Over the past 6,000 years, approximately 300 generations have come and gone. Some people live in poverty while others bask in the glow of the glamorous life. Some will achieve success while others wallow in failure. Some are thoroughly educated while others can barely read. Everyone is different.
Yet no matter who we are or where we live, we all have access to an equal daily amount of time. That element remains constant in every life.
Every day, we are each given the same amount, and we all use the same amount. If we run out of time, we cannot go to a time bank to withdraw an extra supply. If we have a little extra time, we cannot set it aside and save it for the future.
As a teen in God’s Church, you are one of Satan’s biggest targets. Satan has filled this world with a glittering array of alluring, sensually appealing diversions and materialistic things—all of which, if we lack self-control, will devour our time.
Benjamin Franklin once asked, “Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” Our lives are only made up of a certain amount of time. If we waste it, we are wasting our lives.
Let’s look at how to wisely invest the time God has given us so that we can make the most out of it. So grab your Bible, notebook and a pencil, and write out the scriptures as you go.
1. How much time do we have? Psalm 90:9-10.
We are limited by the number of days we walk this earth. In Psalm 89:47, the psalmist wrote, “Remember how short my time is.” The next psalm says, “Our days all droop under thy displeasure, our life is over like a sigh. Our life is seventy years at most, or eighty at the best, a span of toil and trouble, soon over, and we flit away” (Psalm 90:9-10; Moffatt). When compared to eternity, how brief our physical existence is! The Apostle James referred to our life as a vapor that vanishes away (James 4:14).
2. Why did Paul admonish us to wake out of sleep? Romans 13:11-14.
Because we know the time, Paul says, we must strive to live as Christ lived in these urgent days. Time is much shorter than it was two or three years ago—or two or three months ago. Whether we are alive and remain when Christ returns from heaven, or we die a few years before that, in either case, our salvation is nearer than what we once thought.
Because of these urgent times, we must focus on what really matters—and then maintain that focus. Satan understands well that we cannot serve both God and mammon (Matthew 6:24)—and that a friend of the world cannot be a friend of God (James 4:4). He wants us to get so caught up in the things of this world that we never have time for God.
3. What does the parable of the talents teach us? Matthew 25:14-30.
Jesus likened the Kingdom of God to a man giving certain talents to his servants before he left for a far country. All of the servants had a different number of talents. But notice verse 19: “After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.” They each had access to the same quantity of time. They were rewarded by Christ, not according to their talents, but according to what they did with those talents in their allotted time!
1. What does it mean to repent? John 8:11.
Repentance means change—to begin walking in a new direction, a different way of life. Put another way, if our lives are made up of a certain amount of time, then godly repentance means we are to change the way we have been using our time. As one of God’s sanctified young people, God expects you to use your time in a different manner—according to His will—in preparation for the Kingdom of God.
Whatever you have done in the past, no matter how much time you have wasted, do not let it affect the time you have today and in the future. How many times have we let down, given in to old habits, and then said, “Oh well, I already blew it. It won’t much matter if I continue in these bad habits for a few more days.” And then days become weeks, weeks become months, and months become years. Before you know it, you have wasted your life.
2. Does God forgive us after repentance? Psalm 103:12.
God will put our sins as far away as east is from the west. Upon repentance, God is concerned about the future, not the past. If you want those years of wasteful time behind you, then begin to change how you use your time today. That is the first important step to learning how to manage your time better. Change your ways and then consider what you have today, right now—an unused, fresh supply of 24 hours! Think about what you can do with that much time!
1. Where do confusion and disorder come from? 1 Corinthians 14:33.
God is not the author of confusion or disorder, but Satan is. His rebellion caused disorder throughout the universe even before man was created. Genesis 1:2 says the earth became “without form, and void.” It became that way because of Lucifer’s sin. Today, it seems normal to be messy and disorganized. Things are again deteriorating to a state of waste and decay because of man’s laziness and disorganization as inspired by the devil. God is organized because that’s how He thinks. If we are to ever organize our lives properly, we need this mind of God (Philippians 2:5) so we can think like He does.
2. Why did the psalmist ask God to help him number his days? Psalm 90:12.
He wanted God’s guidance in order to make the most of his time. Paul delivered this same admonition to the brethren in Ephesians 5:15-16: “Be strictly careful then about the life you lead; act like sensible men, not like thoughtless; make the very most of your time, for these are evil days” (Moffatt).
What about you, your education, your job, your social activities—your life? Is it organized in such a way that things always get done? Do you make the most of your time?
