“Your” Time Is Running Out!
The thing most taken for granted and the thing most impossible to replace is time. While everyone is “aware” that time is running out for all of us, we have skilled ourselves in the art of distraction, with the help of our adversary, the devil, that is. But lest we become one of those who blames Satan for everything as some catch-all scapegoat, let’s be introspective in this thing I’ll call “The Ministry of Time” shall we?
Perhaps the most forgotten verse of scripture in our day-to- day endeavors is that wealth of wisdom found in James: “…you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14)
Of course the book of Ecclesiastes can be said to belabor this point as well, but the fact remains that for most people (and even most Christians) it is almost second-nature to slip into presumptuous thinking about “our” time. I say “our” because you have nothing that you have not received (1 Corinthians 4:7). “Our” time is not ours and perhaps this is the first point to make.
Time is a talent; a God-given talent. It has been given as a stewardship to anyone breathing. We are no more proprietors of time than we are of any other gift, but mere stewards. Different from other stewardships, however, the stewardship of time is perhaps the most important, for without it nothing else can be endeavored in. It is time that paves the way for good to be enacted, and it is also time that paves the way for heinous evil to take place. When even the implied notion of “killing time” is entertained by us for a moment, we might as well spit in the face of God. When we “waste” or “kill” time we sin against the Almighty God of the universe. All time is His time. There is a sobering parable given by Jesus in Matthew 25. In the parable a man gives 3 of his servants a certain amount of talents; one receives 5, one receives 2 and one receives 1, and each according to his own ability. The first two went and redeemed their talents and made much of them, while the servant who only received one talent did nothing with it, but buried it. What was the master’s conclusion but to, “…cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:30). In addition to being called “unprofitable”, he is also called “wicked” and “lazy” by his master. Of particular note is the fact that he didn’t lose this talent or squander it so to speak, but he simply did nothing with it, while the others redeemed it. One needn’t do overt wickedness with their time in order to become wicked, but mere apathy will do. To be apathetic about God’s time is to effectively steal from God and to warrant the title of “wicked”, “lazy” and “unprofitable”.
The next “time” (we can never escape it) you are using your time frivolously, let me encourage you to think about these things. Frivolity comes in many and varied forms. It is most often and overtly in the form of mindless entertainment, which must be guarded against. Leonard Ravenhill often said, “Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy.” While this is not an edict against any leisure whatsoever, it is a warning against needless pleasure seeking when something more profitable might be endeavored in. As much as physical health ought to be desired and therefore some form of exercise, we are even cautioned against excesses here by Paul: “…exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8). While we must endeavor to abstain from gluttony and so-forth; being good stewards over our earthly vessels, I’m afraid that vanity waits deep in the heart of all men and women to be watered that it might grow into a burgeoning forest of destruction. Whether exercise or entertainment, whatever replaces or even diminishes our pursuit of godliness must be eradicated at once. One can be a good steward of their body without becoming vainly obsessed with it. The lust of the the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not from the Father but the world (1 John 2:16) and must be guarded against at all cost. Simply put, if you spend more time at the gym than you do reading God’s word, you should fear.
In tandem with this would fall the unhealthy use of the internet, including facebook and youtube. It is not lost on me that this very post will be shared on Facebook, but take note. These things can be tools used to forage for valuable information or they can be forms of enslavement. How many hours do you spend needlessly scrolling through posts about nothing? How much of it is really to do with being a busy-body rather than being a good steward of God’s time? Bear in mind that the psychology implemented even in the framework of these social media platforms is designed to keep you engaged with it as long as possible. Guard yourself against it. Set a limit to your facebook or youtube excursions and see to it that these never take from more valuable time that can be spent in God’s word or in prayer. Might I suggest that if you spend more time on Facebook in a given day than you do in prayer, you may have an idolatry issue. Does time with God mean more to you than engaging in what can usually be described as voyeuristic activity? Heed these words, and heed them well.
Time is God’s gift and is also the gateway to all other things. In this sense then, time is a most important stewardship. Suppose one has been given the gift of evangelism. Without time, when would he evangelize? If one has a gift of medical knowledge but has not time, of what benefit then is the first gift? Time is the gift preceding all other gifts and callings and must therefore be protected and appreciated something like clean air is to be appreciated by an athlete (though it is often taken for granted). While one may excel in marathon races, the success of that race will undoubtedly be predicated on some semblance of clean air. It is taken for granted that the air will be good for breathing. No race was ever held while tires were burning nearby. You get the point. Any form of athleticism becomes impossible without clean air being supplied. In a similar sense, nothing happens apart from time permitting it. Because of this, we ought to pay special attention to how we manage and use our time because it is the currency by which everything else is purchased, so to speak.
