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  • Krissi Bentz

TIME WILL TELL

Psalm 90:10 “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” (NIV)

Let’s think together.  A child in kindergarten can tell you what time it is, but the most profound philosopher cannot tell us what time is.


The famous English preacher Dr. Alexander Maclaren said, “There is no present time.  Even while we name the moment it dies.”  Time flies!  Yes, it’s true it’s difficult to define time; it’s also hard to ignore it.  Why? — Because time has great moral significance, we are going to answer to God for the time He gave to use for His glory.  There is the good use of time and the bad misuse of time. — We shall all give an account!  God says, “they quickly pass, and … fly away.”


Einstein’s theory of relativity had to do with this fascinating subject.  He thought of beyond time!  Yet, time rolls on, it never stands still.  And I think this is true, since every day counts, “Each morning puts a person on trial and each evening passes judgment.”  Another insightful comment on time, “Time goes, you say?  Ah no!  Time stays, we go!”  Time—we say it flies, it marches on, it heals all wounds.  Time runs out!  And time will tell.  All these common phrases focus on the subject of time.  Thoreau correctly said, you cannot kill time without injuring eternity!


But I found one statement on time that I treasure, and no one knows who first said it, but it’s worth noting.  Listen, please:


“Some people count time, others make time count!”

And what about you—are you and I making time count?


And in my personal library I’ve got books of famous people saying famous words—quotes.  There are hundreds of them on this subject.


Here is one that shows wisdom:  “We live one day at a time, but we are living for eternity in that one day.”


Queen Elizabeth I (not the recent Queen Elizabeth) of England’s last words were, “All my possessions for a moment of time.” Consider that!


Napoleon, at a moment of great power said to an aide, “You can ask me for anything you like except time.”  Time is precious and we only have so much time God has allotted us—70 or 80 years.


Sir Walter Scott’s words are famous, “Time and tide wait for no man.”


And these words ring out:


“I have only just a minute, Only sixty seconds in it. Forced upon me, can’t refuse it. Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it. But it’s up to me to use it. I must suffer if I lose it. Give account if I abuse it. Just a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.”

So, three headings will quickly follow.  It’s rather simple so you can remember.  First—Time as a Thief, Second—Time as a Trust, and Third—Time as a Test.  So:  Thief!  Trust!  and  Test!  Those make the message.


I. TIME AS A THIEF


How much, time can steal away.  For example, time steals strength from a man’s muscles.  Time steals the beauty of a woman’s face.  Time robs us of our health.  We say, “Time will tell,” and we mean it erodes and robs and reveals and teaches us; time waits on no man.


Time robs us of our mental capacity.  I once heard Billy Graham openly talk about what time had done to him, “Scriptures I have quoted for years are now slow in coming or I have to have a prompter.”  Time has taken its toll on all of us.  Time robs mental capacity.


There is Eastern Standard Time, Central Standard Time, Mountain Standard Time, and Western Standard Time” and one more—time is up!  The common phrase, “There was a time when I could do that—but not now!” Time as a thief. Suddenly we realize, “My time is gone!”


Let me use an illustration we should all be able to identify with.  The National Football League is commonly called the NFL.  One of the coaches said to his players, “NFL, for you that means Not for Long.”  He meant, playing time is an average of three years or less.  Why?  Because of time robbing them of their quickness, their strength and stamina—it’s gone, time has taken it away.  Time stole it, time is a robber.  Coaches talk about running backs “losing a step.”


And this:  Every single minute which we use as our own instead of using it for Him is also a theft!  So we all, cooperating with time, are involved in stealing the valuable, priceless time.  We waste time and we kill time.  And let’s not forget our visualizing of this with “Old Father Time.”  He is pictured with a long, white beard, an hourglass in one hand and a scythe in the other, with long, thin fingers to take away what he chooses—time as a thief, time comes and takes.  He is a robber—he steals our beauty, our brains, and our best!


