“Making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16
It’s New Year’s Eve 2020. I cannot think of one individual I know who may be sad or disappointed to leave this uncommon year in the rearview mirror. We simultaneously feel surprise that this year has already reached its final day and relief that the interminably long days comprising the year are nearly behind us. Our ears will shout for joy if they never again hear the phrase “unprecedented year.” Yet this concept of time seems to be surrounding me right now. In my quiet time this morning, the focal point of my study was time–and it was by two very different authors. Yet their points converged in my life on the same day. Coincidence? I think not. As sleep eluded me last night, I mulled over the passage of time. 2020 ushered me into a new decade of my life, my forties. Turning 40 has accelerated time for me. All of a sudden, I feel like I am running out of time to fulfill God’s purposes for my life. What if I missed it? What if it is too late to fulfill His call to ministry? What if I am wasting my time on things that will not matter in eternity? I am reminded that we have but one life to live. That is all we get. James 4:14 reminds us that our life is like a vapor–here one minute and gone the next. As man’s calendar turns the page on another year and closes this chapter, it is a prime opportunity to evaluate how we use our time. For me, I have spent my adult life being a mother, raising my family, supporting them, feeding them, clothing them, and ensuring their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs have been met. I have not been perfect in that role–far from it. Yet I pray their faith foundation has been poured. At the same time, I have pursued things that will not last in eternity. I have wasted time caring what other people thought, trying to prove that I was enough of a father and mother to my children. I yearn for something deeper, something substantial, something that will result in crowns when I stand before the throne of grace in eternity. Crowns that I may then cast at the feet of my King. I have wasted time forgetting my true identity in Christ. I am a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I am a child of God. I am chosen. I am redeemed. I am adopted. I am a royal priesthood. I am forgiven. And I am deeply loved.
I asked the Lord this morning what we were going to leave behind in 2020 because I feel this urgency to live in such a way that I am constantly aware of the brevity of life and how the time for Christ’s return is drawing near. I don’t want to miss God’s purposes for me because I was too protective of my time for my own pursuits and selfish ambitions. I pray that I will delight myself in the Lord and then my desires will align with His and therein I will find and experience the abundant life. It’s time to set aside those things that hinder me from reaching towards God’s best for me. Time is racing past at lightning speed. No longer do I dare waste it on what will pass away and fade. No longer do I want to lose it by caring about how others will perceive me or what they think of me. I am rooted and firmly established in my identity in Christ. So I will be bold. I will be humble because I have nothing to prove. I will love, even when it is breaking my heart. I will forgive when I don’t want to or don’t think I am capable of my own accord. I will rest in the love and acceptance of Christ, and I will trust His plans for me even when they interfere with my plans and wreak havoc on my agenda.
I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions. I am not a big fan of them. However, it is the prime time to sit down in quiet before Jesus and ask Him how He wants us to use our time in the year 2021. He is faithful and He will answer. I so frequently feel like the days fly off the calendar and I desperately try to slow them down and catch them. I try to grasp time. I want to control it somehow. But God has shown me that I will never grasp it. It will slip through my fingers. Rather, His heart’s desire is for me to surrender my time to Him and to offer it on His altar. The eternal investment will always be worth it.
So, in 2021, take the time to make the phone call rather than shoot off a quick text. Make time to serve–because when we do for the least of these, we do for Christ Himself. Make time to slow down, to look up, and to glance around. We each are gifted one life–and we each will answer for how we spent our time. Are we making the most of our time?
Happy New Year!