Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Making Every Hour Count

For the first time in many months, my family and I enjoyed a weekend with no obligations! No sports practices, no ballgames, no travel. Just time, to do whatever we wanted. It was a strange phenomenon in the Miles household.

So on Saturday, we spent time doing all kinds of things, just because we had the freedom to do so, and when Sunday morning arrived, I was sleeping like a baby when dawn crept into my bedroom. I yawned, looked at the clock and prepared to force myself out of my warm bed, when I remembered - I had an extra hour due to the end of daylight savings time! What a glorious moment. :)

I have never been so excited to leisurely get up and savor a hot cup of coffee overflowing with my beloved peppermint mocha creamer! As I enjoyed my bonus hour, and my coffee, I began to think about how precious the gift of time really is.

I then remembered the verse from Ephesians 5:15-16, which says,"Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil." (HCSB)

In this passage of the Bible, Paul is suggesting that God's people pay careful attention to their behavior, and steer away from sinful conduct. He is calling them to unite together by setting themselves apart and living a life that is within God's will.

But then we read that Paul calls us to be wise not only in our conduct, but in our time, and how we spend our time. He is reminding us of the importance of time - because once time is spent, we can never get it back.

In these verses Paul says that we are to "make the most" of our time. He is imploring us to use our time wisely, and embrace the opportunities to spend our time doing things that matter and that glorify God.

What I thought was very interesting, was that the reason Paul gave for encouraging people to spend their time wisely, was because "the days are evil". According to a recent Lifeway article that I read, the Greek word "evil" refers to "that which is wicked in a moral sense".

What Paul is really saying in this verse, is that we must believe that every day is full of time, and full of temptations to be distracted from focusing on the things that are right in God's eyes - the ways that He would have us spend our time.

Paul is encouraging us to consider whether or not our time is being well spent every day - based on Gods perspective, and not our own.

There is obviously no set criteria for what justifies if time is being well spent. In fact, the reality is that most people spend the majority of their time at work, out of obligation and a necessity. However, outside of work or normal daily obligations, Paul is calling us to ask ourselves if our time is really well spent according to Gods instructions.

Are we spending time doing pointless things, mindless things, pleasurable things, maybe even sinful things.... or are we spending our time doing things that impact others, glorify God, create family unity and a foster a stronger faith?

Are we spending time focusing on things that really matter, or do we typically devote our time on less important things - like watching television, following sports scores, reading magazines, surfing the Internet, or chatting on Facebook?

Not to say that we don't all need some down time - time to just relax, not think about anything, rest and enjoy ourselves. But Paul is encouraging us to examine if our time is well spent on a consistent daily/weekly/monthly basis.

Paul is compelling us to look at the patterns of how we spend our most precious commodity.

Think about how you can best use the extra hour we were given this weekend.Write down something important that you would like to accomplish in that extra hour, and hold yourself accountable for meeting that goal.

We can also can take this thought a step further, considering that we are kicking off the season of year that revolves around lots of time consuming holiday activities. Make a conscious decision today about how you are going to devote your time in the coming weeks, and ask God to help you stay focused and committed to spending your time on the things that really matter.

“Don’t count every hour in the day,
make every hour in the day count.”

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Kim Sullivan said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you so much for your insightful words. This is an area that I consistently struggle with...need some time to reflect, but your words made a difference. Thank you!

Sandie said...

For many years I kept asking God to please give me just a few more hours in the day. One day I felt God speak to my heart telling me "I have given you as many hours as I want you to have each day and you will accomplish exactly what needs to be accomplished in that amount of time if you "trust in me with all your heart". To this day He has not let me down on that promise. Many days I don't know how I am able to finish all that I do in the amount of time I have and then there are the days when I have enought time to even "stop and smell the beautiful roses" blooming especially for me.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thank you, Tracie.

Jennifer Dougan