Why Is Time So Important?
For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14, NKJV
What is it that can bring down empires, can literally shake down a craggy granite peak, yet has the power to heal a wound and change a life? Described as the greatest power on earth by some, that force is TIME. It was time that defeated Napoleon’s forces at the gates of Russia’s wealth. It is the erosion allowed by time’s forces that will eventually split the granite peak and bring it crashing to the floor of the valley. It is time which allows healing of the human heart when the heart has been broken by loss and grief. Time has been described as the most powerful force on earth, for it ultimately brings down the mightiest of men. Some 200 years ago Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Dost thou love time? Then use time wisely, for that’s the stuff that life is made of.”
There are many inequalities in life. Some are born with brilliant minds and others just were not there when the brains were passed out. Some can pick up a paint brush and the artistic talent flows, but others of us cannot sign our name legibly enough for a bank teller to read it. Some of us can sing like a bird–tremendous talent–but others of us cannot carry a tune in a basket. The inequalities do not stop there, either. Some can eat anything they want, and they stay as skinny as a rail, but others of us just walk past an ice cream truck and by some remarkable process yet to be analyzed by science, we automatically put on weight, just by looking.
But when it comes to the amount of time that you have, everybody falls into the same category and there is perfect equality: 24 hours, no more or no less, doled out to every person. Suppose you had a bank account and every morning 186,400 dollars, pesos, lira or whatever your coinage, was deposited in your account, but every evening whatever was left in the account was canceled out. What would you do? You can be sure that you would withdraw every coin before the bank closed every day– just so you did not lose anything.
You have such an account and its name is TIME. Every morning you are credited with 186,400 seconds, and it is up to you to use it or lose it; but at the end of the day, what you have not used is lost. Time does not come to us in days or even hours; it comes to us moments at a time. It was because of the fragile nature of time that Moses years ago prayed, “So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). That is another way of saying it is the use, not the length, of our days that really counts.
A life can be full of meaning at age 30, while some have lived to three times that length with little meaning or purpose. Christ was only 33 years on earth, but only eternity will measure the impact of what He did. “I know,” you are saying, “But He was God, and I am not…” But what of the impact of your life? How have you used the time that God has given to you? To each, God has given a measure of time, and one of the things for which we will give account is the use of our time. Jesus underlined this fact in the parables that stress personal accountability.
“What is life?” asked James. “It is even a vapor that appears for a time and then vanishes away…” (James 4:14). Friend, we don’t lose time, it slips through our fingers in lost moments, seconds at a time. Think about it!
Resource reading: Psalm 90:1-12