Redeeming the Time
Between working in IT/Software Development, writing books, blogs, and articles, spending time with Alean, kids, grandkids, really, just living life, I find that time has become increasingly valuable to me. I am saying “no” more frequently than ever before, much more frequently than I want to. I am learning to multi-task, something Alean does naturally, but which come to me only with great effort.
Time. Time Management. Just thinking about it elicits a sigh of anxiety.
In the 1970s, the Steve Miller Band reminded us that “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.” Because of time’s linear nature, it always moves forward — never backward, and it never stops moving. Thus, time is a commodity which, once spent, can never be recovered.
Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. — Psalm 32:6, NIV-1978
The interesting thing about this verse from Psalm 32 is that it appears to indicate a time when God will not be found. The prophet Isaiah echoes this same sentiment: “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;” (Isaiah 55:6, ESV). Jeremiah offers the assurance that God will be found by us when we seek him will all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13, ESV). The call to seek demands an active role on my part, and the urgency to seek is amplified by time “slippin’ into the future.”
I have never been a fan of fear motivation, preferring rather to focus on the love of God than the wrath of God. Yet, wrath is a side of our God that we ignore to our own peril. Jesus spoke a great deal more about hell than he did of heaven. The Hebrew people were very fear motivated. See how that comes through in this passage.
All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.
The length of our days is seventy years -
or eighty, if we have the strength;
yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
Who knows the power of your anger?
For your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due you.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom. — Psalm 90:9–12, NIV-1978
We see in this psalm the brevity of life and a call for us to “number our days aright” in light of that brevity. If we can number our days aright, or well, then it must also be possible to number them poorly and foolishly. We should seek God’s guidance to number them well.
Elsewhere, David laments and cries out to God because he sees much of his life has been wasted. With his heart growing hot within him, David says:
Show me, O Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Each man’s life is but a breath. Selah — Psalm 39:4–5, NIV-1978
Having made his cry, David looks at the emptiness of our pursuits; the ways in which we waste our time and our efforts.
Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro;
He bustles about, but only in vain;
he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. — Psalm 39:6, NIV-1978
In describing the end of all things, the apostle Peter tells us that with God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day (2 Peter 3:8). God lives outside of linear time, and we should neither doubt nor scorn his eventual return. He is coming, but is being patient with our efforts to spread the gospel (2 Peter 3:9).
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. — 2 Peter 3:8–14, NIV-1978
“Every effort” Peter says. Not just a pretty good try. And not “one of these days,” or “someday.” Now. Today! We have no promise of tomorrow. (James 4:13–17). Our lives are a brief mist that is here one moment and gone the next. Therefore, make now the most important time. Live now. Act now.
For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. — 2 Corinthians 6:2, NIV-1978
Blessings upon you.
Victoriously in Christ!