The Gift of Time
“Time and tide wait for no man” so the proverb goes. From the beginning of creation, man has had to come to terms with the time factor. We measure time by various signs – the relentless changing of the seasons, the shadow lying across a dial, the daily setting of the sun, and the chiming of the clock. Greenwich Time is arrived at by the shadow of the sun passing over meridian with precise regularity.
Time is like a ‘Weavers Shuttle’ says Job – merciless in its momentum. Time, like the tide, is relentless, affecting everything in its wake. It does not distinguish between people; rich or poor, great or small – its pace is fixed! It does not vary from generation to generation. The passing of time is to be witnessed in its ravages, for they are all around us – from the erosion of the landscape to the ageing of all living creatures. ‘Time is likened to an ever rolling stream bearing all its sons away’ wrote Isaac Watts.
We often talk about killing time, but we can never kill time – for time kills us; time runs on, taking us with it. Neither can we stand aside and observe what is happening in time – for we are what is happening in time. Time was a commodity that began to run out for Joshua as a great victory appeared to be in his grasp and had to call upon the God of Heaven for its suspension. The sands of time ran out for the righteous King Hezekiah, who sought the Lord for an increase in His years.
Time is a ‘Gift from God’ and we must use it wisely. “Teach us to number our days that we might apply our hearts unto wisdom” wrote the Psalmist. We must use our available hours with purpose that will one day yield us a harvest of substance which will outlast time – for all who are God’s will do just that. Paul urges the Ephesian Christians to redeem the time, for the manner we spend our time will determine whether our lives will be a failure, mediocre or extraordinary.
Very often our lives are blighted by responsibilities which we have not been assigned to bear. How much time are we spending on the things that matter? Most of life’s failures were time wasters. Man was made for something more than a brief span of existence; Jesus came to rescue us from time and transfer us to another dimension – a timeless kingdom – a fitting place for which we were first created. As we invest wisely the time that has been gifted to us, let us be mindful of Kipling’s advice by ‘Filling the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run’ and let us remember that in running well the race, we will be planting for eternity.
The shadow of my finger cast
Divides the future from the past;
Before it stands the unborn hour
In darkness and beyond your power;
Behind its unreturning line, the vanished
Hour no longer yours; one hour alone is
In your hands, the now on which the shadow stands.
Jack has been a faithful member of the Free Methodist Church for 34 years, spending many of those years in leadership. He lives in Lancashire, UK, and has recently celebrated 60 years as being a Christian! Find our more about Jack and the story behind Jack’s corner: Treasures of the Word here.