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Be wise with your time

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Time is short

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalms 90:12, KJ2000)

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust does corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21, KJ2000)

 

Did you ever wake up and thought: “Man, I can’t believe it’s already this time”? Maybe you are surprised that it’s already Christmas season. Or a dreaded presentation that you thought is still “a while to go” now has highest priority on your schedule, because you are running out of time to prepare. Or maybe you look at your children and wonder: “How did they grow up so quickly?” Or maybe something positive like: “Wow, it’s already payday again. It feels like I just got paid last week.”

We all make these kind of experiences, don’t we? Time tends to fly by faster than we anticipated. I never met anyone who said: “You know, time goes by really, really slowly these days. I wish it would go by faster.” Maybe to little kids before their birthday or before Christmas. But I’ve never met an adult of 20 years or older who said something like this to me.

Many people live with a lot of regrets. They say things like “I wish I had spent more time with my children” or “I wish I would have spent more time having fun instead of wasting some of my best years by working around the clock”. Sometimes we recognize early enough that time is limited and can adjust our lives. But sometimes it’s too late. Now looking back I would have wanted to spend more time with my parents when I was a child. Waste less time in front of the TV. And enjoy and appreciate the nature more that I had back then, before moving to Shanghai.

I’m thankful that God intervened in my life while I still had the chance to make some major changes. I was 25 when I became a Christian, and I learned some very valuable lessons about time. Somehow, supernaturally, I already knew that “there has to be more to life than this”. I was about to finish my study and this one thought drove me crazy: “I’m going to start working soon, make money for a living, but I’ll be locked in that ‘work environment’ for the next 40 years. Then I’m going to retire. And then I’m going to die. There HAS to be more to life than THAT!” It was this thought that opened me up to searching for the meaning of life. And thankfully, Jesus drew me to Himself.

And at that point of my life, I slowly made some changes. Over the years, I asked myself a few questions that slowly but steadily changed my priorities and helped me do what really matters. Make the most of the limited time I have.

  1. I want to do something that makes a difference in eternity. If what I do today doesn’t build eternal treasures for me or for others, then I might reconsider whether this is the best use of my time.
  2. How can I go deeper with God today? If I don’t go deeper with God today, I won’t grow and still be the same person tomorrow. If I go deeper with God today, I’ll mature and can mature even more tomorrow. The difference will be staggering over months and years. How can I grow in Christ today?
  3. I recognize that my life can come to an end any day. If I knew that I was going to be with Jesus tomorrow, how would I spend today?
  4. Marriage: Both I and my wife will grow older. What are some of the things we won’t be able to do anymore once we are older? So let’s do these things while we can.
  5. Parenting is wonderful. But it won’t last. 20 years from now my children will be independent of me and will not live with us any longer. What can I do in their lives today that I cannot do anymore a year or two from now, once they get a bit older? Let’s do it today, before it’s too late.
  6. Are there people in my life today that I won’t have around forever? Living as a foreigner in Shanghai gives us opportunities to speak to many people from all over the world. But time is short. Six months or a year from now many of them will have moved out of Shanghai. One day we will move. Who can I share the gospel with today that might not be in my life any longer a few months from now?

These are just some of the questions I constantly y try to ask myself. And the answers to these questions determine what I do today, and what I don’t do today.

Teach me Lord to number my days, so that I will be wise in your eyes. Amen!



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