This was originally published in our denomination’s magazine, The Lutheran Ambassador
To God, “one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8). While God exists outside of time, we humans do not. In fact, I have spent a great deal of my life thinking about time, and I bet you have, too.
As a child, and even a teenager, I felt that I had “all the time in the world.” When I grew up, married, had children and a career, there weren’t “enough hours in the day” to finish all the tasks that needed to be done. Eventually the children grew up, my parents grew old, jobs changed and “time marched on.” A few years ago I turned 65, an age at which I am, at least according to government standards, officially old. Suddenly I realize that “time is short.”
I find myself wondering, “What things do I most want to do or accomplish in the time I have left? Time has become a limited and precious commodity and I must decide how to “spend” it.
In actuality, the Bible tells me that my time on earth has always been brief —
“Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow”
says the Psalmist (144:4). This means every one of us, regardless of our age, should have a sense of urgency about time and how to use it. We must “work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).
Scripture give us a number of clear instructions about how to do this.
- Be Grateful
We have no control over the length of our lives (Luke 2:25), so every day is a gift. The Book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that God “has made everything beautiful in its time”(3:11) and “everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil”(3:13). This means we should take pleasure in daily life and give thanks to God for the small and large blessings of each day.
- Be Wise
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). In Proverbs, the wise person is described as one who fears the Lord and shuns evil(14:16), is humble(12:15) and wins souls(11:30)
- Be Ready
We should be ready to witness: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope you have.” (1 Peter 3:15). We should “be ready to do whatever is good”(Titus 3:1) We should be ready for Christ to come again for “you do not know on what day your Lord will come”(Matthew 24:42)
- Be Trusting
This is a crucial element in how Christians approach time. We cannot control time but we know the One who does. He sent Jesus to save us “at the right time”(Romans 5:6). Can’t we trust Him with the events of our lives, as well? As a Christian, I can say along with David, “My times are in your hand.”(Psalm 31:15a).