Living an Abundant Life: Time (Psa. 90:10-12)

Make the Most of Life: Time

An Exhortation to Dawn

Listen to the exhortation of the dawn.
Look well to this day! For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the verities (fundamental truths)
and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth;
The glory of action;
The splendor of beauty.
For yesterday is but a dream;
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness;
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore to this day,
Such is the salutation of the dawn.

Today comes only once. It is my day of opportunity. Carpe diem. What I do with time as it momentarily comes will completely determine my success and happiness in life’s entire struggle. May I not forget that the world was made in six days. If I lose a day, I lose something out of which my own little world is made…

It is an illusion of life to believe that time is just what happens between paydays. Instead, it is the vibrating heart of activity that exists between birth and death. If we waste time, we’re wasting life. If we kill time, we are committing slow suicide.

There was at one time a sundial in the yard of Harvard University with an inscription: “On this minute hangs eternity.” It was there to remind the students of the world’s most priceless commodity - time. Every moment is pregnant with possibilities. Every hour is bursting with opportunity.

And if tomorrow shall be sad
Or never come at all, I’ve had
At least today.
And let no shadow of tomorrow,
Nor sorrow from the dead yesterday
Gainsay my happiness today!
Yeoman Shield

If we use our time wisely, time deals gently with us. If we abuse our time, it will treat us harshly. Procrastination is the thief of time. It is also, often, the thief of quality.

The psalmist tells us in Psalms 90:12 that we should “number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” We do not know how many years we will live so we should fill our days with quality - not entertainment and self-serving and partying - but quality. “He lives long who lives well. All else is but life flung away,” (Horatius Bonar).

That same Psalm tells us that, generally speaking, we can expect to live to be 70-80 years old (90:10). Normally, we have time enough to accomplish what we desire and be happy with our lives - if we use our time wisely. If someone were to live to be 60 years old and then passes, we might say, “They sure lived a rich life.” Why? Because they treated time like a commodity and use their time wisely. So, we need to count today and make today count.

The pages of the calendar only turn forward. There is no turning back the pages of time. There is no “undoing” what we have done in the past. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is not yet here. We only have today. We need to seize the day, not before it comes - that’s borrowing the worries of tomorrow (Matt. 6:34) - nor after it passes, but moment by moment as it becomes a present reality. If I do, then I’ve learned to live.

If I take too long to ponder,
Opportunity may wander.
Yesterday’s a bag of sorrow;
No man ever finds tomorrow.

The wise man says, “Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1). This was the error fo the rich farmer in Luke 12:20. He let time run out on him because he was focused on less important things.

Contrast that with the lifestyle of Jesus Christ: “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4). My point is this: take time to live! Take time to worship! Take time to serve! Make your life count. Don’t squander yourself!

We need to take time to think. It is the source of human strength and the measure of a man. We are all the sum of our thoughts - “as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7). We all need to take time to think. The wise man also said in Proverbs 4:26: “Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established.”

We need to take time to plan. My dad use to say (I don’t know how many times he said this): “Put your brain into gear before you put your mouth into motion.” There’s truth in that and it applies to our lives in general: put your brain into gear before you put your life into motion, on a daily basis. Solomon says, “Prepare plans by consultation, and make war by wise guidance” (Prov. 20:18). “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed” (Prov. 15:22).

We must take time to work. Work is the price of success and it is the price of happiness. Inspiration without perspiration is a failure. God created man to work and that was the first commandment God gave Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. We need to take time to work but we don’t need to let work take all of our time.

We must take time to play. It is the secret of refreshing ourselves. Jesus even took time to go alone by Himself, often to pray. Solomon also tells us that we need to enjoy the fruit of our work: Ecclesiastes 5:18-20: “Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.”

We must take time to read. Reading is fundamental. It is the foundation of knowledge. The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who can’t read! Learning from others, which is what reading does, at least reading non-fiction, makes life full, significant, and interesting. Reading can provide help for many problems and a refuge for many miseries. At the bare minimum, we ought to read the Bible, at least some every day. 1 Timothy 4:13: “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.” Then, translate that reading into daily living.

We must take time to be friendly. Being friendly makes friends (Prov. 18:24). Sometimes we introverts sit back and expect the extroverts to take the initiative to create a friendship. But it helps tremendously if we introverts take the first step, take the initiative, and create friendships with others.

We need to take time to help others. Life is simply too short, and too important, to be selfish. Paul challenges Christians to “not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).

We need to take the time to weep. Crying is an outlet for our feelings, the pressure-valve that releases emotions that are filling our hearts. God created us to weep, for various reasons. Paul tells Christians to weep with those who are weeping (Rom. 12:15).

We need to take time to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine. We ought to do something, watch something, read something from time to time in order to laugh, to see the brighter side of things. Solomon said, “A joyful heart is good medicine” (Prov. 17:22).

We need to take time to be thankful. It is the surest way to strengthen relationships, with family or strangers. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Col. 3:15).

Take time to investigate what is true. There is so much, so much false information that is spread on the internet - I may have even shared things that weren’t true. But it is better to be safe than sorry. God complimented the Berean Christians, calling them “more noble-minded” than those in Thessalonica, because they searched the Scriptures daily to see if the things being preached by Paul and Barnabas were true (Acts 17:11). Search and investigate and learn.

We must take time to serve God. That the summation of all of man (Ecc. 12:13). It is our whole duty: fear God and keep His commandments. When death comes and cuts off time, he is then ready for eternity - a whole new world!

What a life we have to live! What a future we have to anticipate!

Take home message: An hour has glory. Use each one wisely.


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