Life rushes by like a shadow. It is like the grass that comes up early and soon withers. I once heard an elderly man say the words: “My life is no more than a visit to this earth!” The Psalmist exclaims: “Remember how short my time is” (Psalm 89:47), in a sense asking God to take care of him.
Time is given to us by God so that we can use it wisely. Many people are very careful with their money, but they waste their time. When we are young, we think we have enough time to do everything we have planned. The young person speaks confidently: “I still have the best years of my life ahead of me and enough time to achieve many great things.” But time is quickly running out, and some of the things that were supposed to be done have to be postponed or canceled altogether.
Most people are like the young man who received a large inheritance. In his opinion, his money could not get any less, and now he wanted to live a life of pleasure. However, as the years went by, his wealth dwindled more and more, and finally he was left with nothing. He had thrown his money away with his hands full.
Time also comes to an end in human life. And when the last minute dawns for us here below, we realize what a tremendous value time has for us, especially when it has not been spent wisely. A queen of England exclaimed on her deathbed: “Half my kingdom for one more hour of my life!”
The time a child of God has should bear rich fruit for the Lord. “Redeem the time!” the Word of God calls out to us. A blacksmith was a good example of this. He became an important and capable preacher, even though he had not attended school. He read instructive books while he worked. He pinned the book to the wall in front of him so that he could spend every minute in study.
Even a shoemaker became an efficient lawyer by looking into a book he had lying next to him from time to time while he was doing his daily work. All great men were anxious to use every minute of their lives profitably. They never wasted a minute.
It is said that when Titus Vespasian returned to Rome after his conquest of Jerusalem, he was sitting at the table with his friends one evening. Suddenly, he remembered that he had done no good deed on the day preceding this social celebration. “My friends,” he exclaimed self-accusingly, “I have lost a day!” There are thousands today who regret losing the precious minutes of time – time that is far more valuable than gold and precious stones.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12), prays the Psalmist. A Hindu convert to Christianity bought himself a watch and a Bible. “The watch,” he explained, “will tell me how the time passes, and the Bible will tell me how to spend it.”
To be a fruitful Christian, every follower of Christ must use the passing time in all truth and according to God’s will. It is necessary that we fill a portion of our time by furthering our knowledge and skills that we use for our work in the vineyard of the Lord.
The apostle Paul spent years studying and preparing for his great task ascribed to him by the Lord. The time was truly not wasted. It brought great blessings not only to him but to many other people. Above all, however, the time we spend with God in prayer is particularly beneficial. Nothing else can bring greater reward. Wesley occupied himself for hours pondering divine things as he rode from one place to another to hold meetings.
We should also fill our time with winning others for the Lord and bringing sunshine into hearts that are cold and barren. What is our life if at least one soul whom we have met in this life has not found the way to the Father’s heart through us! Remember, every day when the sun turns towards the horizon, a part of your time has again sunk into the sea of eternity. The hours rush by as if on wings. Soon we will reach our destination! What then? When the heart begins to falter and the soul prepares to go to that land from which there is no return, will you also close your eyes with this agonizing self-accusation: “Oh, if only I had spent my life differently!”
Oh, how serious life is when we consider its brevity! How do you spend your time? May we all want to pursue the one great goal: to make our time available to God!