Time Flies How to Make the Most of It

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Time Flies How to Make the Most of It

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Time Flies. That’s the title of a very funny book comedian Bill Cosby wrote when he turned 50. With nostalgia, he reflects on his bygone days of youthful vigor and the often-comical realities of growing older.

Bill Cosby’s book illustrates how a sense of humor can help us cope with the trials of life. With it, 50 can be pretty nifty after all.

After finishing Time Flies, I thought about what Cosby did not say. He never expressed regret for time wasted! That’s largely because he has lived a very goal-oriented and productive life.

One of life’s saddest feelings is major regret—regret for bad things that happened or for good things that didn’t happen. As Ben Franklin said, “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” How most people wish they could turn the clock back and redo part of their lives! It’s our hope to steer you in the right direction so you can avoid future causes for regret!

Realize the value of the time you have

It’s sobering to read how often the Bible emphasizes the brevity and fragility of life. King David wrote: “Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You. Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor” (Psalms 39:4-5 Psalms 39:4-5 4 LORD, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am. 5 Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as nothing before you: truly every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
American King James Version×
).

Moses indicated that the typical lifespan in his day was only 70 years, with 80 being fairly common as well (Psalms 90:10 Psalms 90:10The days of our years are three score years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
American King James Version×
). With the brevity of life in mind, he made this request of God: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (verse 12, New International Version, emphasis added throughout).

We should all pray as David and Moses did for God’s help to understand the great value of our limited time and how to make the most of each day.

Are godly people rewarded with longer lives? Not necessarily. It’s true that people who avoid sinful and risky behavior naturally tend to have healthier and longer lives. And sometimes God rewards a righteous person with a long life, relatively speaking (Psalms 91:16 Psalms 91:16With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.
American King James Version×
; Ephesians 6:1-3 Ephesians 6:1-3 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3 That it may be well with you, and you may live long on the earth.
American King James Version×
).

But God often allows good people to die young and evil people to live long. When the Bible promises “long life” to God’s people, it ultimately is referring to life after death— eternal life!

Wisdom: Waste not your time

It seems that most people waste an awful lot of time. That means each one is wasting a huge chunk of his or her life. How we use our time says a lot about our character and priorities!

The Bible places heavy emphasis on seeking wisdom. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7 Proverbs 4:7Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding.
American King James Version×
). And a big part of wisdom is knowing the value of time and learning to make the
most of it.

The lack of wisdom in most young people —and many immature older people—is evidenced by their improper priorities—not yet realizing what really matters. Some people spend much of their lives in pursuit of trivia, entertainment and self-indulgence. They’re loitering their lives away!

However, both the Bible and history offer many examples of great accomplishments by people who used their time well.

Life’s satisfaction and joy is derived largely from productive work (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. 13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.
American King James Version×
). One of God’s first commands to Adam in the Garden of Eden was “to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15 Genesis 2:15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
American King James Version×
). The Bible clearly teaches a strong work ethic.

However, God doesn’t want us to be workaholics. We need balance as we budget our time. We need time to stop and smell the roses! The proper amounts of sleep, exercise, good nutrition, time with family and time worshipping God all help us to be more productive in the long run. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 Ecclesiastes 3:1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
American King James Version×
).

God revealed the weekly schedule man is supposed to follow in the Fourth Commandment: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work” (Exodus 20:9-10 Exodus 20:9-10 9 Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates:
American King James Version×
).

Good time management

Good “time management”—using one’s time efficiently, effectively and productively —is an issue of great importance in business and industry.

Time is valuable. “Time is money!” Yet many people “kill time.” Wasting small fragments of time adds up to lots of time that is forever lost.

Making the most of every minute is not a new idea. Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If,” published in 1910, ends with these lines:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man,  my son!

For example, a person will accomplish much more in life if he learns to put in-between times and wait times to effective use instead of just fuming or daydreaming. For example, when you know you might have to wait in line—say, at the post office or barber shop—bring along something to read. Another good option is silent prayer.

When you’re doing something physical that doesn’t require much concentration, you can be listening to a recording of something educational.

You can find many books on time management. Reading one will give you lots of useful ideas.

Many great accomplishments have been achieved by people who were using their “spare” moments.

