Temporal Stewardship

We sometimes sing a song with the following lyrics, written by Ruth Johnson Carruth: “Swiftly we’re turning life’s daily pages. Swiftly the hours are changing to years. How are we using God’s golden moments? Shall we reap glory, or shall we reap tears?” This song urges us to be “making the best use of the time” (Ephesians 5:16), because our lives “are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). William Penn said, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” This statement should not describe accurately the Christian.

Carruth’s song says that God has entrusted us with “golden moments.” How many of those golden moments do we really have? Let’s think of a moment as being a minute of time. If we live for 78 years (the current average lifespan in developed countries), we will have a total of 41,024,880 minutes in which to accomplish anything. Forty-one million minutes sounds like a great lot of time. But given that we sleep about 200,000 hours in our lifetime, we have only 29,024,880 minutes left. Here are some other ways in which most of us will spend many of our minutes on Earth (approximately):

  • We will spend 51,120 minutes brushing our teeth.
  • We will spend 1,925,880 minutes eating.
  • We will spend 2,276,100 minutes driving an automobile.
  • We will spend 480,000 minutes cleaning.

This leaves us with 24,291,780 minutes, or 46 years. When we consider that somewhere in the neighborhood of half of one’s life may be taken up with mundane tasks or distractions, the following thoughts are in order:

  • I should re-evaluate my priorities so that I will be happy with my temporal stewardship when the end of life comes. We often speak of financial stewardship, as we should, but perhaps we fail to discuss the stewardship of time as we should. If we do not consciously make time for what is important, the devil probably will make sure that we never get around to taking care of what is most important. When I get to the end of my life, will I be happy with the time I spent speaking with my friends and neighbors about the gospel? In service to the church? Playing with and mentoring my children? Studying God’s word? Praying?
  • I should see whether I can redeem some of the time I spend in mundane tasks. This just takes a little creativity and foresight. For example, it takes about 3,200 minutes to read the Bible through, perhaps less to listen to it read on an audio CD or on a Web site such as com. I could listen to the Bible while driving to work, exercising, or cleaning house.

May God bless us as we seek to make the most of all of our minutes (1 Corinthians 10:31).

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