Every second we’re given has been predetermined by God. Every breath we take is a gift. As we go about our busy lives, we often forget about the brevity of life – how short our time here on earth really is.
Moses must have given that some deep thought as he prayed this prayer:
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
Without giving our limited time on earth much thought, we can easily get swept up in the insignificant things of life that have no eternal value. And we end up wasting time. Lots of time. Watching hours and hours of television, scrolling endlessly through social media, and shopping for more stuff that we don’t need are a few of the typical ways we waste our precious time.
So what exactly does it mean to number our days?
What it does not mean is counting how many days we’ve lived so far or trying to figure out how many we have left. What it does mean is being aware of the shortness of life and having a desire to live each day to the fullest for God’s purposes and for His glory. It means using our time wisely.
The Value of Time
As I am rapidly approaching the beginning of yet another new decade, time is becoming more and more valuable to me.
In his book Time for God, Christian theologian Dr. Leslie Weatherhead mathematically calculated the average length of a life using the hours of one day to illustrate how important it is to be aware of the value of time. Here are his conclusions:
If your age is 15, the time is 10:25 a.m. If your age is 20, the time is 11:34. If your age is 25, the time is 12:42 p.m. If you’re 30, the time is 1:51. If you’re 35, the time is 3:00. If you’re 40 the time is 4:08. At age 45, the time is 5:15. If you’re 50, the time is 6:25. By age 55, the time is 7:24. If you’re 60, the time is 8:42. If you’re 65, the time is 9:51. And if you’re 70, the time is 11 p.m.
Recognizing the value of time is absolutely essential if you are to gain a heart of wisdom. It is then that you will seek to make the most out of your time on earth. There are opportunities all around you offering ways for you to make good use of your time, filling each day with eternity-focused purpose. But these opportunities don’t last forever. There is usually a very brief window of time to seize them.
God provides you with everything you need, from unique talents and gifts to a variety of resources, to be shared with others so you can spend your time wisely on that which has eternal value.
The world’s ideas about what is valuable are not transferable to eternity such as wealth, possessions, comfort, status, and power. Only God and people have eternal value, so the way we spend our time should be motivated by loving God and people.
Here are three ways you can spend your time with eternity-focused purpose…
1. Increase Your Knowledge
Learn from others who are skilled at what you love to do. Think about a hobby or activity that comes easy to you (your talent) and brings you joy. Find a mentor or take lessons from a professional. Sign up to take a few classes to help you become even more skilled at your gift. You never know how God will want to use it to show His love to others through you and bring Him glory.
My friend’s high school-aged daughter loves to cook. Everything she makes is gourmet and absolutely beautiful in its presentation. She is a natural at it but desires to learn so much more.
This past summer, while staying in Colorado, she asked if she could work without pay at a recreational cooking school. She wanted to learn from professional chefs who could pass their culinary knowledge on to her and, best of all, how to use all the fun, fancy equipment.
So they put her to work (including washing the dishes), gave her an education, and she came away with more knowledge about her passion. She currently uses her talent whenever she has an opportunity to cook or bake for her friends and family. It’ll be exciting to see how God uses her gifts to bless others in her future!
2. Build Relationships
I love my friends. I spend a lot of time with them and truly enjoy keeping up with all that is going on in their lives. But I always want to have enough time to be available for others God may want to bring into my life who need encouragement and friendship as well. I pray about this often and it seems every year He brings me new friends in the most amazing ways.
If you meet someone you’d like to get to know or whom God puts on your heart to reach out to, be bold. Ask if they’d like to go to lunch with you or meet you for coffee. Knowing someone cares enough to want to get to know them might be just what they need. Spending one-on-one time together is a great way to start a new friendship.
Building relationships with people is one of the most valuable ways to spend your time as it has eternal value and purpose. You are a blessing to others and are sharing God’s love when you invest your time listening, encouraging, and simply being a friend. And you are blessed in return when they do the same for you!
