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A new year has arrived! Some will mark the event at a watch night church service while most, especially the young, will “party-it-in” and take the whole thing lightly for after all, you may reason, why should I give it all much thought? I have several years to live. Yet someone has said –

Life is a book in columns three,

The past, the present, and the yet to be:

The past is written and laid away,

The present we are writing every day.

The last and best of the volumes three,

Is locked from sight, God has the key.

So mark these 4 time stealers when managing your time in this New Year.

1.       Wasting of Time

The way some people treat time. One would think they had forever to live. I am convinced that one of the things that will subtract more rewards that might have been will be the waste of time. Multitudes who profess the name of Christ spend more time before a TV or electronic device than they do in Bible reading and prayer time combined. If what they watched was mind developing, character building and soul inspiring there might be some justification for the time spent. However, we will have to admit that a very small number exercise great caution to choose only that type of viewing. Most people turn the thing on and will watch whatever is available and must admit that most of it contains scenes of drinking, free love, gambling, violence, nudity, or just plain ridiculousness and foolishness. I am not saying that everything available for viewing is bad but the next time you turn it on, ask yourself the question, “If the trumpet was to sound while I am watching this, is this what I would want to found watching?” Another good test would be to ask yourself, “Have I already this day spent ample time in prayer and searching the Scriptures?” I am convinced that time spent watching anything that does not put a beneficial wrinkle in your brain, that does not strengthen you spiritually, that does not give you greater incentive for good, is a waste of time.

 

Baxter, the great philosopher once said, “Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray the blessing of God: in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act.”

 

2.       Playing away time

“All work and no play makes Johnnie a dull boy” so goes the old adage. That has some truth to it of course. There is a time for play. Play, when engaged in temperately, is healthy and needful. However, this is a day when people are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. The motto of many is “Have Fun.” The tiny tot in his play pen is surrounded by multitude of things to play with until he hardly knows where to begin. On through the school years the accent is on play. More than likely he will graduate from school with muscles that he got at the expense of brains. The life of fun runs the gamut between hanging out with friends to “exercising the thumbs” with the game controller. Even in many churches the play entertainment programs far exceed the prayer meetings and times of Bible study, visitation, etc. What a brighter world it would be for the unfortunates, and what happier and more useful lives the rest of us would have, and how much greater would our reward in heaven if we took MUCH of the time we now play away used it to visit the sick the rest homes, the prisons, the shut-ins, or the sinner on behalf of his lost soul.

 

Through this toilsome world alas,

Once, and once only I pass:

If a kindness I may show,

If a good deed I may do,

Let me do it while I can,

For I shall not pass this way again.

 

3.       Talking Away Time

Millions of Christians are guilty of chatting, texting, or tweeting  away precious time in empty conversation. Be a good conversationalist. Spend MUCH time in the reading of good wholesome books so that you may be well informed on many subjects and then be prepared to engage in sensible conversation, preferable face-to-face with any class of people you may find yourself associated with. However, make sure what you say is not just empty conversation. There are times for a clean joke to make sure. I do not believe God intends that all we talk about is religion either. There are many good subjects to engage in but so many chat by the hour and never mention God. People will get together and discuss sports events, TV shows they have seen, gossip, tell jokes, laugh (whether there’s anything funny or not) till the wee hours of the morning, yet none of them are any smarter, holier, or graceful when it is all over. Did it ever occur to you that God gave us TWO ears and only ONE moth?

 

Maybe your sin is that you just do not utilize your time to the best advantage that you know you could. Maybe you get home at night at a decent and sensible hour, thus assuring your physical of its needed rest. You can do all this and still spend too many of your waking hours in just visiting and chatting. Whatever you do, do it with moderation. The Scriptures admonish us (II Peter 1:6) “Add to knowledge TEMPERANCE; and to TEMPERANCE patience; and to patience godliness.” Perhaps the best definition of temperance is total abstinence from all things bad and moderate use of all things good.” Most of us can tell about all we know anyhow in an hour or so and after that, most of what we say must be made up, repetitious or empty chatter. Some people don’t know much to say but you have to listen to them a long time to find it out.

 

Most folks talk too much, I’m certain this is so,

I think about it more and more, the older that I grow:

I talk a deal too much myself, and this is how I know:

There’s quite a lot of ignorance that silence would disguise,

How very little people know, you never would surmise,

If they didn’t talk too much they’d be considered wise.

 

4.       Piddling Away Time

Somebody said, “Never be unengaged in work and never be uselessly engaged.” What that means is simply that we should always find something to keep our minds and hands busy but make sure that it is something beneficial. We can just piddle away time at jobs that are not necessary. Some piddle it away by being too slow as they work. Take time to do the job well, anything worth doing is worth doing right. However, do you work with every ounce of energy you have and finish it as quickly as possible; there are other jobs awaiting your attention. Some people can get a job done while the slow person is getting started.

 

Much of the success in properly utilizing time lies in a healthy, sensible schedule of activity. Try to establish a specified hour to go to bed and keep that schedule if possible. Establish a good, sensible, and beneficial time to arise. Have a time of prayer and then get your day’s work started. Organize and outline your work; this is a valuable key to saving time.

 

It may be this year that our Lord will come,

To catch up His waiting bride;

It may be we’ll enter our heavenly home,

And be near our Saviour’s side.

So let us be faithful in word and deed,

Working and watching with prayer,

For it may be nearer than now we think,

It may be this very year.

 

So please ponder this:

 

While Jesus was on earth, He told His disciples, “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work.” (John 9:4) In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 5:16) he says, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Because of the widespread of evil, the job we have to do is greatly enlarged and the bigger the job, the longer it takes to do it. Time is involved and therefore we must “redeem” it (make every moment count) lest it run out before the job is completed. Far too many of us look on time as our opportunity to get the things in life WE want; to do the things WE want to do; to live life as WE see fit; rather than taking the attitude that Paul and Jesus took.

 

I counted dollars while God counted crosses;

I counted gains while He counted losses;

I counted my worth by the things gained in store,

But He sized me up by the scars that I bore;

I coveted honors and sought for degrees,

He wept as He counted the hours on my knees;

And I never knew ‘til one day at a grave,

How vain are these things that we spend life to save.