BRADY COLUMN: Making the most of time

Published 9:30 am Saturday, June 10, 2023

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If I were to ask you “What time is it?” many of you would look at your watches, but if I were to ask you “What is time?” that would be different. Oh we know what we mean when we talk about “making time,” “saving time,” “spending time,” or “killing time.” But what is time? Even though time has been defined as “a measurable period during which events occur,” there is a mystery about time. The more we try to identify it, it is gone. But we can identify with the apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians, Paul says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise making the most of the time.”(Ephesians 5:15,16). Time is precious and God takes it seriously.

So why should we make the most of our time?

First, because time is a gift from God! The most important fact about time is that God owns all of it-our time and our times. Consequently, every day is sacred. Every moment is a gift and should be productive of good. The great runner Eric Liddell was a person who understood life as a gift from God. He was favored to win the 100 yard dash in the 1924 Olympics, and the hopes of the British Isles were riding on him. But when a qualifying heat for the event was scheduled for Sunday, Liddell respectfully withdrew from the race. Sunday was the “Lord’s Day” for him, and that day was to be kept holy: no work, no sports. His country was counting on him to run, and he desperately wanted to run. But in his view, faith and compromise could not coexist. Eric Liddell had a passion for running alright, but he had an even greater passion for God. He knew time was a gift from his Heavenly Father.

Second, we are to make the most of our time because time at best is brief! An old friend and former parishioner called me on the phone and invited me to come to see him the next time I was in his city. In the process of our conversation, I asked him how he was doing. He replied, “All the family is doing well. “I’m 82, my brother is 84, another is 86, and still another brother is 88, and our sister is also doing well. All of us are alive and I’m grateful. But then my friend said, “However, I am getting a little concerned about the “flight of time.” With his words the “flight of time,” my friend reminded me that time is a precious commodity and should not be wasted. The two things that enhance the value of time are its brevity and uncertainty.

Third, we are to make the most of our time because we tend to develop in the direction of the things to which we give our time! Someone has said that the way to judge a person is not to look her in the face but to get behind her to find out what she’s looking at. For example, if we are forever looking at dollar signs, we will likely be hard of heart and greedy in spirit. If we can only see dirt and ugliness, we will in all probably become critical and self-righteous. But on the other hand, if we hold God in focus, he will in turn likely become the master of our lives.

Finally, we are to make the most of our time because we need to be intentional about living in the lives of those who come after us! The truth is we are not limited to our own little span of years! Some of us will go on living in our children. Others will go on living in those they have invested in — in careers or education or causes or charities, So what kind of influence or legacy will we leave those coming after us? That’s certainly one of the things Paul is getting at — we ought to “make the most of our lives” for the sake of others. What will they think about when they think of us? “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time…”