By Randy Harshbarger
Take the time to read the following:
“Let’s suppose that you had a bank that each morning credited your account with $1440 with one condition: Whatever part you had failed to use during the day would be erased from your account – no balance to be carried over. What would you do? You’d draw out every cent every day and use it to the best advantage. Well, you do have such a bank, and its name is time. Every morning it credits you 1440 minutes. It rules off as forever lost whatever portion of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. Nor is there any drawing against tomorrow” (entitled the Time Bank).
The Bible abounds with admonitions concerning time. Ephesians 5:15-16 says: “Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. ” Paul says we must open our “spiritual eyes” and walk in the light of truth and use what time we have left to rescue ourselves and others from sin. This present evil world (Gal. 1:4) demands a sober realization that “time” is the stuff life is made of. We better use whatever time we have left as a gift from God for service unto him. In Colossians 4:5-6 Paul said, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer each one.” We must buy up every opportunity to grow spiritually and to influence others for truth.
It was in “the fulness of time” (Gal. 4:4; Mk. 1:15) that God sent his Son into the world to die for our sins. When the time was right, God sent forth his Son to the earth, bringing the possibility of salvation to all. While on earth, Jesus felt the necessity to use every opportunity to do the Father’s will, as time for doing so would soon be gone. “I must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (Jn. 9:4). Job said, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). Job measured his life in days. Life must be lived one day at a time. Anxiety about a tomorrow that may never come robs us of the will to live and serve the Lord today. Remember that anything that is done for the Lord must be done today because today is the only time we have.
The Psalmist said: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten, Or even by reason of strength fourscore. . . For it is soon gone, and we fly away” (Psa. 90:10-12). Life is short at best. Just ask someone who has lived sixty or seventy years. “Where did all the time go?” they ask. It is not so much how long a person lives that is important, but how a person lives. As the Psalmist says, let us realize that life is soon gone and we need wisdom from the Lord for living upon this earth. “Jehovah, make me to know mine end, And the measure of my days, what it is; Let me know how frail I am” (Psa. 39:4). Man can get so caught up in pursuing the things of this life that the Lord is shut out altogether. Life is held together by a brittle thread at best; man will ultimately come to the end of the way. Then what? As we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we need to know who our Lord is. Now is time for that.
James says that we make plans for tomorrow without consulting the Lord (4:13-17). We make elaborate plans about what we are going to do. We speak of job promotions and transfers. We covet that new house and begin making plans to get it. We continue on as though we will always have enough time to chase and fulfill our dreams. We are going to do what we want, when we want, where we want, to get what we want. James says that our plans must be made in consideration of what the Lord demands and expects of us. Time spent with no thought of the Lord and his will is wasted time. Job said, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (7:6). Life is soon over and then we must account for how we used the time the Lord gave us. Are we faithful stewards of that precious commodity (1 Cor. 4:2)?
The problem of time can be solved by being totally devoted to the Lord. Jesus spoke of a single-minded adherence to his kingdom and righteousness. “For where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also. The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (Matt. 6:21-22). If our faith is in the Lord then whatever time we have left will be used in faithful service.
Then, we must use today as it comes, for service to the Lord. Why do we talk about the past and look to the future? When we do that, today is soon gone. We must not disdain the present. Now is all we have. “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; For thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1). We do not even know if tomorrow will come. How sad (and sinful) it is to waste today, worrying about tomorrow. “Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matt. 6:34).
Finally, the problem with using the time God gives us in the right way is in reality a value problem. What is truly most important to us? Is Bible study a high priority in your life? Do you spend much time in prayer? Can you “find the time” to worship, visit the sick, and teach the gospel to the lost? Whatever is important to us, we find time for. Spending time to get our heart right is time well spent. The Lord made time for us. Let us make time for him.
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 17, p. 532
September 3, 1992