The Bible has 66 books, 1189 chapters and 32,102 verses. Although the Bible that I use only weighs a pound or two, it contains more intellectual weight than every book that is shelved at the Library of Congress. While there are some books such as Hawking’s A Brief History of Time that attempt to give a summation of everything that has happened since the beginning of time, the Bible depicts not only what has happened since the beginning, but also what will happen until the day that time will once again have no meaning.
Time. Think about that word. Fruit flies live only for a day, some trees live to be thousands of years old, and the half-life of some radioactive isotopes is said to be billions of years. A typical human lifespan is closer to the fruit fly than it is to the oldest trees and certainly closer than it is to the longest lasting radioactive isotopes. That is to say the physical human lifespan. If you were to include the spiritual human lifespan, than it would be the longest lasting radioactive isotopes that would be closer to the fruit fly in its lifespan.
Time can have such weight in the here and now. Sure, there are times that time seems to go by too quickly. During the time that is spent on a much needed vacation, the ticking of the clock can seem to go by at an accelerated rate before the vacation comes to an abrupt close and the post-vacation melancholy starts to set in with the knowledge that you must now go back to reality and its sometimes monotonous tedium. Then there are the other times, the times when we are going through a struggle or a resurgent, unrelenting pain and minutes seem to be an hour long and a week feels like an eternity.
Eternity is a concept that is hard for us to grasp because by its nature, it is ungraspable. Like the most famous hymn tells us: When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun; we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun. When we are in heaven a day, or a million days; time will be an irrational concept and without meaning. But here and now, time does have meaning and it has weight.
While we may have eighty or so years to figure things out, God does not promise us tomorrow. Our remaining life might be like that of a fruit fly, but I think we all treat life like we are trees or radioactive isotopes and our days are like a discarded penny on the street; not worthy of taking notice in, never knowing if it might be our last.
Ephesians 5: 15-17 tells us:
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.
In so many ways, we treat days and verses as similar things. We look at the Bible and its’ 32,102 verses and we don’t take notice of each one as we read it. This passage lays the foundation of making the most of our time on this earth and it is this: understand what the will of the Lord is take care to walk carefully within it.
What is the will of the Lord?
… to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5: 18)
…it is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:2)
…your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thess. 4: 3)
These verses speak towards what the will of the Lord is, but I think there is a passage in Jeremiah that not only speaks to what the will of the Lord is, but when added to passage in Ephesians – it delivers a powerful message for each of us.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Look at what happens when you plug that into the passage in Ephesians:
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 I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Two verses separated by almost 700 years can be brought together to teach us volumes about what it means to really live with a purpose. It tells us to look past the circumstances that we might not understand. Yes, the days are evil, but God has a plan. Yes, the days are evil, but when we call upon Him, He promises to hear our prayers. Yes, the days are evil and we might feel our world is dark, but we will find him when we seek him with all of our heart. That is the will of God.
May we all make the most of our time while the Lord tarries.