Number Our Days

Time is arguably our most precious asset; our days on Earth are limited, and wisdom asks God to teach us to number them (Ps 90:12), or to quantify and manage them; we should be using every bit of this most precious resource to glorify God as well as we can — redeeming the time (Ep 5:16): treat every moment as if it’s priceless and we’d buy it back if we could.

So, one helpful way to look at this might be to examine how we’re spending our “free” time: what’s left after we’ve done our duty, fulfilled our responsibilities. We should know how much free time we have and maximize it in pursuit of God’s kingdom and righteousness. (Mt 6:33) Most of us have no idea how much free time we have, how many hours are slipping away unnoticed every day, underutilized, and the related opportunity cost.

Here’s an idea: fill out a 12X12 grid where each square is 10 minutes (2 hrs per row) and block out how you think you’re spending your time; when multi-tasking identify the focus activity.

Here’s my typical weekday, optional activity up top and more dutiful time beneath. “Free” time (purple/red/pink) is 5+ hrs, which I mostly spend working out — for general health / stress relief while memorizing / meditating on scripture and praying.

How we manage our time reflects our priorities, what we value — or worship. This is especially true of “free” time, what we do beyond duty, when we have a practical choice. The decisions we consistently make here tell us where our heart is and define who we are. (Mt 7:20)

The realty check is we actually are spending our time according to our priorities: we live according to our most deeply held values. This is how God renders to us all according to our deeds (Ro 2:6) even though salvation is by faith: our actions spring from our hearts and reflect our true beliefs. (Php 3:18-19)

Our entire life is composed of these tiny little 10-minute blocks, and we all have 144 every day: no one has any more or less. How many do we have in total, in our entire life? Only God knows, but once we choose to spend one a certain way, we never get a re-do; it’s gone forever and we can’t get it back.

What does God intend for us to do with each block? (Ps 119:97) What would our lives be like if we spent each one for Him? (Col 3:17) That’s the opportunity cost of making other choices; it will all be revealed on Judgement Day (Mt 12:36), and will reverberate eternally. (Mt 7:26-27)

If we’re misaligned with God’s values we can ask Him to show us where (Php 3:15); if we’re uncomfortable giving God an account of how we’re living it’s never too late; there’s no time like the present to acknowledge reality and ask Him for help. (He 4:16) He already knows. (Ps 139:2)

articles  ♦  blog

Redeeming the Time

A friend once said, “If I won’t let you spend my money, why should I let you spend my time?” The words captured me. What do I really value more: time or money?

I spend much of my time earning money, but it seems appropriate, what I ought to be doing. I need work to be healthy; it humbles me, challenges me and gives me a sense of purpose. Work isn’t a curse, it’s commanded (Ex 20:9), so it’s a blessing (Ps 19:11); I’m a better person for it.

But I suppose that’s why I’m also constantly valuing my free time in monetary terms: it’s valuable, but how valuable? Spending my life in temporal pursuits will leave only a blur, a distant memory.

I can always get more money, but I’ve only a fixed amount of time on Earth; not one second more than Abba’s given, each one a perfect gift to enjoy and serve Him. Yet there are innumerable ways to spend our time, and so many clamor for a piece of it.

If there’s no eternal purpose in a moment it’s lost, gone forever. I want each one to count for Him, to redeem the time. (Col 4:5), creating eternal value, being intentional and deliberate, not cruising through life, or letting others spend it for me.

Resting, relaxing, taking it easy –  this isn’t necessarily wasting time, it’s also commanded. (Ex 20:10) Enjoying God in games and Creation … He’s given us richly all things to enjoy (1Ti 6:17) … re-creation … to rejuvenate our souls and minds. Leisure has it’s purpose, helping us stay healthy and balanced, but it’s not our goal.

We each have unique gifts, ways we’re particularly enabled to serve God, so we each have a unique purpose in this life. We’ll be held accountable for how we live it. (Mt_12:36) The goal is to so run that we hear in the end, “Well done!” (Mt 25:21)

articles     blog