Time Flies How to Make the Most of It

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MP3 Audio (10.73 MB)


Time Flies How to Make the Most of It

MP3 Audio (10.73 MB)

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" (Psalm 39:4-5).

Moses indicated that the typical lifespan in his day was only 70 years, with 80 being fairly common as well (Psalm 90:10). 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 (Psalm 91:16; Ephesians 6:1-3).

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). 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). One of God's first commands to Adam in the Garden of Eden was "to tend and keep it" (Genesis 2:15). 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).

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).

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).

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, New Living Translation).

In Colossians 4:5-6 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). He also said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34).

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).

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 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). 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). 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). 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; Luke 21:34-36). 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; John 3:16).

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