“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Eph.5:15-16
In these two short verses, the apostle Paul expresses a clear cautionary warning about time – much is at stake here for us!
The start of a new year is when many people make resolutions, and perhaps you have done the same. But here’s the plain reality: the reason so many resolutions fail is because they do not address the wider issue of how we think of time, and how we use time.
What should be part of our biblical concept of time?
A. Time is a scarce commodity and therefore is precious.
As you and I know, any commodity that is scarce or limited is
considered extremely valuable. That is why rare cars, rare paintings, rare minerals, rare anything carries with it a great price.
As Job in the Old Testament was speaking about his suffering and how much his suffering had robbed him of time, he said the following: “My days are swifter than a runner; they flee away; they see no good. They go by like boats of papyrus, like an eagle swooping on the prey.” (Job 9:25-26) We may view time that way. When we are young, it seems we will always escape the ravages of time.
We are like the rabbit who believes that the eagle circling in the sky is moving slowly and if we run fast enough, we will escape. But
there comes the time when we see that this view is an illusion. Time has moved more quickly than we expected – and we feel trapped.
Job continued saying, “For when a few years have come I shall go the way from which I shall not return.” (Job 16:22)
Each one of us should look into the future and see that death is rushing at us like an oncoming train. Soon it will be upon us and we will be no more.
Time is a scarce commodity and it is precious. And this is exactly how the Bible invites us to think about time.
B. Time is an uncertain commodity and therefore precious.
God has not promised us that we will escape the uncertainty of life
or the shortness of time. James 4:15 says: ‘What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.’
The Bible tells us that each one of us has an appointment with death– and that day only God knows. “It is appointed for man once to die”(Hebrews 9:27). I think that means more than the obvious truth that we will not escape death. It is that word “appointment” – it is settled– fixed. God has a ‘day-timer’ and the day of your death is written in His eternal plan for you. We will be wiser when we understand that this date may be reached at any time.
C. Lost time can never be recovered.
Once time is spent, it is gone. You can’t save time. You can only spend time. Every once in a while one hears of people spending their
money unwisely. I have been told by business people who lost a lot of money that it is okay, because even though this person has lost what may seem to many to be a vast fortune – he or she knows they have the skill to make the money back.
But not so with time. You will never make it back if you use it
unwisely the first time. Time is precious because it is irretrievable.
D. Time can introduce us to either wisdom or evil.
Paul reminds us – the days are evil. In evil days, the use of time
becomes ever more important. He reminds us that we need to ‘look carefully how we walk’ and to spend our time wisely as the unremitted toil of the days can overwhelm us.
Think about how much time you have already had, and what you will do with what you have left. Let us not be fearful but ask God to
give us wisdom for the days ahead.
Time is a scarce commodity and it is precious.
Dr. John Neufeld
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