Time is peculiar to man. We
measure everything by it. We begin by the clock and end by the clock,
whether we’re speaking of our jobs or our lives. A year is the period of
time as measured by the Gregorian calendar in which the earth completes a
single revolution around the sun. It consists of 365 days, 5 hours, 49
minutes and 12 seconds of mean solar time divided into 12 months, 52
weeks, 365 or 366 days, beginning on January 1 and ending on December 31.
Years are important to us. By them we measure the length of our life, figure our business interests, pay our taxes, render our schooling, assess our personal progress, buy our transportation, register various things, calculate values, change, rearrange, identify, and on and on.
It is in order for us to use this beginning time of the new year to take a concerned look at ourselves, to assess our strengths, identify our weaknesses, and resolve whatever actions are necessary to build on those strengths and, as much as is possible, minimize our weaknesses.
We have before us a new year, a new slate, a new piece of paper on which to write. We are responsible to God for our use of whatever time we have. Here are some suggestions for the proper use of time this year:
Begin early. I know of no plan, no idea, no purpose that is not made better by an early beginning. If you start early you accomplish more. For instance, if you start right now to study the bible you can likely achieve what you want in the coming year, but if you procrastinate and say “I intend to do that,” chances are you’ll still be planning to do it next year at this time. Notice, I said, begin early. That means that, whatever the plan, you initiate it; you begin. Behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). If we are to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” we must begin without delay.
Make time serve you. If you want to accomplish some good moral thing in the new year, you will have to make time work to your good. To do that you must have a goal in mind for every activity. For instance, if you plan to learn some new area of thought, put a time limit on yourself. If you are interested in converting a soul this year, put it in the form of a practical goal and do it within a prescribed time. “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not” is written in the context of the proper use of time. You don’t know what will be on the morrow, so you should do what good you can while you can.
Practice time management. Now I don’t want to make that too technical or too much like some business seminar. But it just makes good sense to budget time. To do so, you have to put some restraints on yourself. It’s easy to waste time. Every person has the responsibility of private worship, of dedicating a certain amount of time in prayer, meditation, and reflection (cf. 1 Tim. 4:15). Prayer, meditation, and reflection all take time; and that means you have to set aside that period for private devotion to God. The second part of that passage says, “give thyself wholly to them.” That calls for a planned activity, one where you make God the central part of your thinking—at least for a time. The devil is determined to make you use up all your time with something less important, things of lesser value. Only if you manage time will it serve you well. Actually, you can’t afford to do otherwise.
Your time is your own. It belongs peculiarly to you and no one else. You can’t escape the fact that your time is yours and what you do with it will determine your eternal destiny. Your time is filled with the stuff that is related to it—stuff like opportunity (a window of time suitable for something); responsibility (an ability connected to an opportunity); and accountability (the bottom of the time line). Nobody can do your time for you. You and you only are responsible for how you spend your time. “A wise man discerns both time and judgment” (Eccl. 8:5).
Remember that time has an end. “It is appointed to man once to die” (Heb. 9:27). When that happens, and it happens to all sooner or later (both words having to do with time), there will be no turning back. It necessarily behooves us to use our time wisely because once it’s used up, there will no longer be an opportunity. Time and opportunity are connected inseparably. Intentions won’t be enough to excuse our lack of activity when judgment comes. It will be too late (time word, again) then! We best “work while it is day, for the night cometh when no man can work” (Jn. 9:4). Time ends; eternity doesn't.
What you do with the coming year depends largely on what you decide today. If you will, you can make the coming year the best year of your life. Whoever said that “today is the first day of the rest of your life” was well within the mark. And it is certainly so that “…it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:11). Have a good 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes and 12 seconds.
Copyright (C) 2002-2005 Southside Church of Christ
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