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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, November 09 2023

Time flies: how to make the most of it

Moses indicated the typical lifespan in his day was 70-80 years (Psalm 90:10). With the brevity of life in mind, he made this request of God: "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (verse 12).

The Bible often emphasizes the brevity and fragility of life. King David wrote: "Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You. Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor" (Psalm 39:4-5).

How we use our time says a lot about our character and priorities. The Bible places heavy emphasis on seeking wisdom. "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom" (Proverbs 4:7). And a big part of wisdom is knowing the value of time, learning to make the most of it and avoiding improper priorities.

Both the Bible and history offer examples of accomplishments by people who used their time well. Proper amounts of time allotted to sleep, exercise, good nutrition, time with family and worshiping God help us to be more productive. God revealed the weekly schedule man is supposed to follow in the Fourth Commandment: "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work" (Exodus 20:9-10).

Managing our time well becomes highly important when we recognize God has called us to a life of serving Him and serving others. We must be willing to unselfishly sacrifice our time (John 15:13). Jesus set an example for us—not just in His final hours of supreme sacrifice, but throughout His earthly ministry in constantly giving of His time to help and teach others: "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work" (John 9:4). "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work" (John 4:34).

Paul also emphasized the seriousness of making the most of our time and opportunities: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16). We don’t know how long we will live. James warns us: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit,' whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that'" (James 4:13-15).

The need to stay spiritually prepared is also illustrated by the parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). Having an ample supply of oil represents being prepared. The bridegroom represents Jesus Christ returning to marry His bride, the Church. The five foolish virgins represent those who will be unprepared for Christ's return.

Jesus repeatedly promised that one day He will suddenly return to the earth to set up His Kingdom (Matthew 24:27). He warned that when that day approaches, most people will be spiritually unprepared—like the people in the days of Noah "until the flood came and took them all away" (verses 39). He urged, "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (verse 44).

Jesus warned that when a person thinks the end is far off, whether it is our death or Christ’s return, he tends to procrastinate and let down spiritually (Luke 21:34-36). God is on our side. He does not want anyone to perish, but "desires all men to be saved" and receive "everlasting life" (1 Timothy 2:3-4; John 3:16). We should make the most of each and every day, and the time God has given us.