Seeking Him First Day 1 – What Takes My Time?
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12, ESV)
Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:14, ESV)
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. (Colossians 4:5, ESV)
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise. (Ephesians 5:15, ESV)
“Life is short” is a phrase we toss around regularly. Whether it’s to push us to do something exhilarating and fun, spend money on a luxury item, or enjoy our present circumstances, we use this motivational phrase to refocus ourselves on making the most of the time we are given. People say, “Buy the shoes, eat the chocolate, and take the trip,” but how often do we say, “Read the Bible, learn to communicate effectively with God, and spark faith in your community”? Most often, we try to squeeze as much out of life that gives us momentary pleasure, but seldom is our primary focus on building up treasure that will last forever. Why is that? Honestly, our natural tendency is selfishness, and it will take a concerted effort to re-prioritize how we spend our time.
Here are a few statistics of what eats up the time of the average American in a lifespan (assuming 80 years):
- 26 years sleeping
- 7 years trying to sleep (I’m sure I’m above average!)
- 13 years and 2 months at work
- 1 year of unpaid overtime
- 11 years and 4 months looking at screens
- 4 ½ years eating
- 1 year on romance
- 3 years, 1 month and 3 weeks on vacation
- 1 year and 4 months exercising
These statistics are pretty eye-opening. We spend a lot of time doing things we are either required to do or enjoy doing. According to a US Census Bureau’s Labor Statistics study, the average working American devotes 2.4 minutes a day on religious activities, compared to about 3 hours average of television watching per day. How can we develop a deeper knowledge of God and His written Word in just a few minutes per day? It’s simple—we can’t.
As we launch out into another new year, new month, or even a new day, we can set some goals for how we spend our time. For some, that will mean less time scrolling through social media. For others, limitations on sporting activities and commitments will need to be set. Or maybe you spend too much time watching TV, playing video games, or working on projects around the house. When we take our last breath, it won’t be those things that will have mattered most; in fact, we will feel regret for not doing things we knew had lasting value.
If you’re finding that your time spent with God is short and maybe even rushed, you can start setting goals today to lengthen that time and remove distractions that pull your focus away. Find a quiet space to read, talk to God and learn to listen to Him. This isn’t possible only in an empty room; you can talk with God and enjoy His presence in the shower, on a walk, or commuting to work in the car. There are many opportunities for quiet time with Him, but we must make the effort to invite Him into communication with us.
May we all be more willing to restructure our days to accommodate Him first. We have many responsibilities that need our attention—that’s true! But without allocating our time generously to building our relationship with Christ and His people, we will find ourselves lacking reward in heaven, and will feel disappointment for having wasted time on trivial and selfish things that won’t bring lasting satisfaction. Life really is short. So what are you going to do with the time you have left?