Many gurus have written about time. They have spent countless hours on how precious and fleeting time really is in a person’s life. Growing up, I remember The Steve Miller Band and their song, Fly Like an Eagle. The memorable line was “time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, into the future.” The older I get. I do believe it seems as time speeds up to supersonic speed. It does not slow down.
Read the following quotes by leaders of our time:
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.'”
“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.”
“The future is promised to no one. So, seize the day, embrace the present moment, and make the most of the time you have.”
“The greatest gift you can give someone is your time because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.”
In contrast, read the following by the early church fathers:
“Do not allow the days to pass by in vain and unprofitable pursuits, but let every hour be dedicated to good and virtuous actions. For time, if used wisely, can bring us closer to God and lead us to salvation.”
St. John Chrysostom (349-407 AD)
“Let us be vigilant and wise in our use of time, for the days are fleeting and the opportunities for growth and righteousness are limited. May we discern God’s will and live according to His purposes, redeeming every moment for His glory.”
St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD)
“Understand that the time we are given is a precious gift from God. It is our responsibility to use it wisely, seeking His guidance and following His will. Let us not waste the opportunities He presents to us but rather make the best use of every moment.”
Origen of Alexandria (184-253 AD)
“Walk in the light of Christ, and let His wisdom guide your steps. Do not be deceived by the distractions of this world, but rather understand the will of the Lord and devote yourself to fulfilling it. Redeem the time, for it is a precious gift entrusted to us.”
St. Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
“As followers of Christ, we are called to be wise and discerning in our use of time. Let us not be careless or foolish, but rather understand the importance of every moment. May we dedicate ourselves to seeking God’s will and making the most of the opportunities He grants us.”
St. Jerome (347-420 AD)
In our fast-paced world, time is a precious commodity that often slips through our fingers. Both Christians and non-Christians alike grapple with the challenge of making the most of their days. In Ephesians 5:15-17, the Apostle Paul offers invaluable guidance on the significance of time and how followers of Jesus should live in light of its fleeting nature.
RECOGNIZING THE VALUE OF TIME
Time is a gift from God, a limited resource that should not be squandered. As Paul exhorts in Ephesians 5:15, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.” This command emphasizes the need for believers to value their time and conduct their lives with wisdom. By recognizing the importance of time, we can live our lives in light of its value, or its gift, to us. The Apostle Paul encourages us to be a discerning people regarding how we live. If we live with discernment, it helps us become more aware of potential pitfalls and temptations that would hinder us in our journey with Christ.
REDEEMING THE OPPORTUNITIES
Paul continues in Ephesians 5:16, “Making the best use of the time because the days are evil.” Here, the Greek word for “time,” kairos, highlights the significance of seizing opportune moments. As followers of Jesus, we are called to be intentional in how we use our time, making the most of the opportunities God presents to us. Each day carries the potential for divine encounters, acts of love, and Kingdom impact.
In verse 17, Paul urges believers, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” The pursuit of godly wisdom allows us to discern and understand God’s will for our lives. By aligning our choices with his purposes, we can avoid the trap of foolishness that often leads to wasted time and missed opportunities.
CULTIVATING A TIME-VALUED LIFESTYLE
Living in a time-valued manner requires intentional effort. Here are some practical steps for followers of Jesus to embrace a time-redeeming lifestyle:
- Seek God’s guidance by regularly spending time in prayer and seek God’s direction for how to prioritize your days. Invite the Holy Spirit to lead you in making decisions that align with His will.
- Set kingdom-centered priorities by evaluating your commitments and activities in light of God’s kingdom. Prioritize actions that reflect his love, justice, and compassion. Invest time in building relationships, serving others, and pursuing spiritual growth.
- Practice being present by building margin in your schedule and establishing boundaries. How about this? Put your phone down, silence the notifications on your watch (or even take it off), and have an enriching conversation face-to-face with another human being. Be intentional about eliminating those things in your life that distract and hinder your spiritual growth.
- Embrace Sabbath rest by incorporating regular times of rest and reflection in your routine. Observing a day of Sabbath provides an opportunity to recharge, refocus, and realign your priorities with God’s purposes. Remind yourself that Jesus went away to a deserted place to be with his Father. We should do as he did.
- Develop margin by remaining open to divine interruptions and unexpected opportunities to serve and bless others. Allow God to redirect your plans, trusting that his timing is perfect.
WITNESSING THROUGH TIME REDEMPTION
Living as faithful stewards of time not only benefits our personal lives, but also serves as a powerful witness to those around us. Embrace the commands and encouragement outlined in Ephesians 5:15-17. May we demonstrate to the world the transformative impact of following Jesus.
As followers of Jesus, we read time after time how he was interrupted, tired, and pulled into so many different directions. Whether it was a blind beggar beside the road, or a woman at the well, he made the most of his time being present in their lives to give them what mattered most. Jesus modeled for us kingdom living, kingdom presence, kingdom priorities, kingdom values and gave himself for us to let us know how we should value our time.
Time does keep on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.
How are you making the most of the gift of time in your life?
Let us live in light of St. Cyril of Alexandria, “Walk in the light of Christ, and let His wisdom guide your steps. Do not be deceived by the distractions of this world, but rather understand the will of the Lord and devote yourself to fulfilling it. Redeem the time, for it is a precious gift entrusted to us.”
This post originally appeared at: Time Keeps on Slippin’ into the Future — The Bonhoeffer Project