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22. The Christian attitude to time

The Master's instructions about everyday life. (Psalm 90:1-17).

The Bible begins before the beginning of time and it shows us that God was already there. Genesis 1:1 describes the beginning of the universe and the earth, but not the beginning of God. From further back than you

can think, to the distant future beyond your imagination, God has been and God will be. Psalm 90 is instructive in helping the disciple to see life in the context of eternity.

God lives outside the limits of time

Verse 2 says: ‘From everlasting to everlasting You are God.’ Verse 4: ‘A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by.’ The

distance between now and eternity is nothing to God though it appears

enormous to us. Our life is at best a little while in the light of all this.

James 4:13-16 likens life to a morning mist.

When a person is born again into new life, he or she begins to learn how to make

the years of his earthly life count for eternity. We should set priority on

the eternal kingdom of God and not on the temporary things of this world.

God appoints certain times in human history

Having begun before creation God also entered the world in Jesus Christ

at a set time (Galatians 4:4-5). He is working towards a time when Christ

will be seen to be the Head of all things (Ephesians 1:9-10). The day of

judgement, when all men will appear before Christ, has been determined

by God already (Acts 17:31). We cannot know when (Acts 1:7), but we

must live life knowing that God has a time schedule that He is following.

We must recognise what He is doing. We must review what we do in the

light of His works. We must redeem what time we can for the important

and real issues of eternity.

God wants every Christian to use the time he is given wisely

Our Lord Jesus was constantly aware of seeking to do God’s will while

there was time to do it. John 4:34-35; 9:4; 10:17-18 and 17:3-4 all show

this dominating desire. Jesus regarded the whole of human history as

‘day’, and the end of time as ‘night’. The only way you and I can glorify

God on this earth is to live like Jesus did, investing every minute we have

in the kingdom of heaven. The cost of commitment to Christ is not only

financial; faithfulness in the use of time is also required.

Various management seminars I have attended list the following as

reasons why people waste time: lack of planning, lack of priorities, over

commitment, inability to cope with crises, too much haste, interruption,

indecision, inability to delegate and a variety of others. If we waste

money we may be able to earn more and to spend it more wisely the

second time around. With time, however, there is no second chance.

Perhaps a few days set aside now to plan goals and establish godly

ambitions in our lives will reap rich reward. Read other scriptures like:

Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 4:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-8, and pray the psalmist’s

prayer of Psalm 90:12: ‘Teach us to number our days aright,

that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’

Discussion guide on ‘The Christian Attitude to Time’

Psalm 90:1-17.

1. How do you think we can make “the years of this earthly life count

for eternity”?

2. Jesus taught Matthew 6:25-34. What principles on the use of time

can you draw from these verses? (Keep in mind the prayer from

Psalm 90:12).

3. In John’s gospel, Jesus is shown keeping to a timetable. Look up

John 4:34-35; 9:4; 10:17-18; 17:4. What can we learn from each of


4. Read Ephesians 5:15-16 and Colossians 4:5. What do you understand

by the repeated phrase: “making the most of every opportunity”?

5. How best can the Christian make his or her time achieve


6. Fill this two column chart (below) for your life this past week:

Number of hours I spend

In 24 hours - one day In one week – 168 hours

Sleeping ___________________________________

Eating ___________________________________

Washing, dressing ___________________________________

Shopping ___________________________________

Studying, working ___________________________________

Travelling ___________________________________

Watching TV ___________________________________

Playing sport ___________________________________

In recreation with friends ______________________________

Enjoying company with Jesus ____________________________

My total 24 hours is ____ My total 168 hours is _____

Read Psalm 90:12 again.

Are there things you can and should change?


Plan how to do so, with God’s help.


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