I was challenged by this thought the other day:
Imagine you have a bank account and someone places a gift of $86,400 into the account every morning. There are rules: You have to use it all every day. None of the funds can carry over to the next day. No refunds and no borrowing from the next day. You must give an accounting of how you spend the funds, and the donor has high expectations for its use.
Sound familiar? You guessed it. You and I have 86,400 seconds to utilize every day. Time is a precious gift from our loving God, and it is important to Him how we use it. But the truth is that we tend not to value time until the number of days remaining is shortened.
When a doctor says we only have so much left, we scurry around trying to make every second count. In reality, the God who made us all wants us to wisely use every day, every hour we have on this planet.
That’s why the most efficient people on earth are often broken people who have faced a trial or circumstance in life that causes them to recalibrate the value of each day. Such people have an acute understanding of time, its value and its use. From a Christian perspective, the trials of life have a way of causing us to set aside our flesh and place our lives daily in the Master’s hand.
How much do you value your time?
If you are a young family, how valuable is a month to your premature baby?
If you are the teaching pastor of a church, how valuable is a week of study?
If you are struggling to pay a debt, how valuable is an extra hour of pay?
If your originating flight is delayed and your connecting flight is on the other end of the airport, how valuable is a minute?
If you witness an SUV blow a tire and proceed to weave all over the road, how valuable is a second?
Time is a gift, a treasure. I believe it must be managed or it will flit away, and there is no getting it back. To waste it is sin. Not everyone has the same amount, and there is a reason you are here. So we must maximize its use.
How do we maximize time?
- Discover what is most important and invest first in that. If we listen to the words of Jesus, what is important is not difficult to understand. Every one of us is to be passionate for God and compassionate for people. Have you not read Matthew 6:33?
- Determine where God is working and join him. We learned this phrase from Henry Blackaby in his workbook, “Experiencing God.” He is at work in His kingdom all the time. Oftentimes we are inattentive to His work. Don’t let someone or a group of peers tell you what you should do with your life. You are the Lord’s creation, and He has an amazing, unique plan for you. Work at what God has placed before you. When you do, every appointment becomes a divine appointment, an opportunity to reveal the Lord’s glory through you.
- Know what you have in your toolbox. The other day I was digging around in my Snap-on box, and down in the bottom of a drawer I found something I actually needed for a task that day. I challenge you to dig deep to know what is in the depths of your life, especially what is beneath the clutter created by insecurity, pride, anger, and rejection. There you may find a spirit of encouragement, a gift of service, or perhaps a gift of giving. You are the unique creation of God created for His glorious praise!
- Plan your work and work your plan. Excellence is not abstract. It means doing today’s work today. There are two practices at the top of my daily list: 1. Make my work worthy of my King; 2. Learn something new every day about the Lord and about my wife, Sharon. That is a priority. Do I hit is every day? No, but it is on the top of my list. I work the list.
- Today is the day! Not tomorrow. Today is the teachable moment. What divine opportunity has He crafted for you today? Today is the time to “present yourself to God as a workman approved, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed.” As I was writing this column, I stopped to have lunch with a friend who, one year ago, suddenly lost his wife to cancer. As we talked, I reflected on how just a few months ago he had no idea how his life would be turned upside down. No one has a guarantee for another day or another year or another decade. It is okay to plan, but live today as if today is your moment.
If there is one more thing to add to the list, it is to remember that the Lord God made the earth and all its contents, then on the seventh day He rested. We too must build in a weekly time to pause and reflect on who God is. The Sabbath rest is God’s idea for man so that we might worship Him and endure the race He has set before us.