Time is a precious thing. None of us know just how much of it we have. No one knows what it holds, whether good or ill. With the changing of the years we are prone to think on these things more, perhaps, than at any other time of the year. The inspired penmen realized the importance of time and wrote of it often.
James wrote, “Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:13-14). Here James recognizes both the brevity and the uncertainty of life. At best, he says, our time is short. Realizing this, the Psalmist wrote, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). This is wisdom at its best!
All should seek to use the time we have in the best way possible. It is foolish indeed to live as though we believe that time is ours and unlimited. The rich, successful farmer of Luke 12 made this very mistake. When making his plans to take care of his bountiful harvest, he said, “This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:18-19). However, time was not in his power as he thought. God said unto him, “Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20).
Jesus taught this same principle when He said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). In the words of the song, “There is much to do; there is work on every hand.” Paul admonished, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). All of us have the responsibility to try to use our time wisely; time spent and opportunities lost are gone forever.
Time is filled with swift transition. “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30). “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (I Peter 1:24-25). “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).
How are you and I using our time? Are we using our days so as to apply our hearts unto wisdom? Are we living as though we believe that we have a lease on life and we will live forever? I believe the instruction Jesus gave to his disciples about being prepared for his return is also applicable to our lives. Not only do we not know when Jesus will return and we will stand before him in judgement; but we also do not know when we will depart this life to await judgement. We need to “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your lord doth come…Therefor be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42, 44)
Even though most of us would admit to the truthfulness of these things; we realize that time is short at best, and that we have no promise of even tomorrow; yet many still live out their time in complete abandonment of any spiritual consideration at all.
Let me urge you to make every effort to use your time wisely during this new year. Study daily God’s word; pray without ceasing; help those in need; visit the sick; comfort the downtrodden. In short, let each of us, “Number our days that we may apply out hearts unto wisdom.”
– Paul M. Wilmoth, January 18, 1944 – April 5, 2021