By: Jon Meerdink
Ecclesiastes 3 says “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born, and a time to die,
A time to plant, and a time to uproot,
A time to kill, and a time to heal,
A time to work, and a time to play video games,
A time for pizza, and a time for eating healthy,
A time for printing the actual verse, and a time for sticking a couple extras in to make sure you’re paying attention.”
Seriously, though, the Bible spends a lot of time talking about, well, time. It’s an important topic, if only because time is really the only commodity we humans actually have. When you think about it, everything else in our lives can come and go, but time is always constant. Every day will only have 24 hours. Every hour only has sixty minutes. Every minute only has sixty seconds. Everybody gets the same amount of time, but we all have a choice to make as to how we use it.
Time’s been on my mind a lot recently. Due to circumstances outside my control, I’ve recently had to spend a lot more of my time at work. My time at home has gotten a lot more precious, and how I spend that time has been weighing on me. And given that many of you have just started school again, I’m guessing that same concern has been weighing on you, as well.
I’ll admit, my post-work schedule probably does leave something to be desired. Generally it involves some combination of food, Netflix, Facebook, and video games until it’s time for sleeping, occasionally with some brief moments of productivity. It occurs to me, though, that if the one actual resource I have is time, perhaps destroying another team in Madden is not the best use of it.
Back in the 1700’s, Jonathan Edwards was just about the most hardcore preacher there was. He made a habit of writing resolutions about his life, essentially writing down binding goals for himself and how he’d spend his days. The fifth resolution he wrote, just after resolving to do everything for God’s glory and to work constantly for him, was this: “Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.” In modern English: “I promise to use every second of every day to its best possible end.”
More contemporarily, Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years talks about the process of creating a movie about Miller’s life. To create the movie, Miller and a screenwriting team go through his life history and take down all the memorable moments, hoping to unite them into a cohesive narrative. Miller realizes, though, that much of his life has been wasted doing extremely unmemorable things. His life, quite literally, was nothing to write home about. The obvious solution, according to Miller, was to endeavor to spend one’s life doing memorable things, if only for the joy of experiencing life while doing them.
I think both Edwards and Miller were on to something. If there’s one gift God has bestowed on us all in equal portions, it’s time. With some considerations to life circumstances and other factors, the only appreciable difference from one person to the next is how we use our time. I don’t have an answer, necessarily, about how best to use it, but I think it’s certainly a question worth thinking about. At any rate, I’m not sure the best way to use it is completing that Madden franchise…but I’m not saying it isn’t, either.