you are robbing from God, let me encourage you with this observation: Our service to the Lord is not only measured by the hours we spend in worship and study. Our devotion to God is measured by how we live each and every day. We are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-14). How we conduct ourselves in business and pleasure is as much a part of a demonstration of our devotion to God as is our weekly worship to Him.
Unfortunately today’s generation has been raised on a steady diet of self indulgence, and along with that has been a proportionate increase in time spent in pleasure and reveling rather than productive labor and/or serious and sobering meditation. One author hit the nail on the head when he made this observation: ‘It is a sad consequence of evolutionary theory that many times people turn inward and only care about themselves…God prefers that we love Him first and put others ahead of ourselves, which means that there is always something positive to do for another. Whether it is sharing heartaches or rejoicing in good news, we always have ways of benefiting others” (Gary Summers, Spiritual Perspectives, 7-3-2011, page 3). How we spend our time benefiting others in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ is the difference between time well spent and time squandered on self.
Someone has said, “There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of each week.” What can be said of the year is just as true with regard to the week, and even our day by day activities. “We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4). I leave you with the words of an unknown poet:
When as a child, I laughed and wept, Time crept; When as a youth, I dreamed and talked, Time walked; When I became a full grown man,
Time ran; When older still I daily grew, Time flew; Soon I shall find in traveling on, Time gone!
by Tom Wacaster