YOUNG ADULT

A QUICK QUESTION: WHAT IS TIME?

That question was probably a bit harder to answer than you thought, right? Time is one of those things that is instantly and intuitively understood, yet almost impossible to define. One succinct

description of time is “the thing that clocks measure,” which is as good a

description as any, but it still doesn’t quite explain WHAT it is. Scientists

and philosophers continue to search for an inclusive definition of time, but it

continues to elude them. One of the things we can, however, firmly conclude

about time is that we have a finite amount of it available to us, and

everything we do in our lives is bound within that finite amount of time. Alan Laiken said “Time equals Life.

Therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master

your life.” This quote is even more meaningful from a Christian standpoint,

since we are called to be stewards of all the finite resources that God has

given to us...including time.



When we are fully surrendered to God and are able to discern His will in these times or opportunities, then we are well on the way towards proper time-stewardship."

Geoffrey

A STEWARD OF TIME?

Usually when we

hear the word “stewardship,” we immediately think about the stewardship of

money and other tangible things. Yet oftentimes, we overlook the importance of

proper time management, which is an integral part of stewardship. After all, it

takes time to get an education and begin a career, or to build a successful

business from scratch. It takes time to earn money, accrue resources and

assets, and generate reward. It also takes time to do the Lord’s work,

evangelize, serve the church, and fulfill the gospel commission. Yet, quite

often when the call goes out for us to work as servants for God in any

capacity, one of the most common excuses is “I don’t have enough time to

serve!” Is this a valid excuse? Don’t we all have the same gift of 24 hours to

work with each day? How can we truly manage to balance our time? How can we

achieve both God’s objectives for His church, and our own objectives for

further stewardship?



BALANCING MY PRIORITIES

One of the most

illuminating Biblical discourses on time is found in Ecclesiasties 3, which

begins, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the

sun,” and goes on to list many of those purposes. The key to proper time

management is to recognize when these times and purposes present themselves in

our lives and to act accordingly, without fear and with confidence. When we are

fully surrendered to God and are able to discern His will in these times or

opportunities, then we are well on the way towards proper time-stewardship. We will

gain a proper balance in time spent for God’s service, and time spent for

personal development and fulfilment. There are four things to keep in mind as

we become better stewards of time:



We make time for

that which is important to us. A rational person will always choose to make

time for the thing which she sees to be more important and relevant to her

interests. That leads to the question,

“Where do our interests lie, and should they lie where they do?” Do we cry, “I don’t have enough time,”

because our outside interests are crowding out the time for service to God? It

may be sports, it may be social events, it may be our work or our careers, it

may be TV programs or videogames, but whatever that thing may be, are we making

it more important than God? The question may also be asked of Church work:

“Are we making church work more important than God’s work?” I know that

Sabbath is often the busiest day of the week for me, so I have to ask myself

the question, “Is church work more important than spending time with God

Himself?” Where our hearts lie, there our priorities will also lie.



We need to learn

where our limits lie, and balance what we can do with the tasks we take on.

Many persons have a strong aversion to the word “no.” They agree willingly (or unwillingly) to anything they

are asked to do, either because they sincerely believe their name is Superman

or Superwoman, or because they don’t want to seem rude and are therefore

“unable” to say, “No.” Eventually they take on more than they can manage, they

buckle under pressure, and some, or all, of the tasks they took on will remain

unfinished, or poorly done. An accomplished time-manager will not only know

which tasks are important and which require time, she will also know herself

and the maximum workload that she can manage. Moses was one Bible leader who

needed help with this matter. His

father-in-law, Jethro, came to visit him (Ex. 18). Jethro saw Moses sitting

from morning till night as judge for the entire nation of Israel. He pointed

out that Moses was on a fast track to burn-out. Jethro suggested that he

delegate authority, and give himself more time to focus on the more important

matters. Many of us need to follow Jethro’s advice in our management of time,

and learn when to say, “No,” when to ask for help, and delegate some of our

duties.



WHERE YOUR HEART IS...

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”

We need to

prioritize the tasks we choose to take on. Let’s imagine that it’s 8 am on

Sunday morning. I have laundry to wash, and I also have to study for an exam

scheduled for Monday. Both tasks are important, both tasks need to be done

today, and I have enough time to do both tasks properly. However, I choose to

spend 8 hours washing my laundry, and 30 minutes studying for my exam. Would

that be a wise decision? Many times, people will devalue the time

available for their chosen duties, and

spend too much time on things that don’t matter. Fifteen minutes of Bible

reading versus 3 hours of “World of Warcraft.” Thirty minutes of worship versus

2 hours of watching “As The World Turns.” A 10-second phone-call home versus a

whole afternoon of political debating with friends. Six hours of sleep on a

Sabbath morning, instead of attending church.

M. Scott Peck said, “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your

time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” When we

realize how valuable we are to God, then we will be able to place the same

value on the time He has given us, which will drive us to properly use it for

Him.



GIVING THE GIFT

God transcends

time, so His requests of us are for OUR benefit: Time spent in service to God

is not done for Him, since He doesn’t exist in our time-space continuum. Time

spent in service to God is its own reward to us. It fulfils us and gives even more meaning to

a life which follows the time-stream towards the inescapable points of death,

the return of Jesus Christ and eternal life. When we think about the fact that

only what we do for Christ will last, that should really nudge our time

management up into the re-prioritizing zone. We cannot afford to spend our time

on things that take away from God’s leading in our lives.



To answer our

question, “What is time?” might be difficult, but at least we know that time is

God’s gift to us. As we live in this moment right now, let us pledge, by God’s

grace, to be true stewards of the time He has given us.

The Gaither Vocal Band sings: 

"We have this moment

to hold in our hands

And to touch as it slips

through our fingers like sand

Yesterday’s gone and

tomorrow may never come

But we have this moment

today!"

Geoffrey Marshall
Geoffrey Marshall is 32 years old and proudly

Jamaican. He is involved in Adventist

Youth and Personal Ministries work at the Trench Town SDA Church. He works as a

hydro-geologist. He enjoys reading and traveling, and is also involved in

Toastmasters International.

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