John Randolph said, “Time is at once the most precious and the most perishable of all possessions.” We often talk about “spending time” and that is a very accurate phrase. Besides meaning to pay out money, another definition of time is “to concentrate one’s time or energy on an activity; to pass time; to use up.” Each day each of us spends 24 hours which is 1,140 minutes which is 86,400 seconds. Like money itself, time can be spent and invested in that which is necessary and good and wise and wholesome . . . or it can be spent foolishly on that which is cheap and tawdry and harmful. Someone observed that time is a daily treasure attracting many robbers. Consider the following few sentences about time from Lloyd Cory, quoted by Charles Swindoll in his book, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart (p 71): “Time is significant because it is so rare. It is completely irretrievable. You can never repeat or relive it. There is no such thing as instant replay. That appears only on film. It travels alongside us every day, yet it has eternity wrapped up in it. Although this is true, time often seems relative, doesn’t it? For example, two weeks on a vacation is not at all like two weeks on a diet. Also, some people can stay longer in an hour than others can in a week! Ben Franklin once said of time, ‘. . . that it is the stuff life is made of.’ Time forms life’s building blocks. The philosopher Williams Jones said, ‘The great use of time is to spend it for something that will outlast it.’ ” No wonder then, that God’s timeless word admonishes us, “See then that you walk circumspectly (that is, carefully), not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
The year 2021 now stretches out before us. This year “time will fly” as swiftly as ever. For some it will seem to go faster than for others. As a good brother in Christ once told me, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.” Not really, but older people will tell you it feels that way. An unknown author said, “When as a child I laughed and wept, time crept; When as a youth I dreamed and talked, time walked; When I became a full grown man, time ran; And later as older I grew, time flew.” Soon I shall find while traveling on, time gone.” Like coal and oil, each moment of time is a non-renewable resource – once used up, gone forever to never be replaced. And our time on earth will run out. In the words of the ancient inspired wise man Ecclesiastes 3:2 there is “a time to be born and a time to die.” Death, of course is not the end, for the Bible further declares that “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 NIV). Since 1939, the beautiful but haunting words of “Into Our Hands” (Ruth Johnson Carruth) have urged Christians to think about how we are spending the treasure we call time: “Swiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages, Swiftly the hours are changing to years; How are we using God’s golden moments, Shall we reap glory, Shall we reap tears?” The year 2021 will be filled with 525,600 golden moments. Each will hold potential for prayer, kindness, sharing God’s love, and serving others. Where will you spend eternity? The truth is, you won’t “spend” eternity. In the hereafter you will live somewhere forever – with God or apart from Him. Whether we reap glory or tears depends on how we use the treasure we call time. Remember – you are spending your time, and can never get it back. Think about it, and spend it wisely.