We hear reminders virtually every day of just how fast time is passing. Media and internet ads shout, “Only ___ more shopping days until Christmas! Better get all those presents purchased.” Somehow in the days leading up to our celebration of the birth of our Savior and the transition to a new year, the clock seems to shift into overdrive.
A couple of popular songs underscore this seasonal reality. The late great balladeer Jim Croche titled one of his songs “Time in a Bottle,” beginning the first stanza with “If I could save time in a bottle….if I could make days last forever….” But he concludes “But there never seems to be enough time, to do the things you want to do, once you find them….”
The song “Fly Like an Eagle” by Steve Miller begins with the words, “Time keeps on slipping, into the future; time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future….” isn’t it the truth.
In Psalm 90:12 Moses the man of God, from near the end of his 120 year journey wrote, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” What does this mean?
First, when we number, we begin with one. In other words, given our limited days on planet Earth, what is our top priority? Jesus gave us the correct answer to that question in Matthew 6:33. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” In other words, anything other than Him—His authority, His righteous standards as found in Scripture—will come up a distant second.
Further, numbering our days means keeping short accounts with God. We need to examine and guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), confessing sin as God’s Spirit makes us aware of it (1 John 1:9), and avoiding any tendency to resist the Spirit’s leading (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Finally, numbering our days means redeeming the time (Ephesians 5:16), using every moment– work, worship, leisure, family, rest, service—for His glory. In 1982 one of the all-time great college coaches died. Bear Bryant had just retired after decades of national championships at Alabama. The following was found folded in his billfold after he died.
Imagine that you had won the Following “PRIZE” in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your use. However, this prize has the following set of rules:
- Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.
- You may not simply transfer money into some other account.
- You may only spend It.
- Each morning upon awakening, The bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day.
- The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say “Game Over!” It can close the account And you will not receive a new one.
Get the point? As 2021 draws to a close and we look toward 2022 and beyond, remember what my friend David Hayes recently reminded me.
The “PRIZE” is “TIME!”
1. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift from God.
2. When we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is not credited to us.
3. What we haven’t used up that day is forever lost.
4. Yesterday is forever gone.
5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve the account at anytime, without warning.
No, we can’t put time in a bottle, and yes, it does keep slipping into the future. But our Lord wants us to redeem it, to number our days, to make each day count, for His glory.
-Dr. Don Hawkins