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TONY ELDER: Use your time wisely — serve God and others

Tony Elder

Tony Elder

Last weekend we performed our yearly autumn ritual of turning our clocks back one hour as we returned to Standard Time.

Many of us like to think of it as gaining an hour. It’s certainly more pleasant than the coinciding activity in the spring when we set our clocks ahead, losing an hour of sleep.

Actually, this year I found myself in the unique position of gaining two hours last weekend. Earlier in the day my wife and I had traveled into the Central Time Zone as I prepared to preach at a church in western Tennessee. So after setting our clocks back again that night, the time at which we woke up on Sunday morning was actually two hours different from what we had been used to.

Sometimes I find it hard just getting accustomed to the regular time change. But I have to confess I had unusual difficulty adjusting to this doubled-up change. It resulted in my sleeping schedule really getting messed up for those two nights we were there — waking up at 3:30 a.m. feeling like it was time to start the day.

So what did you do with your additional hour last weekend? Did you simply take advantage of the opportunity for some extra sleep? Or did you stay up later doing something you enjoyed, knowing you would still be able to get your usual amount of rest?

The idea of extra time is attractive, especially when time is such a precious commodity to us.

It makes me think of the account of King Hezekiah as recorded in II Kings 20. When he became sick, the prophet Isaiah informed him that he was going to die. But in response to Hezekiah’s subsequent weeping and praying over the matter, God chose to heal the king, adding 15 years to his life.

However, it doesn’t seem Hezekiah made good use of his extra time in life.

One of the most notable events during that era was when the Babylonians came to visit. Hezekiah unwisely showed off all the wealth of the kingdom to his guests. Later he was rebuked by Isaiah and informed that these same people would return one day to conquer and loot the land.

Extra hours in a day or extra years added to our lives sounds like a wonderful gift. But it’s only a good thing if we use it wisely.

What makes us think we’re going to use any extra time better than those everyday hours and years we currently are living in? The Bible reminds us that life is short. That truth is valid whether we live to be 30 years of age or 90. Let’s make good use of these hours, days, and years which we’ve been given.

The Bible exhorts us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Wise use of our time doesn’t just mean being more faithful church attenders or spending more time in prayer or other religious activities, although it certainly may include those things.

It means seeking to live all aspects of our lives in accordance with God’s will and purposes. It means making use of opportunities to serve the Lord and to positively impact the lives of people around us. It involves resetting priorities and guarding against ways we may be wasting that precious, fleeting commodity of time.

So instead of wishing for extra hours in our day or additional years to our lives, maybe we should simply seek to do a better job of making use of the time we’ve already been given.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at revtelder@aol.com.