The beginning of a New Year finds many of us thinking about time - where it goes, how we use it, where we can find some more.
So, herewith some thoughts for improving the time you will have in 2012.
1. Remember: Your time is not your own. You are not your own. Time is a gift of God. He made it, sustains it, and grants us to share in it. All time comes from God and returns to Him, either honoring or scorning Him. The only time we ever have is the present moment. And that moment comes to us from God. He has His ideas about the best use of our time. We should make sure we're on the same page with Him.
2. Following on the first point, treat the use of your time as a matter of stewardship. It is required of a steward that he be found faithful - faithful in using whatever has been entrusted to him in a way that pleases the one for whom he exercises stewardship. Each moment of time is but a little thing, but if we are faithful in it, God will grant us more of it, so that we can honor and glorify Him more.
3. Cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving for the time of your life - all the time of your life. There is nothing to be gained from groaning, complaining, and whining about the sorts of things that fill up our time. Not all our activities are pleasant or fulfilling, but they all come to us from the Lord, in the time He gives us, for the purpose of honoring Him and blessing others. Hard to do that with a grumpy heart, no? An attitude of thanksgiving grows out of the practice of thanksgiving. The more we give thanks for all the time of our lives, the more we will actually be thankful to the Lord for His abundant goodness to us.
4. Learn to see the time of your life as a liberating and not a limiting thing. Too often we feel squeezed in our time, pressured and even trapped by the kinds of things we "have" to do. Don't think of your time as crushing you; think of it as stretching you, and the Spirit of God within you as working to let Jesus stretch out in you and through you, increasingly, into all the time of your life. Every moment of time is an opportunity to be freed from the constraints of sin and to grow into the image of Jesus Christ. Look to Him as the squeezing begins, and then stretch out in Him right through it into the freedom and power of the Spirit of God.
5. Be accountable for your time - to yourself, to others, and to God. It can help to keep track of how you spend your time, to report to others on how you use it, to plan carefully, and to avoid as many time-wasters as you can. Take your time to the Lord in prayer before you begin to use it, then review your time usage with the Lord at the end of each day. You'll become more conscious of your time and of how you use it if you will practice consistent accountability.
6. Finally, take the time, from time to time, to ponder the miracle of time. Think of everything that's happening in just a moment of time - not just in your life, but all around the world, throughout creation, to the farthest reaches of the vast cosmos. Think of how many processes, varieties of life and being, patterns of beauty, and untold mysteries exist and are happening in just a moment of time. Then reflect that God Who made all these things is sustaining them all, by the Word of His power, in this and every moment of the time. Relax into His sovereign power and praise His Name.
There are no merely mundane moments of time. All time is sacred time. There is no such thing as "free" time. All time comes to us at the cost of Jesus' blood and by the exertion of His gracious will and power. Time is our most precious gift. Let's make better use of it in 2012, shall we?
Related texts: 2 Corinthians 3.12-18; Ephesians 3.20; Hebrews 1.3; 1 Timothy 4.16
A conversation starter: "So what will you be doing in the coming year to make better use of your time?"