Given this most precious currency we call “time”, we should note that time is more valuable that any other currency in every possible way. Unlike other currencies or forms of riches time can never be replaced or replenished. Others have made this argument before I have, but while one may lose an entire fortune, the possibility remains of reclaiming an equal or greater fortune at some point (notice even this depends upon more time), but once time has expired, there is no reclaiming it. Add to this the distinct uncertainty about just how much time any of us have and you have a sobering lack of foundation for any presumption whatsoever. While we know not to trust in the uncertainty of riches because, “…riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.” (Proverbs 23:5) we have an absolute guarantee that time is flying away by the second and we have no clue just how many flights remain for any of us. If we should not trust in the uncertainty of riches, how much less ought we to trust in the uncertainty of time?
The graces of God that we can and should and must take advantage of require the use of the time that has been given to us to steward over. One only becomes proficient at anything through the dedicated use of their time in a particular endeavor. It has been said that people become “experts” in given fields after dedicating at least 10,000 hours to its attention. Whether this is technically true or not, there is an element of truth in it insofar as it is evident that a concentrated focus of ample time (whatever the particular amount may be) must be dedicated to anything for one to become an “expert” in it. Of all the things believers in Christ should strive to become “experts” in, let’s place dedication to God as paramount. For lack of a better term, we should strive to become “expert Christians”. This is not a charge for the so-called theologians or seminary Ph.D. students, but for the “royal priest-hood” that encompasses every single believer in Christ (1 Peter 2:9). We ought to strive to walk as Enoch walked; a man who did not taste death, but walked with God for 365 years so closely that God took him in a rapturous moment. Conversely we read the lament of wise Solomon who wasted so much of his time and eventually came to the same conclusion Enoch must have reached early on, “…Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Our knowledge of God on this earth rises or falls on the amount of time we dedicate to knowing Him. His promises to believers in Christ are only obtainable by our commitment of time to them that we might obtain them and grow in them. We are constantly admonished to “grow” throughout the bible, and for this we must have a certain amount of time. For Christ to be fully formed in us, we must endeavor to grow in Him by dedicating our time to Him. Since He has given us such precious time, ought we not cast the crown of time back down at His feet? It was His to begin with. Honor Him with it.
I shared this next paragraph nearly a year ago, but as it is related and bears repeating, I will include it in this treatment on time as well:
PREPARE FOR YOUR OWN DEATH.
You will die some day, perhaps quite suddenly and unexpectedly. Today I saw a news story about 3 vloggers who fell to their death by waterfall. They made popular videos about travel and expedition. They went to a pool atop a waterfall to swim and capture breathtaking photos. They certainly did NOT anticipate their death. So death comes for many as a “thief in the night”.
Consider that your earthly wealth means NOTHING!
“Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased; For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him.” (Psalm 49:16-17)
Consider that Your life is a vapor, you have no control of your death, and you will give an account, suddenly!:
“And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:19-21)
And, finally, consider that in what state you die, you will eternally remain.
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27)
When death knocks at our door, the vanity and frivolity of all that has been engaged in will be cast, as it were, on a jumbotron in our vision. The things of Earth will look strangely grim. All that will matter in that moment is one name; one person; Jesus.
The King of kings and Lord of lords stands ready to judge in righteousness. For the true believer (born again, fruit bearing, follower of Christ) this will be the thing hoped for all along… BUT for the one who was without Christ (even if they professed to be a “believer”) this will be a moment of unparalleled dread. To stand in the awesome presence of the one from whom the earth and heavens flee (Rev. 20:11) while being clothed in nakedness is to be in true despair and hopelessness, for their is no other Advocate or Savior beside Him.
Jesus will declare to FEW, “well done, good and faithful servant.” But to MANY He will say, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”
Call on Jesus while He may be found. Today is the day of salvation, if you will not harden your heart. The Lord is mighty to save, but Oh! What a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31).
Repent and believe in the only begotten Son of God; Jesus Christ the righteous!
Guard God’s time! Guard it as a most precious jewel and make much of it by making much of Christ and growing in Him. Again I say; GUARD GOD’S TIME!