But When It Comes to Time, What is Important?

How do you decide what is a good use of your time?  Is there a good use of time and a bad use of time?  The author of Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.”  (Ecc. 3:1)  So, does that mean there is a time to play video games and a time to eat junk food and a time just to sit around idly waiting for inspiration to hit?  A time to hang out?  A time to shop?  There are so many ways to spend one’s time.  Yet as a wise man once said, “Time is our only non-renewable resource.”  Once it’s spent, it’s gone.  You can never retrieve it nor redeem it if you have spent it badly.

I think that’s a bit of what’s behind the politician who announces his/her retirement in order to spend more time with his/her family.  It takes time to be a successful politician but a day comes when you realize that you’ve spent so much time being successful that you have neglected something much more important.

Not too long ago, I used to say that watching shows like “Entertainment Tonight” was a good use of time because so much of what we need to understand about young people needs to be viewed through the eyes of their culture . . . the movies they are going to see, the bands and singers they are listening to, the electronic games they are playing . . . whatever . . .  But you know, that really wasn’t a good use of time, even though I could listen while I was washing the supper dishes.  But, then again, is such multi-tasking ever a good use of time?  And, after all, who really needs to know what color Oprah’s dress was or who went to what party on Oscar night.

Some would say that we intrinsically know what is a good use and a bad use of time and maybe that is true.   But, even if we know, we’re not listening to what’s inside us.  With the advent of cell phones, we can be on the phone every waking hour and when we’re asleep that little piece of technology can still collect our messages.  But is it really a good use of time to always be on the phone?  You can watch sports twenty-four hours a day and there are those who try.  But is that really a good use of time?  We know it would be really great for our kids to take the time and sit down to supper together every night.  It could make such a difference in their lives and ours.  But do we?  You really don’t need to take a time management survey to determine whether you are making good or bad use of the time God has given you.
The Psalmist wrote: “All the days ordained to me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  (Ps. 139:16). You don’t have all the time in the world.  So use the time you have wisely.  Using the time we have been given is a very good and godly thing.  The Psalmist also wrote: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  (Ps. 90:12)

Are you praying enough?  Reading God’s Word regularly?  Are you spending enough time with your spouse and children?  Other family?  Friends?  Are you taking time for yourself, to catch a breath and assess how you are doing? Is it time to work on what the Psalmist called “a heart of wisdom?” Perhaps, for you, only time will tell.  But then again, what time is it anyway?

About the author

As the Director of LCMS Youth Ministry, Terry Dittmer seeks to advocate for young people and to empower young people to be God’s people in the world and to empower people to “confess” their faith in celebratory and expressive ways. Terry and his wife, Cherie, have five adult children.
View more from Terry

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