[Make] the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16
“Westerners have watches. Africans have time.” So said Os Guinness, quoting an African proverb in his book Impossible People. That caused me to ponder the times I have responded to a request with, “I don’t have time.” I thought about the tyranny of the urgent and how schedules and deadlines dominate my life.
Moses prayed in Psalm 90, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (v. 12). And Paul wrote, “Be very careful, then, how you live . . . making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15–16).
I suspect that Paul and Moses would agree that our wise use of time isn’t just a matter of clock-watching. The situation may call for us to keep a tight schedule—or it may compel us to give someone an extended gift of our time.
We have but a brief moment to make a difference for Christ in our world, and we need to maximize that opportunity. That may mean ignoring our watches and planners for a while as we show Christ’s patient love to those He brings into our lives.
As we live in the strength and grace of the timeless Christ, we impact our time for eternity.
Father, You have given us all the time we need to accomplish what You have given us to do. May we use our time in ways that honor You.
For more, read Mary and Martha: Balancing Life’s Priorities
Psalm 90 is a worshipful conversation Moses has with God. The superscription reads, “A prayer of Moses, the man of God.” But even if we weren’t alerted that this psalm is a prayer, the language and tone clearly indicate the psalmist was talking to God. This prayer was spoken during a rough period in Israel’s history. It appears the people of God had experienced discipline (vv. 7–11, 15), which prompted Moses to talk to God about the brevity and fragility of human life in view of God’s eternal nature (vv. 1–6). The psalm includes many references to time, such as “generations” (v. 1), “years” (vv. 4, 9, 10, 15), “day(s)” (vv. 4, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15), “morning” and “evening” (v. 6).
Indeed, tough times can compel us to talk to the Lord about our brief time on earth and appeal to Him for His help (vv. 12–17). They can also cause us to ask who may need the gift of our time.