The Precious Gift of Time

“Use your time in the best way you can” (Colossians 4:5 ICB). 

I recently had a nice visit with a young man at my church.  He told me that he was about to graduate high school and study engineering in college so he could “make a lot of money.”  I told him there is nothing wrong with making a lot of money.  I reminded him that the founder of the Methodist church, John Wesley, had a profound statement in this regard.  Wesley stated, “Having, first, gained all you can, and, secondly saved all you can, then give all you can.”

Clearly, Wesley was teaching that money should be used wisely and ultimately as a tool, along with our time and talents, to help build up the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).  However, I think there is deeper component to Wesley’s quote which is related to the goal of my young friend.  Money is not our greatest resource.  We can always make more money. 

Time is our greatest resource.  Colossians 4:5 says, “Use your time in the best way you can.”  Time is our most precious resource.  It’s far more important and precious than money. We can get more money, but we can’t get more time.  In the parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18), the king demanded payment from a servant that owed him a substantial amount of money.  The servant asked for the gift of more time.  Do people on their death bed ask for more time or money? 

Our Lord and Savior had much to say, and model, about time.  Jesus was mission minded.  I am drawn to His words to His mother at the wedding festival in Cana. “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4).  Matthew 10:14 further supports the idea that our time is precious.  “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”  As Christians we are called into ministry, but we are not called to waste our time. 

Jesus used His time to prepare Himself and all of us for eternity.  We would be wise to use our time with the understanding that all which can be seen is temporary and is only useful in preparing us for eternity. 

The parable of the talents is widely interpreted as encouragement for wise investment of our resources.  Do we have a greater resource than our time?  The reward in heaven will surely be great for those that have wisely used their time on earth!

The Bible teaches how we should use our time: “My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:24).   Your work, and mine, is the Great Commission.  We each have a unique role to play which can be discerned through study, prayer, and talking with your pastor. 

I have long felt that nothing brings more joy to the enemy than to see people with great potential for ministry wasting their time on tasks that have little or no impact on the Kingdom.  The right next step for all of us is to look at how we spend our time and then ask, “What is the impact of my activities in terms of bringing others to eternal life?  Then, join me to use our answers to prayerfully refocus our time.

Prayer:  Dear God, Thank you for the precious gift of time.  Help us to discern Your will for our time and to boldly partner with you in ministry to live a life in You, through You, and for You.  Then, may we so blessed as to hear the words, “well done good and faithful servant” upon seeing Your face at the time of our healing.  Amen. 

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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