3. Serve Others
Look around to see where you might be able to help someone. There are opportunities to meet needs everywhere you go. You just have to open your eyes and be willing to give of your time. Serving others has eternal value. You are demonstrating God’s love as you selflessly give of your time and energy.
I recently became reacquainted with an old friend I met in junior high when I was living in California. We lost touch and it has been nearly 30 years since we’ve spoken. She still has the same laugh and we talk on the phone for hours every Sunday, reminiscing and chatting about life during the past three decades.
Sadly, she is now battling stage four breast cancer and has very little energy to do the things most of us often take advantage of being able to do. Things like brushing her teeth, washing her hair, preparing food, or tidying up her house.
The other day, a friend of hers came over to bring her some food since she can no longer drive to go to the grocery store. She took a look around and said, “These dirty floors are really bothering me. Let me clean them for you!”
My girlfriend was so thrilled because they had been bothering her too, but there was nothing she could do about it since she had no energy for a monumental task like that. Her friend then began to vacuum and mop all of the floors in the house
The opportunity was there and she acted on it to meet a need. She opened her eyes to see it and was willing to spend her time and energy in a way that showed so much love to her friend. Definitely time well spent with eternal value!
A Vintage Reminder
Last year, during a trip to visit a good friend in Arkansas, I was reminded of how short life really is after taking a stroll through a fabulous clothing boutique filled with vintage jewelry accessories. The shop owner had a talent for coordinating the old jewelry with his new apparel. It was a great way to get his customers to buy the entire ensemble because it all went so beautifully together!
One necklace, in particular, caught my attention. It was a silver metal locket on a book chain from the late 1800s:
I opened it up and inside was a photo of a woman from that time period. Next to the photo was an inscription that read: Nurse Agnes Muir Sydney Hospital 1875-1882. That was most likely the span of years she had given her time serving at the hospital.
Nurse Agnes’ life has long since passed. Generations of those who would have personally known her are not even around anymore. And here I was, 137 years later, staring at the photo of a life that surely made a positive impact on people as she spent time nursing them back to health or comforting them during their final hours. She seized the opportunity that presented itself to her during that short season of her life.
Live with Eternity in Mind
If you are a follower of Christ, you cannot live foolishly and stay close to Him at the same time. When you repeatedly ignore the opportunities God places in front of you to serve Him, you will slowly be drawn away from Him as you live more and more for yourself and your own selfish desires. Life will soon become full of too-lates. Those opportunities may never return.
When you number your days, however, you are cautious and careful with how you spend your time because you have a heart of wisdom. A heart that pursues opportunities will make you more like Christ, radiant in the image of God.
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Ephesians 5:15-16
Living without keeping eternity in mind is foolish. Life is short. After this life, you will come face-to-face with eternity where you will be forever with God or forever separated from Him. You may come to the end of your life more quickly than you think.
The Good News
The Apostle Peter reminds us of the shortness of our lives:
As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:24-25
The Good News is that you don’t have to be separated from God forever. When you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and repent of your sin, you are admitting that you can’t save yourself. Instead, you are relying on Him to save you.
The Good News is that He died for you and rose from the dead. What this means is that even though you are a sinner, you can be made righteous, completely cleansed inside from all of your sin so you can share in an eternal inheritance with Him. That is incredibly good news!
Spend your time on what matters for eternity. Seize the opportunities to increase your knowledge about your God-given gifts, build relationships, and serve others. Number your days by keeping in mind life is short so that you may gain a heart of wisdom.
Most importantly, be ready for eternity by choosing Jesus to be your Savior before the last tick of the clock, your final heartbeat.
Sparkler #1: Prayer
Ask God to provide opportunities with
Sparkler #2: Action
How could you use your time more wisely? Replace time-wasters in your life with things you can do that have eternal value.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
Open your eyes. Look for ways to increase your knowledge about your talent. Look for those who may need a new friend by asking them to get together for coffee or lunch. And look for ways to serve others by meeting a need.
Kimberly Moore is a vintage costume jewelry expert, blogger, speaker, and author of Beauty in a Life Repurposed. To learn more, visit her website at kingdomsparkle.com.
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