Regarding Time

by Tom Wacaster
(originally written November 2014)

You and I are limited by time.  We are moving from the “now” to “what shall be.”  Our “tomorrow” quickly becomes “today” and “today” is soon in the “past.”  So quickly do the days, weeks and years pass that we respect the words of Moses with increasing appreciation: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten, Or even by reason of strength fourscore years; Yet is their pride but labor and sorrow; For it is soon gone, and we fly away… So teach us to number our days, That we may get us a heart of wisdom” (Psa. 90:10). 

Time is a precious commodity that each of us has in equal proportion.  Someone has said, “If you kill time it will send back ghosts to haunt you.”  John Mason is credited with writing this pithy saying:  “As every thread of gold is valuable, so is every moment of time.”  Goethe (the German philosopher) once said, “It is better to busy one’s self about the smallest thing in the world than to treat a half hour as worthless.”

We are all given 24 hours in the day, and 365 days in a year. We are admonished in Scripture to redeem the time wisely (Eph. 5:16). This simply means I am to buy up the opportunities that come my way, and select with great wisdom and prudence how, and upon what, I will spend those precious hours in each day. There is an accumulative effect of the use of time. For example, in an average 70 year life span, the average person will sleep more than 23 years of his life away (assuming 8 hours of sleep per night).  Over that same 70 year life span you will spend roughly 14 years working, 6 years eating, and 5 years traveling (fortunately, not all at once). 

By the same token, time wasted has an accumulative effect, and over the long haul will rob us of a great deal of what could otherwise be significant accomplishments. Think, for example, about the time we spend watching television. The average American (according to those infamous “polls”) watches TV 6 hours per day. Now that really seems a little high, so let’s reduce that by 30%, and use a bench mark of 4 hours per day. That amounts to 28 hours per week, 1460 hours per year, for an accumulative total of more than 72,000 hours in 50 years. Whew! It staggers the imagination.  That is more than 8 years of television!  Now, in comparison, let us consider the “average” time spent in spiritual matters!  If we were to begin the day of our birth spending five minutes each morning and evening in prayer and meditation (which is more than most people spend), and three hours per week in church, at age 70 we would have invested a total of just over 20 months! 

Someone has said, “There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of each week.”  What can be said of the year is just as true with regard to the week, and even our day by day activities.  “We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work” (John 9:4). Closely associated with how we use our time is the attitude we have toward time itself, and especially as it relates to anxiety and worry.  The Lord warned us, “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).  I don’t suppose any of us has managed to escape the temptation of worrying about tomorrow and fretting over yesterday’s mistakes, but with maturity that lofty goal become more of a reality in our life.

It has been more than 40 years since I first came across this little article that so eloquently addresses the need to take only one day at a time.  Unfortunately the author was not given in the article, but that does not lessen the value of the article itself:

Two Days Not To Worry

There are two days in every week about which you should not worry; two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.  One of these days is yesterday with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.  Yesterday has passed forever.  All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday.  Beyond asking forgiveness of God and of your fellow man, you cannot erase a single word you said.  Yesterday is gone. The other day you should not worry about is tomorrow with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and perhaps poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond your immediate control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise.  Until it does, you have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.  This leaves only one day; today.  Any man can fight the battles of just one day.  It is only when you and I add the burden of those awful enormities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down.  It’s not the experience of today that drives men mad; it is remorse, or bitterness for something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow will bring. Let us, therefore, live one day at a time.  As you live each day, remember that the best thing to give your enemy is forgiveness; to an employer, is service; to an opponent, tolerance; give your heart to a friend; set a good example for your children; revere your father and mother and so conduct yourself that they will always be proud of you; give to yourself the priceless heritage of self-respect and finally give charity and understanding to all men.

Those are great words of wisdom, and no doubt they are very Biblical in principle. To the words of the author I would add the following regarding the proper use of that which is called “today.”  Today has one thing in which I am equal with all men, and that is all of us have the same number of hours, minutes, and seconds to use.  How we use it will determine whether or not I truly redeemed the time.  Today each one of us should act towards others as though this will be our last day.  None of us have the promise of tomorrow, so why waste the only day of which we are given any guaranty?  Today I will not dwell on what I would or could do if things were different.  The simple fact is, they are not different.  It is what it is.  Today I will stop saying, “If I had the time,” and I will do all within my power to make the time.  I will begin by doing, do all within my power not to waste time, and not fret over what I did not accomplish.   In closing, I remind each of us, that the Hebrews writer tells us, “Today, if ye shall hear his voice, Harden not your hearts” (Heb. 4:7).  Let us be busy “exhorting one another day by day, so long as it is called Today; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13). 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *