I often think on how much of our time is wasted on things that do not matter. Sometimes these things are unavoidable and just simply a part of life. Things like buying food, getting gas, running errands that life throws at all of us would fall into that category. But then there are those things that we do willfully and choose to do that aren’t necessities. Things like watching television (which is essentially staring at a box with a screen on it), scrolling down our news feeds on social media sites like facebook, playing video games, or spending vast amounts of time watching ultra cheesy movies or reading useless books like Twilight would fall into this category. And it is that second group of things we use our time for that I have been pondering in my heart lately.
People so often say things like they just don’t have time for things, or that there aren’t enough hours in the day, but when I look at myself as well as observe the world around me I see a very different reality. When I am working at local coffee shops the amount of people glued to their smart phones seems at times to be immeasurable. When I am mixing it up with the many different groups of people of which my ministry and current lifestyle allows me to do, most of the time it seems like most people would rather talk about sports, the latest television show that is trending now, or who has the most swag than talk about anything that has any real significance in the world or significance in eternity. Think I am wrong? Next time you are with a group of people for an extended period of time, as a mental exercise, try and keep track of how much time is spend conversing on things of real value versus how much time is spent on the meaningless. This of course would also require you to have a Biblical perspective on what is important in this life; to see things through the lens of the Scripture.But often times, even those of us who know Christ and believe the Bible to be the inerrant flawless Word of God and understand living with a Biblical perspective, don’t live our lives with such perspective. I believe this is why we have so many people wasting time on things that do not matter.
Yet at the same time, even though we do whatever we can not to think about it that much or avoid it altogether, I think we are painfully aware of the fact that we are all here on a limited time line. The Bible says that our lives are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14) Even one who doesn’t believe the Word of God can read that and honestly measure the truthfulness of it for every one of us.
I believe this reality is so troublesome to our inner person that it largely contributes to why we seem to waste more and more time on things that are meaningless and have no value. Let me explain. Subconsciously we all know we are on borrowed time and we want that time to be used for things that we deem to be important. But instead of learning what is truly of value and using our time on things of substance, like a bunch thoughtless sheep, we alternatively try and put meaning into things that have no real meaning and waste a whole lot of time doing it.
This is however, nothing new under the sun. Solomon the wisest of the wise even points this out in Ecclesiastes 6:12 when he said: “In the few days of our meaningless lives, who knows how our days can best be spent? Our lives are like a shadow…” Sadly but truthfully it seems that most of us don’t even know how we should spend our time even though we know it will be over quick. Our shadows will quickly fade into the darkness as the sun sets on our lives.
Thankfully there is hope to truly learn to grow in spending more of our time on things that matter and enhance eternity. First, I believe we need to have the same heart as the Psalmist did in Psalm 39 when he cried out to God in verse 4 saying: “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.” Running towards this truth rather than trying to avoid it keeps us conscious of how we are spending our time; who and at we are investing it in.
From there we need to truly be people of prayer asking the Lord to reveal to us what is important to Him and how we should indeed be using our time. And yes it may even be how you use something that you once used in a meaningless way, like facebook. Maybe you need to check in on people, send them a message of encouragement, rebuke, or simply a hello. Whatever it is or may be that God would have you spending your time on, you’ll only know it and hear it if you live as a person of prayer. Praying without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:17) This means praying beyond that isolated prayer time we have and including God in every part of your day and conversing with Him throughout the day as you go through the busyness and meaningless toils of life. An ongoing and continuous dialog with the One who is Lords and is Sovereign over all leads us away from wasting our time on the meaningless.
And lastly, we need to be in in His Word…Reading it, studying it, memorizing it, meditating on it, so we can have it permeating through us as we go through our days and redeem the meaningless things in life as we begin to see them through the lens of the Scriptures and pour ourselves into others just as Christ did.
So keep your eyes open to the borrowed time you have been given and are living in. Be a person of prayer. And be a man or woman who lives in and lives out the Bible in their lives. It is then that you will see your life being a life that is and has been spent focused on something beyond the temporal…beyond the walls of a self-absorbed narcissistic person that has no real impact…and beyond what any earthly history book could ever measure as the shadow of your life reverberates beyond its lifespan on this earth and into eternity. Bless you!