By Mason Harris
There are certain laws of life (law of gravity, cause & effect, etc.) we need to understand if we expect to live a rich and rewarding life. These laws are documented by the whole course of man’s history. When we work in harmony with these laws, they become tools in our hands for a richer, fuller life. When we work against them, they become as weapons to defeat our cause. A person becomes rich or poor, happy or sad, a success or a failure, depending on how effectively he uses these laws.
One of these is the law of time. It is written in Ecclesiastes 3: 1; “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
Our society is characterized by restlessness. We are always on the move. There seems to be too little time for us to do the things we want to do. And each day our frustrations become greater. Often it seems that we are on an endless treadmill going nowhere. The sand is pouring through the hourglass of our life and yet there is so much left to do! The conflict within us mounts! We pop a pill into our mouth and gulp a drink to calm ourselves for the tomorrows which will be even more hectic than today!
A son waits anxiously for his father to return home from work-he expects his father to play catch with him. Daddy is late, but the little lad waits patiently. Finally, daddy arrives but he does not have time to play-he must hurry and eat, dress, and rush off to a meeting somewhere to discuss what can be done on the local scene-to curb juvenile delinquency. A daughter waits in vain for an opportunity to have a quiet, relaxed talk with her mother because with all the work, visiting, and entertaining, there just isn’t time.
Some would blame the lack of time for all their shortcomings. Yet, every day each of us receives 24 hours of time. Somebody says we need to organize our time. This sounds good, but the truth is time is already organized. There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 24 hours in a day.
What we need to do is synchronize our activities to blend with the time that is already organized. The wise man said there is a time for everything; there is a time to work and a time to play; a time to plant and a time to harvest. There is summer and there is winter. The wise farmer makes use of this Jaw of time and plants, cultivates, and harvests while the seasons permit in order that he may face the winter with sufficient provisions. May we be as wise in regard to preparation for Eternity!
A prophet of long ago said, “Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver. And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone.” (1 Kings 20:39-40) Notice once again the servant’s excuse for failing in his responsibility: “As thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone.” How descriptive this is of so many of us!
Parents have the responsibility of bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But think of how many parents have become “busy here and there” with no proper planning on the use of their time and then discovered their children were grown and gone from home without the training they needed. Christians have the responsibility of teaching others. How many of us have intended to talk with a certain person about their soul, but put it off because we were busy here and there, and then one day learned of their death?
This is true in the lives of so many. We become busy here and there, but without any real planning and without any real accomplishments. One thing should be obvious to most of us, and that is: While there is time for us to do the things we need to do, there is usually not enough time for us to do all the things we would like to do. This means we are ‘faced with a decision as to how we will use our allotted time.
In the continuation of our life we awake each day with twenty-four hours of unmanufactured tissue of our life. This is ours to spend, second by second, hour by hour, day by day, year by year, as we alone choose. It is ours to spend wisely or foolishly, in daydreams or in productivity, in hate or in love, in fear or in happiness, in selfishness or in contribution. But while it is our right to choose how it will be used, it is not our privilege to alter the penalty for time wasted or ill spent. For out of this time given to us each day we must make provision for this life and the life that is to come.
Instead of letting the hours of our life be spent in idleness, excessive devotion to business, vanity, and such like, let us decide what ought to have the priority in the use of our time. Then as we see each new day approaching, let us make plans as to how it will be used-putting first things first. Without such planning, we, too, may become “busy here and there” and neglect the important things in life.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 27, pp. 12-13
May 10, 1973