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Time is Precious

Photo of Debbie Wright Debbie Wright
4 min

Moses prayed, ‘Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom’. (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

It’s often a big life moment or even a shocking event in our lives when we take stock, re-evaluate and realise that our allotted time on this planet is short and that time in itself is very precious. 

How we ‘spend’ our time can be even more challenging than how we use our money. Our time and particularly our spare time can be closely guarded and protected, but the paradox is that we can also fritter away hours with TV watching and internet trawling. Filling our days can be easy and how busy our lives are can become a competitive sport, but just like stewarding our money and resources, we need to steward our time wisely.

This month of June, Stewardship has been celebrating the thousands of people in our community who use their time to serve others in a myriad of different ways. Churches and many of the charities that partner with Stewardship would not fulfil their mission without volunteers who offer their time and talents. Foodbanks, churches, holiday camps, refugee work, conservation work, fundraising and governance rely predominately on volunteers giving their time freely.

A few people, it seems, get the balance right and manage their time well. Read about Alan and Rosemary Nottage who both work four days a week in order to volunteer on their fifth day: Generosity in Action

How we spend our time and reduce busyness can be challenging and even overwhelming, but rather than looking inwardly we should first look outwardly and begin with God.

See each day as a gift from God

The psalmist says, ‘My times are in your hands’ (Psalm 31:15, NIV). We forget that life itself is a miracle and our lives are blessed and granted to us from our loving Father. By turning our minds back to thank God with praise and gratitude for each new day and all that it brings, our mindset can change and our expectations for the day ahead can subtlety shift.

Commit our time to God

The writer Philip Yancey suggests that at the beginning of each day we should pray: Lord, what can I do today which will be pleasing and glorifies you? By reframing our state of mind and our ‘to do’ lists, our priorities will change both in the small decisions and the bigger ones. Serving God and spending time with God is not something we squeeze into our spare time but is a whole life commitment.

‘Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.’ (Ephesians 5:15-17, ESV)

Our time on earth is a preparation for life eternal

In other words, we must live our lives and use our time in the light of eternity. David wrote, ‘O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of all my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you, surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! (Psalm 39:4-5, ESV)

Everything will eventually pass away, our labouring, our strife, our achievements will be gone, so we must use our allotted time here on earth for kingdom building, for sowing seeds that will bring eternal fruit.

Stewarding our time

Just as we manage our finances and giving and set a budget, we need to organise our time well. Wise time management is a measure of knowing God’s will for us. Jesus’s ministry was three short years on this planet, but in that brief period he always found time for teaching and healing, for praying with his Father and spending time with others. Why? Because he was focused on doing the will of his Father. When we are either too burnt out with overcommitments or frittering time away, we are using our time carelessly. Time is a divine gift – we do not know for how long each of us has, that is a mystery, but like all gifts we are to use it wisely, to take charge and walk closely with God.

You may have reached a new life stage, a change of direction or just be taking stock of your life and recognise now is a time to find a new volunteer role or a fundraising project, or to take on a trustee position. 

Stewardship can help in numerous ways:

Our partner charities and organisations work in huge variety of different causes, some familiar and others surprising. Read more about them here: Support a cause (stewardship.org.uk)

Thinking of fundraising for a charity you are passionate about?  Create a fundraising page with Stewardship here: Fundraising | Raise Money Online (stewardship.org.uk)

Taking on the role as a Trustee?  Stewardship runs regular Trustee Training courses. Find out more here Trustee Training - Sept 2022 (stewardship.org.uk)

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Written by

Debbie Wright

Debbie is Stewardship's staff writer and is responsible for creating online and offline content including Share Magazine, blogs, case studies,  generosity and giving resources. Previously a Producer and Director for BBC Education and Science, she enjoys working on creative ideas with the marketing team to encourage people to live generous lives.

Debbie is a marmalade connoisseur and fair-weather birdwatcher and lives in London with her husband and youngest daughter of four girls. She is passionate about Local Church, Creation Care and Arts & Media, with a particular focus on supporting Christians working in the arts and media.