Successful time management begins with soliciting God’s help and blessing to be on our daily activities and schedule. Ask God to guide you in organizing your time so that it might not be spent wildly, but invested properly.
Always busy, but never able to get anything done? If so, then chances are, you have not yet fully learned how to prioritize your time.
1. Is God not only concerned about how we do things, but about the order in which we do things? 1 Corinthians 14:40.
Most of your 24-hour allotment goes toward work, school and sleep. We generally spend six to eight hours sleeping and about eight hours at work or school. But how we use the precious remaining hours reveals where our priorities are. For many, those remaining hours are devoted to unproductive leisure activities.
God wants to see what we give top priority. What’s most important to you? Where do you spend most of your time? How well we use and prioritize our time reveals to God where our heart is.
2. What should be our first priority in life? Matthew 6:33.
God has given you the prerogative of determining what is most important on your list. You either make time with God the top priority on your “to do” list, or you can put it off because something else gets in the way. But if we put God first in our lives, if we have the right priorities, He promises to add “all these things”!
In addition, God also wants you to enjoy quality time for yourself, but not to the point of selfishness. The problem with our society is that many people sacrifice quality family time and productive work time for pleasure seeking. Many even sacrifice sleep for leisure and end up crawling into work or school on Monday morning half dead! How twisted our priorities have become!
God’s set of priorities works! Prove it for yourself in your personal life. No matter what, put God first, not just in word, but in action. If you do invest the proper time for God’s Work through prayer, Bible study, meditation and regular fasting, you won’t fall behind in your daily duties; you’ll finally gain control of your life and find that you get more done!
1. At work, how does God command us to spend our time? Ecclesiastes 9:10.
We only have so many days to walk this Earth. Life is too short to do just a mediocre job. God expects more of your time. Making the most of your time goes far beyond just organizing and prioritizing a daily schedule. As we strive to work hard and to do everything with our might, we must not overlook the important aspect of being efficient. You can always grow in becoming more productive by constantly looking for ways to be more efficient—to find a better way of doing things that will save time in the future.
2. What instruction accompanies the Sabbath commandment? Exodus 20:9.
We are commanded to labor for six days. It’s the hard, productive labor during the first six days that makes the seventh-day Sabbath so refreshing!
3. How does hard work affect your sleep? Ecclesiastes 5:12.
Always strive for efficiency and a diligent work ethic. It will not detract from your day to expend more energy at work or school. It will add to your day, enabling you to accomplish more on the job, at home, even while sleeping!
Do it Now
1. Are laziness and wasted time related? Proverbs 18:9.
Don’t allow laziness to steal from your supply of time. Adopt the philosophy of “do it now”! A great many lazy people dream and talk about what might have been if only they would have gotten the breaks. But changing the way you live and the way you use time requires action! Unfortunately, that is something few people are willing to put forth today.
2. What does inaction profit? Proverbs 14:23.
Penury means poverty. Thorough planning and organization will amount to nothing if we are lazy. Success comes through much hard work and discipline.
3. What will happen to those who put off the day of Christ’s return? Matthew 24:48-51.
How many of us have fallen victim to this disease of putting off things until tomorrow? At some point, our lives will end, and we will be out of time. This fact alone should stave off procrastination. God cannot use people who put off doing what ought to be done. He wants us to see how we have misused time in the past and make the necessary changes to see that it does not happen again.
The time to begin organizing your life is now. Do not procrastinate. Do everything with the drive and determination of one counting down his final days of life.
Next: Eternity Management!
1. What is the reward for overcoming as Christ did? Revelation 2:26; 3:21.
Christ set the example for us to overcome like He did. God created human beings in mortal flesh with an average lifespan of 70 or 80 years. During that time, God expects us to overcome Satan and his way of selfishness and to grow in God’s way of love. This takes time. And for those who do overcome and endure to the end, God promises salvation within His Kingdom.
2. How will God determine how He can use us in His Kingdom? Luke 16:10-11.
How we use—or misuse—our time will determine how God will use us in His Kingdom. God’s Kingdom will be made up of immortal spirit beings who cannot die and who will never be restricted by time. Every citizen in God’s Kingdom will use time effectively and efficiently because they will have learned how to do it in the flesh!
Think about it: Eternity is an unlimited amount of time. How could God entrust us with power and authority for all eternity unless we first learn to spend our time wisely in this life? If it is used properly—if we learn to manage our time well—God promises to give us all the time there is—eternity!