Updated: Aug 29
A few weeks ago, I had the unfortunate honor to attend a memorial service of a friend’s mother. It was a day that many wish they could press rewind and pause. It’s never easy when we have to lay a loved one to rest. But it is these moments that always tend to grasp our attention and shift our focus. I couldn't help but consider how I'm spending my time!
Funerals and memorial services are where we say our final goodbyes to this life, as we know it. These are times when we come together to either “celebrate or mourn”, the life and legacy of our loved ones. It’s never an easy time. Either we’re saying see you later or goodbye to a significant part of our lives; that has for the most part been there since day one.
Death is inevitable! Whether we want to believe it or not, our day will come too. My friend spoke so eloquent of his mother and how their relationship had blossomed over the last few years because of the TIME they were able to share with each other. Although they shared this time together, he wished that he had a little more. A little more time to say I love you. A little more time to hug and kiss his mother. A little more time, just to be in her presence.
That’s all we really want...right? Especially when we can’t have it anymore. So, what do we do when we do have time? Take full advantage of it!
King Solomon, in his wisdom understood the importance of time. In Ecclesiastes 3:1, he tells us “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—“. In the next 8 verses, he contrasts the positive and negative of events according to time that will occur in all of our lives. In each event, time remains the constant.
“2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
So what does that tell us...?
TIME has to be spent wisely! How do we do that? I‘ve considered four ways that should help us be better stewards of this gift from God:
1. T - Taking inventory of what’s really important in our lives. Ephesians 5:15-17 tells us, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” We spend countless hours with things or people that are not beneficial to us physically or spiritually. Seeking God’s wisdom for our lives will always yield the best results.
2. I- Investing in what is really important. We should be willing to share ourselves, our resources and our time with those who we love and are less fortunate. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Jesus modeled this best as he selflessly gave of himself so that we can have eternal life through Him. Being “others focused” is a great way to appreciate all we have and identify what truly is important. Taking time out for your self will also put things in perspective.
3. M - Managing our time can be extremely difficult. Often because we have taken on more than what God has planned for us – or never sought his will for our lives. Proverbs 16:9 gives us the blueprint for maximizing our time. The author pens, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” When we allow God to order our steps, he will shift our focus to remove things that are not beneficial and ensure we are doing all things in moderation.
4. E - Evaluating DAILY how we are spending our time. James 4:14-15 says,“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that”. By understanding that we belong to the Lord and submitting ourselves to His will, we essentially make better choices with our time. Pursuing success, education, money and prestige all requires a great amount of time and may provide temporary fulfillment. But when they get in the way of our personal time with the Lord, loved ones and consume majority of our time – its time to take a few steps back.
We should all strive to live a life that “makes the most out of every opportunity.” No one is promised tomorrow and we should always carefully examine our time.
"By understanding that we belong to the Lord and submitting ourselves to His will, we essentially make better choices with our time."
Dr. Stephone A. Berry is an Associate Minister at Christian Faith Fellowship in Columbia, South Carolina. He graduated with a Master of Divinity in Ministry Studies and earned a Doctorate of Ministerial Leadership from Columbia International University.