Most blogs I’m asked to write are intensely of the theological variety (study of God, looking at Christ, implications to practical living, etc.). This one is unique for me, truly a glimpse into my heart as I think through what “words of wisdom and inspiration” (or something like that) to give to these seniors who are stepping into what’s next. This is more a topical look, digging deeper into one word: “Time”. While this will be a letter for seniors as they consider times gone by and times ahead, I hope it’s a letter any can read and glean from as well (even if graduation isn’t happening for you).
Time is such an interesting concept. We’re bound by it. Frustrated by the lack of it. Often wasters of it. It was William Penn, the English Writer, Quaker, and founder of Pennsylvania that had this astute quote about time: “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” So let me spend the rest of my time talking about…time.
Time is a reminder of one incredibly stark truth: you’re not God.
If you were to walk into a cemetery, you’d take a look at most tombstones (except those who have reserved a plot but not yet passed away) and see two numbers with a dash in between. These numbers remind us that we had a start date and we have a “finished” date on this earth. In between, our lives are marked by transition to transition, usually indicated by changes in time (BEFORE I was a married to Ashley I was single, AFTER we had Landon we had Colton, I USED TO BE young and energetic but now my physical body is wearing down, etc.). Life goes by quickly, time seems to speed up, and transitions come and go. Eventually…the “dash” on that gravestone is completed as you’ve run your race and now the reality of the second number on that tombstone presses in as you’ll pass from this life to the next.
All of that to say…we are bound by time. If nothing else you take away from this blog, believe this: God is eternal and without change in character as time progresses for us. So trust this: time reveals limitations for us, and makes this reality very stark…we aren’t God.
Go the world’s way and you will have wasted time. (principle of the builders)
Jesus told a parable of two builders (Matthew 7:24-27), two individuals who each encountered the same storm and made the same plans to build a home ahead of the storm. Yet one was foolish and one wise, according to Christ. The difference between the two? One built his house, his life’s work, on sturdy rock while the other built on shifting sand. What was the well-known result? The man who built his house on the rock found it standing (proving he was wise), while the man who built on sand found the foundation eroding and the house collapsing during the storm (proving himself a fool).
I use that parable to highlight what I often tell teens: you will be one of those builders, plain and simple. You can trust Christ, build your life on Him, obey His commandments, and find that your life’s work stands the test of time, storms and all. This is God’s way. This is the way of wisdom, the way to the fullness of life, and the completion of joy that God desires for you. But you can also go the world’s way by trusting yourself, building your life on your accomplishments, and walking in a manner of obedience to the world’s teachings. The result: a collapsing house. Wasted time.
Don’t waste your life.
You aren’t able to do everything…prioritize.
I would remind you of point #1: you are bound by time. For me, I lament more often than I should that I only have 24 hours in a day, same as everyone else. There doesn’t seem to be enough time to do ALL the things I want to do, even if they are “good” things for the Lord. “If I just had more time, I could read more ministry books, plan events for the teens, do more counseling with hurting people, etc.” But alas, I don’t have the time to do all these things, slapping me in the face with the reality that I’m not God in that I’m limited in both time and capacity.
So then, I must prioritize (and so must you). Determine with prayer what of today is important, recognize that in praying over your schedule you’ve relinquished your time to the Lord, and worship Him by prioritizing your time around the things He has for you to do. You can’t do it all, but rest in this, you weren’t made to do all. Pray, do what you can, and trust the Lord to provide the right people to come along and fill in the gaps you couldn’t get to that day.
How you use your time is a declaration of what matters most.
At the end of the day, time is an indicator of what you worship. Where you go physically is a barometer of what matters to you. Where you go intellectually (what you think on) demonstrates where you’ve resourced your mental time, and thus highlights what you want to be about. The accumulation of money in your profession (where you will SPEND a lot of time), followed by the use of that money, is a highlighter of the heart.
You may have heard the saying “time is money”, indicating it’s a valuable resource that you don’t get back. You can’t turn it back (sorry Marvel), but you can redeem it in the present with an eye to the future. You can’t get more of it, but you can use to the fullest what has been graciously given to you by God. So do so. It’s time to fly as time flies.
Pastor Nathan Fox
PASTOR OF STUDENT MINISTRIES
Nathan began in 2016 and enjoys reading, watching or playing sports, taking walks with his wife Ashley, and going to Fresh Market to “sample” candy!