Half of the year is gone. When you read that, many of you said to yourself “Where did it go?” That is a good question. Where did it go? What took place in your life the first half of 2016? What things can you point to that were significant from January to June? Where did you make a difference? What goals did you accomplish? What new skill did you learn or new person did you meet? How did your life change to look more like Christ? Is your spiritual situation better now than it was when the year began? “Where did it go?” can be a valuable question or it can be a question that reflects the fact that we are responsible to be wise with the time we are given.
Each of us are here for a reason. It is no haphazard circumstance that you are alive at the present moment. The question that we all have to answer is “What is that reason?” I have heard it said that the two greatest days of a person’s life are the day they are born and the day they figure out why. It is not wise to ask the question “Where did it go?”, without being able to offer an answer. We should make the most of our time. Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus “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.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV) Make the most use of your time. What exactly does that mean?
If we view time as currency, then there are really three uses for time: we can invest it, we can spend it, we can waste it. First let’s take a look at these things in terms of currency. When we invest money, we are looking for a return of something greater than what we initially invest. Sometimes this is in the form of interest, stock market gains, real estate appreciation or some other form of return such as an education or opportunity to learn. We know that often the return can take time, but we understand that a little sacrifice at the moment will produce much needed results later. At other times, we spend money. It is necessary to spend money. Spending is often the form of exchange. We exchange money for clothing, food, electricity and other necessities. There may be no long term return on these things but they are necessary for our day to day well being. Then there is money we waste. Wasted money is almost always connected to regret. It is money that we wished we had back to either spend or invest. It is often the wasted currency that causes us to struggle at times when we need to spend or need a return from investing.
Those same principles are true of time. We should all have time that we are investing. Investing in things that may not have immediate return, but over a period of time they bring to us important benefits when needed most. It is a planned use of time for specific things. We may invest this time in learning or growing, or we may invest it with our family or in our marriage. It could be an investment of time in our spiritual well being. Sometimes it is relaxation that brings a return on our productivity when we spend our time. The investment of time requires us to be intentional. There is also a certain about of time that we must spend. Time used in exchange for other purposes. If we are a student, we must spend some time in class in return for our diploma. For an employee, we we have to spend our time working in exchange for our position. Much of our time is spent on necessary things. Just as with money, we cannot afford to overspend or it will create problems in other areas. Then there is the waste of time. The time that is not invested for a return nor spent in an exchange. It just goes by aimlessly. It is these moments of waste that are also attached to regret. Wishing we had spent more time with our children or our parents, but instead we are up to date on social media and Game of Thrones. It is time we put little or no thought into.
So as you look back on the first half of this year, did you make the best use of your time? How much of it did you invest? How much of it did you spend (or overspend)? How much of it did you waste? Time is currency and it is our job to make the best use of it. There is a Psalm recorded by Moses that says “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalms 90:12 ESV) May we all be aware that every day has a number and we can choose to invest it, spend it or waste it. It is our choice. Now make the most of the second half of the year!