There is a short poem I often I recite when I reflect on my past and anticipate my future.
When I was a baby, time crawled
When I was a child, time walked
When I became an adult, time ran
When I became old, time flew
Time is the constant factor throughout every phase of our existence. Too often, however, rather than appreciate time, “the gift of 7X24”, we try to control it like any other resource we either consume or squander. We attempt to gain more of it, spend it more wisely, or endeavor to save it. All these efforts are folly and a waste of time (Eccl. 9:11-12). Instead God’s desire is that we “gain wisdom” as we move through time. And that wisdom begins by appreciating the time God has given us.
Psalm 90, the oldest of the psalms, was written by Moses to contrast the frailty of man with the eternal, everlasting nature of God. In light of this sobering difference, Moses petitions God to “teach us to number our days.” It is within God’s teachings that invaluable knowledge is provided as to how we are to live in the time He has allotted each one of us; it is available in God’s Word and through His Spirit who lives within us. The “numbering of our days” recognizes that each moment of our life counts. No moment is to be wasted (Prov. 24:33-34). To “grow in wisdom” acknowledges the reality of God’s Lordship and results in the believer actively seeking His will. All these actions result in a life lived to the fullest and in the fullness of God (Ep. 3:16-20). This is appreciative living.
What causes us not to fully appreciate the time God gives us? The first might be ingratitude. As times marches on, our days may become more routine or mundane. We settle into a rhythm of apathy and indifference not fully aware that an “ingratitude attitude” has moved into our heart (Luke 17:15-18; 2 Tim. 3:2). The next theft of appreciative living might be pride. Pride operates out of the false belief that whatever is accomplished is as a result of one’s own skills and knowledge and perhaps a “little luck”. Time is not a factor in the pride equation accept as a medium in which work is accomplished. It is only appreciated when the individual comes to the end of their life (becoming either old or ill) and are then surprised how, “time flew.” Ingratitude and pride are but two examples of personal behaviors that result in undervaluing time. That’s why Moses advises us even in the 21st century to “number our days”.
What do you do with the time God has gifted you with? Is it spent with your children and family? Do you tithe time to your church or volunteer with a local nonprofit that serves the needs of your local community? Or do you simply “live within time” with little appreciation for its purpose and potential in your life? While we don’t know how many days or time we have in the future, we do know that ultimately our days will come to an end (Heb. 9:27). Don’t let your last thought be that you wish you had appreciated one of the great gifts from God—time!
Good to the Last Byte…
The New Living Translation for Psalm 90:2 reads as follows: “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” The way we choose to live our life in the time God has given us has a great impact on our ability to reclaim our lives. It’s more than a calendar system or the latest technique in time management. It’s about how we value and steward the time given to us.