Time: The Rarest Commodity on Earth

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”—James 4:14 (NIV)

Here's a riddle for you:

This thing all things devours;
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town, And beats mountain down.

The Answer: TIME

That riddle from The Hobbit eloquently describes the reality of time. There are very few things in this world as precious as time. Think about it: You only get one chance at every second. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. There is no rewind button on life. There’s not even a pause button! It just keeps going and going . . . until it doesn’t.

Time is so unique, so vastly different than other resources in this world. It’s one of the most important and valuable gifts, but it’s also the easiest to waste. And there can be no doubt that as a whole, people waste a lot of time. According to a 2014 study, 87 percent of students procrastinate on school assignments, 95 percent of adults procrastinate on work and home tasks, and more than 20 percent of people are considered chronic procrastinators.

A 2009 study concluded that the average American spends 540 minutes per day at work, 468 minutes sleeping,180 minutes watching TV, and 116 minutes browsing the internet or watching videos on social media.

Despite the amount of time spent on activities like browsing social media and watching TV, 48 percent of Americans say they don’t have enough time. That number is higher among working Americans and people with children under 18.

Here’s why this topic is so important: God has given each of us a set amount of time. We can do nothing to add to it or earn more of it. While we can always earn more money, we can’t buy more time. We can recover from financial losses or restore something that’s broken, but we can’t recover wasted time. The idea of making up for lost time is a myth.

So, what should we do about this? As believers, we should commit to making the best use of our time (Ephesians 5:16). We should ask the Lord to “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 ESV). Consider yourself a steward of the precious time God has given you—a time manager if you will.

The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30) is a great reminder of what it means to be a steward. In this powerful story, three servants are given talents—or units of money. The master gives one servant five talents, another two, and the last is given one. The first two take what their master gave them, work hard, and multiply the talents. They are rewarded and reap the benefits of their honorable and productive stewardship. But the third servant does nothing with his talent, and so it is taken away from him. In fact, the master calls him wicked and lazy for this (Matthew 25:26).

The lesson here is clear: Make the most of what you’ve been given! Don’t waste it or leave it idle. When you steward what’s been given to you wisely, you will reap the rewards. When you don’t, you will miss out big time.

When it comes to your time, are you being wise and generous or wasteful? Remember, we can’t be generous with our time if we aren’t managing our time.

Time management is not only an extremely valuable life skill that can help you lead a balanced and healthy life, but it’s also biblical. So today, take an inventory of your time and evaluate how you’re doing. Consider filling out a time management sheet like this one, or find one online.