A biblical perspective on using our time

Managing your time well becomes highly important when you recognize that God has called you to a life of serving Him and serving others. Jesus said, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8 John 15:8Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples.
American King James Version×
).

To produce fruit for God and others to enjoy, we must be willing to unselfishly sacrifice our time. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (verse 13). Jesus Himself personified these words—not just in His final hours of supreme sacrifice, but throughout His earthly ministry in constantly giving of His time to help and teach others.

To the Christians of his day, Paul emphasized the seriousness of “redeeming the time”—making the most of your time and opportunities. “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days” (Ephesians 5:15-16 Ephesians 5:15-16 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation).

In Colossians 4:5-6 Colossians 4:5-6 5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man.
American King James Version×
he similarly wrote: “Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone” (NLT).

Jesus was certainly on fire with zeal and urgency for doing God’s work! “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4 John 9:4I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.
American King James Version×
). He also said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34 John 4:34Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
American King James Version×
).

Today, Christ wants followers who have that same kind of zeal for doing His work!

No one knows how long he will live

No matter how young and healthy you are, don’t be overconfident about living a long time. “For man also does not know his time” (Ecclesiastes 9:12 Ecclesiastes 9:12For man also knows not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly on them.
American King James Version×
).

James warns us: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit,’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’ ” (James 4:13-15 James 4:13-15 13 Go to now, you that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. 15 For that you ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
American King James Version×
).

James points out here that declaring future actions without considering that we are not in ultimate control of what will happen is “arrogance” and “boasting” (verse 16). He is referring not so much to exact wording as to our need for a humble attitude. Therefore, when talking about future plans, you don’t necessarily need to specifically add the words “if the Lord wills” or “God willing.” Instead you could say, “I plan (or expect) to do such-and-such,” realizing that God may cause or allow things to work out differently. 

As an example, Jesus told a parable about a cocky and covetous rich man who felt sure he had plenty of time to “eat, drink, and be merry,” but he died that very night (Luke 12:15-20 Luke 12:15-20 15 And he said to them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. 16 And he spoke a parable to them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And 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. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have much goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said to him, You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, which you have provided?
American King James Version×
). Then Jesus said, “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (verse 21).

Be ready and stay ready to meet your Maker

Jesus repeatedly promised that one day He will suddenly return to the earth to set up His Kingdom (Matthew 24:23-36 Matthew 24:23-36 23 Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Why if they shall say to you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near: 33 So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36 But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
American King James Version×
). And He warned that when that day approaches, most people will be spiritually unprepared—like the people in the days of Noah “until the flood came and took them all away” (verses 37-39).

He said, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (verse 44). Those who are spiritually ready will receive eternal life. Those who are not will not.

The need to stay spiritually prepared is illustrated by the well-known parable of the 10 virgins, picturing 10 bridesmaids accompanying the bride on a nighttime procession to meet the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13 Matthew 25:1-13 1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go you rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Truly I say to you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man comes.
American King James Version×
). Having an ample supply of lamp oil represents being prepared. The bridegroom represents Jesus Christ returning to marry His bride, the Church. The five foolish virgins represent Christians who will be unprepared for Christ’s return.

Now what if you somehow knew the date when Christ will return? Consider: What difference would it make if you died before He returns? So we need to be spiritually prepared always —for the end of our lives could be moments away. Of course, we are not to live in anxiety over such a possibility. Rather, we need to get our spiritual houses in order now—and there will be no cause for worry.

“The end” for each person is Christ’s coming or the person’s death, whichever comes first. Jesus warned that when a person thinks the end is far off, he tends to procrastinate and compromise and let down spiritually (Matthew 24:48-51 Matthew 24:48-51 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delays his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
American King James Version×
; Luke 21:34-36 Luke 21:34-36 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come on you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
American King James Version×
). Let us not make that tragic mistake!

Rest assured, God is on our side. He is pulling for us. He wants no one to perish, but “desires all men to be saved”—for all people to receive “everlasting life” (1 Timothy 2:4 1 Timothy 2:4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
American King James Version×
; John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×
).

Joyous everlasting life! Just think! No more shortage of time. No more running out of time. No worries about time. Time will no longer fly by too fast.

We’ll have plenty of time. Time that goes on and on and on. Forever. Everlasting time!

In the meantime, time flies! Make the most of each and every day! GN

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