Day: Tue, 19 Nov2013

If I Only Had the Time!

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Grandfather Clock

LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
Psalm 39:4-5

 

In accordance with our time keeping system, each new day that the Lord allows us to stay here on earth brings with it a deposit into our life account of 24 hours of time. That is an equivalent of 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds of time for us to spend. How we spend the time that we have been given is strictly our choice, however, regardless of how we interpret the amount of the deposit, as hours, minutes, or seconds, there is one condition that must be met, and that is the entire deposit must be spent today. There can be no residual funds. At the end of the day when the Accountant balances the books, the balance in our account should be zero, and the next day a new deposit of 24 hours of time will be posted to our account.

So, what is this “time” that we speak of? Is it literal or is it merely figurative? Is it something that is tangible that we can reach out and grab and hold onto, or do we only sense that it is there and that it is constantly ticking away? Albert Einstein is quoted as having said, “The  only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Harvey MacKay,  a business person, columnist, and author of such best sellers as “Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt,” described time as follows: “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”

It is interesting to note that even though the same daily amount of time is deposited into each of our personal life accounts, there are still some people who feel that somehow their account must have been robbed or the deposit of time into the accounts of others is larger than their own. When asked to do something, these are they who constantly reply with, “If I only had the time!” or “I don’t have time!”

If everyone has been given the same amount of time to spend each day, how can anyone possibly say, “I don’t have the time”? It is all a matter of setting priorities and managing the time that we have been given.

We are all guilty at one time or another of putting all of our efforts into accomplishing trivial things in life instead of focusing on the overall bigger picture. As a result, we end up spending a lot of our valuable time on the things that matter least, and very little time on the things that matter most. Oftentimes we busy ourselves each hour of the day with things that we feel need to be accomplished, however, in all of our efforts of being busy, perhaps we need to pause for just a moment and ask ourselves the question, “What have I really accomplished?’ Sometimes we may be surprised to find that we really haven’t accomplished as much as we thought, or in some cases perhaps we really haven’t accomplished anything at all. We were just busy. Someone once gave this wise counsel, “Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”

The Scriptures teach us that setting priorities and managing our time is to our great advantage. In Psalm 39:4 we hear the Psalmist exclaim, “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am.” Then in Psalm 90:9-12 he gives us this gentle reminder:

9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.
10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:15-17 gave us this counsel: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

Each of our days are filled with many activities. It is those activities that are the steps toward achieving the most of what God wants us to do for Him. And so, setting priorities and managing our time all revolves around our being able to manage our daily activities and not allowing our daily activities to manage us. We are taught in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 that there is a time and a purpose for all things:

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

I will close my remarks on this matter by citing an example from the pages of Scripture that beautifully illustrate the importance of wisely investing the time that we have been given and the end results of managing our time poorly and having our priorities set in the wrong order. I invite you to turn with me to Luke 14:16-24. As we read these words, think of how this example can be applied to our own lives.

16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

There is perhaps much more that I could say about this matter – if I only had the time! For now, I will leave these thoughts with you humbly in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Reflections of Thanks Giving

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Thanksgiving Horn of Plenty
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4)

Thanksgiving Family DinnerTraditionally, in the United States, every fourth Thursday in November is set aside for the celebration of what is known as Thanksgiving Day. It is a day of Thanksgiving parades on television in the morning, followed by the excitement of football games in the afternoon. It is a day when family, friends, and loved ones gather together to share a bounteous meal, enjoy the company of one another, and share the love that they have for one another.

But, amidst all the parades, football games, and bounteous meals, Thanksgiving Day should be a day for pausing to give thanks and to reflect upon the many blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon each of us. It is a time to give thanks, not only for the grandiose blessings that are ours to enjoy, but for the smallest of blessings as well. We are admonished in the Scriptures, “In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). James teaches us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). And the Apostle Paul gives this counsel for daily living as recorded in Colossians 3:15-17:

It is a good thing to give thanks. . . .And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Family PrayerThanksgiving Day should not be the only day that we pause to give thanks, but every day of our lives should be a day of Thanks Giving. Each day we should as the Psalmist declared, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 107:1).

As we reflect upon Thanksgiving seasons of old, and expect the one before us,  I am sure that each of us has many things that we are thankful for. I am personally thankful for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of the True and the Living God. It is He who guides my footsteps and sustains me each day. I am thankful for the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ and for the things that I have learned that help me in my daily walk. I am also thankful for the loving support of family and friends. I know that I do not express my appreciation often enough for each of them, but they are truly the wind beneath my wings. And I am also thankful for health and strength necessary to carry on each day.

These are just some of the things that I am thankful for, not only on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of my life as I strive to make each day of my personal life a day of Thanks Giving. None of us should ever take any of our blessings for granted. We should ever be mindful of the words of the Psalmist when he said, “So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.” (Psalm 79:13).