12 months. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. 31,536,000 seconds.
Time is precious. We never know how much we have and when it passes, there is absolutely nothing we can do to change whatever happened. While very little actually changed between 11:59PM on December 31, 2017 and 12AM on January 1, 2018, each of us was provided with an opportunity to reconsider how we will spend our time.
How we spend our time says a lot about us. Yes, there are some things that come up throughout our lives that are outside of our control, but most of us have a great amount of decision-making ability when it comes to our time. Even if we have a job that is demanding of our time, we could choose to find another job that puts less demands on this precious commodity. In reality, very few of us can honestly say, "I don’t control how I spend my time."
How Did You Spend Your Time?
Think back on 2017 with me. How did you spend your time? What does this say about you? Try to be honest. Don’t think about how you wish you spent your time or that one week that was exceptional. Think about how you really spent it. (Seriously, stop reading and consider this for a few moments. And if you don’t have the time, then consider what that might be communicating!)
If someone who never met you before looked at your calendar from last year, how would they describe you? What would they say you value? Who would they see you spending most of your time with? Would they describe you the same way that you describe yourself? Would your communicated values match their observed values?
Four Suggestions for 2018:
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to "look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15–16). What would it look like to make the best use of the time this year? While this may look different in each individual’s life, here are four suggestions for all of us:
1. Listen and Talk to God
God has spoken to us in his Word and he invites us to speak to him in prayer. Let’s listen to God and talk to God more this year than we did last year. Our time in God’s Word and our time in prayer necessarily changes as our lives change, but let’s be faithful to make time for this all-important relationship with our Heavenly Father.
2. Make Worship on Sunday Mornings a Priority
Gathering together with God’s people to worship the Lord and submit to his Word is crucial in the life of a believer. Being with the church on Sunday mornings allows us to draw near to the Lord, to serve our brothers and sisters, and to be reminded at the start of every week that God is worthy of our every second. Settle it today. Don’t have the conversation on Saturday night or Sunday morning and ask, "Are we going to worship today?" Put it in the calendar and let nothing move it.
3. Love Others Well
Family. Friends. Neighbors. Classmates. Coworkers. God has sovereignly placed many people in our lives and has afforded to us the opportunity to glorify him by loving and serving them. Maybe as you look back on 2017 you’re thinking, "Wow, I spent a lot of time on me. Doing the things I wanted to do. Doing life alone." Put a date night on the calendar. Take your son or daughter out to breakfast before school. Invite neighbors, classmates, or coworkers over for dinner. Be intentional to use your time to love and serve others.
With so many good things to do, we can get in a frenzy and fill our calendars with good things. Yes to being intentional with our time. No to running ourselves ragged with too many commitments. Pick a few people to spend time with and a few activities to do really well this year rather than doing a million things mediocre.
By the time you read this, you have about 30 million seconds left this year. How will you use them for the glory of God?