Where Does the Time Go?
Do you remember thinking someone was just old when they said, “The older you get the faster time goes?” Either I am just old or age does not really have much to do it. I think as we get older we realize how precious time is and we begin to understand its value. The Word of God shows the value and swiftness of time. Paul tells us to redeem the time because the days are evil (Eph 5:16; Col 4:5). James reminds us of the uncertainty of time when he exhorts believers not to make plans without seeking the Lord, and that our lives are but a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:13–17). Job certainly recognized the swiftness and frailty of time (Job 9:25, 14:2).
A lot of people have more money or talent than I do, but nobody has more time. Time is the great equalizer, we all have 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. The difference often times between glorifying the Lord in our loves and spiritual mediocrity is how we spend our time. Yes I said spend, time is a commodity that we need to spend wisely. Many start the New Year making all kinds of resolutions (concrete, measurable goals are a better route) and I would argue how we use our time should receive significant attention. Dave Ramsey often says concerning money, “Tell your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.” On that same note we should “Tell our time where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
In this post I want to deal with the “wondering where it went” portion of that phrase. The next post (when it comes out is dependent on how much time I have to work on it J) presents several tips on how to “tell our time where to go.” A big step in guarding our time, redeeming the time, and creating more efficiency with our time is recognizing what I call “Time Stealers”.
- Sleep: Of course I am not saying do not sleep. But how much sleep do you really need? Are you sleeping more than you should? Are you just lazy? We have been told we need a solid 8 hours of sleep a night but many people can function just as well on 6 hours. Get the sleep you need, but get up and start the day. The Proverbs speak much about the dangers of too much sleep. We will spend close to a third of our lives sleeping, but let us not over do it!
- Television: A recent report showed that the average American watches somewhere between four and five hours of movies and TV shows PER DAY! Think about this, the average American watches over 30 hours of television per week, and over 1,600 hours per year. Take that one step further over the course of a life-span of seventy years and the average American spends more than 13 years of his life in front of a TV screen. Is this really “redeeming the time” or the best way to build the Kingdom. We have to avoid legalism but we need to ask these questions.
- Phones/Tablets: The same article shares that the average “screen” time for an American is over 10 hours per day. I will let you do your own math on that one, but it comes to nearly 30 years of our lives consuming media through screens. There is much content available that is edifying and redeeming but we must guard against unredeemed time and pay attention to how our time is spent.
A few reminders:
You do not have to respond every time your device makes a noise. Alerts can be muted or even turned off. The world will not end!
Time spent endlessly scrolling social media often times can be more effectively used.
The makers of game apps are good at what they do and desire to get you “hooked” on their game.
Always avoid unwholesome or questionable content, it can never be redeeming. Paul wrote,
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Phil 4:8)
- Over-scheduling: One final time stealer that I would like to point out is that many of us just try to do too much! Oswald Sanders stated, “Often the pressure a spiritual leader feels comes from assuming tasks that God has not assigned.” Many men and women over-schedule their lives at work, at church, and even in their hobbies. Many families even add stress to their lives by over-scheduling their children’s extracurricular activities. There are many good and wholesome activities and even ministries, but God has not called us to participate in all of them.
Guard against these time stealers, pay attention to where your time is going! We must seek to spend our time in the way that brings the greatest glory to our Father who is in heaven. The next post presents some tips in how to use the time we have more efficiently.
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Eph 5:15–16)
 Jaqueline Howard, “Americans devote more than 10 hours a day to screen time, and growing,” http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/30/health/americans-screen-time-nielsen/ (Accessed January 5, 2017)
 J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, (Chicago: Moody, 2007), 97.