The Value of Time

August 8, 2010

Time is our most precious resource.  Greater than all the troves of gold from ancient Egypt; Greater than all the precious stones of Solomon’s temple; Greater than the riches of oil fields, the fruits of the harvest, and more valuable than every piece of land in the world; for it is one thing many people want more of, but cannot own, barter, or acquire.

Time is a gift from God.  It is not something we earn.  It can neither be decreased, nor increased.  Time is.  Time was.  Time after Time.  God alone determines our appointed time here on earth and the boundaries in which we live (Acts 17:26).

I watch Kavin sleep in the pack and play in the living room.  I enjoy my time with him so much because I know tomorrow he will be a little bit bigger, a little bit older, and a little less my baby boy.  I know he will always be my son,  but these moments are precious.  Every second I can hold him and kiss him, make him laugh or calm his tears, these times are a gift from God.

Time is constantly spent. It cannot be renewed, reused, or recycled.  I learned this simple lesson on a walk. 

I started up the gravel stone driveway towards Aunt Janice and Uncle Charlie’s tool and die shop in the back roads of northeast Pennsylvania.  I stopped, took a few paces back and retraced my steps meticulously, one foot on one rock, the other on the next… only to discover a simple life truth.  Time cannot go backwards.  Every moment lived is non-returnable, non-exchangeable, non-refundable.  I tried to re-live the previous moment, but it just becomes another moment lived. 

Time is not guaranteed. It is not owed to us.  It is not automatically granted out of fairness or a sense of right.  We can see this every day as little ones die, or parents leave their children.  I saw it on the day dad died.

I drove passed Forrest Lawn Cemetary in Hollywood Hills and sadness welled up tears.  Dad’s bones are there.  His time was spent.  Images flash up from the memory drive in my mind.  Walking arm and arm around Hollywood and Highland, him explaining to me the engineering challenges of building the landmark.  Talking hours on end at restaurants about life, love, and religion.  I have a special treasure box in my heart where I store those tender moments with dad.  I pick them up and hold them often.  Had I known the last meal we shared would be the last, I would have stayed there all night… the next time is not guaranteed.  The next moment is not owed to me.  I wish I could cash in a rein-check at the “time store” to receive one more night with dad.

Ecclesiastes teaches us there is a time for everything (Chapter 3); A time to live and a time to die; A time to mourn and a time to rejoice.  Acts 17:26 gives me rest in the assurance that dad’s time came to an end in the right time, however my loss teaches me to value each moment more deeply with my loved ones still living.

Time is to be used wisely. I heard a saying in a sermon somewhere along the line, “you may live 60 more seconds, or 60 more years.”  I hope 60 more years, but am I living this moment as if I am to live 60 more seconds?

As I write this, I have but only lived thirty years, yet in God’s generosity of each day, how have I spent His investment?

“You can’t take it with you” is another familiar quip I picked up along the way.  Well, what can I “take with me?”  My house? No.  My job? No.  My clothes, cars, savings, garden, tools, crafts, pictures, writings, and even my Bible?  Nope.  Then what? People.  People.  People.  The only things I can bring to the other side are people.  The only way they can come with me is if they know and follow whom I know and follow.

We are to be very careful, then, how we live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16). So as I make my decisions today in how to invest my time, whether I have 60 more seconds or 60 more years, Lord please help me to live with eternity in mind, please help me value the time.


One comment

  1. Seana, this is one of your best columns… and such an important message, since we, in this culture, seem to be frivolous with just about everything we have been gifted with… we definitely do need to make each moment count… love you, my friend!

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