So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (KJV)
This was the heart of the message Pastor Eugene gave on today’s worship service—time. What do we do with our time? How do we improve our approach on time such that we could show how important it is to us?For the outline, he gave this interesting acrostic:
T-REASURE your time
I-NVEST your time
M-ANAGE your time
E-NJOY your time
But before that, let me reiterate an illustration on time which I truly enjoyed:
THE TURTLE FAMILY PICNIC
Once upon a time, a turtle family decided to have a picnic, so they sat down and made plans. The planning and preparations took them seven years (you know, turtles are very slow).
After that long planning session, they went out, brought their picnic basket with all the food, and set off. Mind you, it took them two years to go around and find a good spot to hold their picnic. (Now that’s a good nine years we’re talking about here!)
The blanket is laid, and food in the basket about to be set, when Mama Turtle discovered that they forgot to bring the salt shaker (Tsk! Tsk!). So, Junior, being the youngest, was tasked to go back home and get it.
Hesitant, he said, “I won’t! I might not be able to wait for me and go on with the picnic without me…”
The rest of the family promised that they’ll wait for him and the salt shaker. Though hesitant at first, he finally gave in with one little condition, “Nobody eats until I come back, okay?” and went on. And the Turtle Family waited.
One year. Two years. Three years. Still no Junior Turtle? Four years. Five, Six, Seven!
“I can’t wait anymore!” Papa Turtle exclaimed, “Come on, let’s eat—even without salt in our food!”
And at the moment they opened the picnic basket, something fell from a tree just above. It was Junior.
“I told you—you just can’t wait for me,” cries the little turtle. “So, I won’t get it!”
Hahaha…isn’t it neat? Honestly, we’re like these turtles, right? Many times, we are more preoccupied of how others can serve us, of whether they do their part or not, so we sit back and wait. And as we do, we happen to put our time to waste. Not to mention the added disappointment when we find out that others do not keep their word as well.
Okay, let’s continue.
T-REASURE your time
There are many allusions that we can give on time: “Time is a valuable commodity” or how about, “Time is gold”. The writer of James also alludes life as “a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14)
Because of the brevity of life, we must therefore take time very seriously. How important is time and how do we count it? by the years? days? seconds?
How valuable is a year? Ask a college senior who failed a subject or two.
How valuable is a month? Ask a mother who delivered a premature child.
How valuable is an hour? Ask a businessman whose flight for an important meeting was delayed.
How valuable is a minute? Ask a man who is experiencing heart attack and needs to be rushed to the nearest hospital.
How valuable is a second? Ask a person who miraculously avoids from what would be a fatal car accident.
How valuable is a millisecond? Ask an Olympian who gets the gold for getting ahead to the finish just moments before the others, someone like Michael Phelps.
In Psalm 90, a psalm written by Moses, the great patriarch prayed to God, “teach us to number our days…” However, that prayer was quite unusual. Back in those times, man’s lifespan reached the hundreds. Moses himself lived up to 120. The answer lies behind this…
By the time Moses wrote this psalm, he was leading the Israelites to the Promised Land across the wilderness. One time, God announced that all above forty could not enter Canaan because of their complaining attitudes (you see, Egypt was still a lot of a paradise to them). So, everyday, some 40 folks don’t make it the next day of the journey. So along with Moses, that was their prayer. Treasuring each day, until God takes them, kept them focused with what is really important.
I-INVEST your time
We cannot save time but we can invest it. That’s the key. Since we cannot store up time like “time in a bottle”, and use it anytime we want, the only thing we can do is to use it wisely. How do we do so? Using time wisely simply means spending it in doing something that matters most. Therefore, how we invest our time reveals our priorities.
To elucidate this point, an illustration can be pointed out:
A certain survey revealed the average time per week that people spend on various things:
Out of the 168 hours that we have per week,
58 hours are spent for sleeping,
24 hours for eating and personal hygiene,
51 hours for work, travelling, or schooling (for students), and
35 hours is what we call ‘discretionary time’ or simply, spare time.
What do we do with our weekly 35-hour discretionary time? This was the challenge Pastor Eugene gave. How much time do we spend for God? If we take time as something we receive from God, tithing would also apply then. Out of the 168 hours per week, we then have to give some 17 hours back to him. That’s the amount of time we ought to spend on church services, prayer meetings, BTO’s, Bible studies, Bible reading, prayer and evangelism! How we invest our time reveals our priorities.
M-ANAGE your time
Every moment is a gift from God that must be managed wisely. But how can we manage it? It’s even funny to think that we don’t really manage our time, but we actually manage ourselves with respect to how we use our time.
E-NJOY your time
Of course, we don’t just work and study and burn out. We all need sometime to stop and rejuvenate—that’s one thing. We’re not only stewards of our time, but we’re also stewards of our bodies…stewards of rest and relaxation. Jesus even invited his disciples to rest after a long day of ministering, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile…” (Mark 6:31)
Enjoy! But of course, there’s also a danger in getting this one too much.
“Too much rest and relaxation,” Pastor reminds, “would disorient us from our goals. The result is diverted priorities—very unhelpful—which will cause us to neglect the work that God has told us to do.”
THE KEY is to take good care of our time and keep watch of it all the time. Its importance and one-time use should push us to be fruitful and productive in our use with it. It’s about time that we should do something with our time, and word “TIME” used as an acrostic helps: (T)reasure, (I)nvest, (M)anage, & (E)njoy.