II. TIME AS A TRUST


Each of us, says Scripture, has a certain given amount of time—God decides that.  We will grow as a person when we see time as a trust.  Therefore we can safely say, nobody is fully alive who does not know the value of time.


A university professor challenged his students saying, “The average age of the people of our class is twenty-one.”  He then pointed out the number of productive days before retirement.  He said, dismiss sick days and off days and it comes to forty years.  He said, “Most of you have only about fourteen-thousand days to fulfill your life purpose.”


Time is a trust.  What are we going to do with it?  Are we responsible people before God?  Are we making the most of our life?  Are our hands red with killing time?  Time is a trust—we must find our place.


It’s a striking phrase from Paul, “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:16), that is, buy it up by having a life purpose—His purpose.  And someone commented, “No, time cannot be called—we can’t call time and it can’t be recalled, but with God in the mix it can be redeemed.”


“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)  We need God to teach us!  Number our days—not months!  Number our days—not years!


That seems to say, if we number our days with God’s wisdom, the years and our life will take care of itself!  Take care of life day by day—with God’s involvement.


And we note—Jesus was time conscious.  He said, “night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4)  Jesus spoke to His mother and said, “My time has not yet come.” (John 2:4)  He was saying, “I have limited time on the earth.”


III. TIME AS A TEST


The psalmist asks, “How long, Lord? … Remember how short my time is …” (Psalm 89:46-47)  Then he mentions the matter of living and dying which was heavy on his mind and should be on ours too!


In Daniel there are these strange words which are related to time as a test:  “… they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” (Daniel 7:25)  Then judgment to come is mentioned.  Paul said, “it is high time to awake” (Romans 13:11).  Hosea said, “it is time to seek the Lord” (Hosea 10:12).


One great man of faith spoke of the point of time at which time is no longer and it passes into the eternity.  So, it means that time is the time when we will all answer for how we have used our time.


Time and eternity are one,

Time is eternity begun.


So, let it be said with Biblical authority, all of us have an appointment before the Lord.  That time is coming!  We will answer and this matter of the use of time shall be put before us all.  I counted at least eleven verses in the Bible with God directly referring to the value of time, the redemption of time, and how we will answer for the use of our time—for all eternity.  It relates directly to the test of time and its wise use.


God has given all of us enough time to prepare for eternity.  The book of Revelation speaks of the end of time; for you and me it’s coming.  John pictures Him that “liveth for ever and ever” and then the statement “that there should be time [delay] no longer” (Revelation 10:6).  It’s over—time has run out!  After a sermon by a famous guest speaker in a church an older man boldly walked up and said, “Preacher, do you think we are living at the end of time?”  He replied, “I don’t know about that, but I do know you’re living at the end of your time!”


And let’s never forget that God says in the book of Ecclesiastes that there is time for all things.  We’ve got time to repent, we’ve got time to serve Him, we have got enough time to get right with God. — He has given us the time we need to put first things first.  We have no excuse.  And that is exactly why time is a test.  Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God,” in the famous Sermon on the Mount.  In fact, let me quote it in modern language:


“But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” Matthew 6:33, AMP

Time to put life in the right order—that’s it, time as a test we will all take with eternity before us.  For all of us, one day God will say, I gave you time, “What did you do with it?”  Did we use it selfishly or sinfully?  Did we invest in the pleasure of the moment or in eternity?  Remember, Jesus talked about laying up treasures in eternity and rewarding the proper use of time.  Are you personally doing that?


Was it time wasted?  I read this statement in a sermon of almost a hundred years ago.  Listen, please:  “Is it not positively frightening to dwell on the possibility of doing evil with the time God gave us?”  And this sentence followed, “And never forget that the best of men has in him the possibility to become the worst of men within five minutes’ time, but then God said that the reverse can be true.”  You can become right with God in the next tick of the clock hands.  Everything depends on what you and I will do with that priceless thing called time.  Now is the time!  All eternity depends on this moment!  You and I have time to work and play, time to love and marry, time to plan and do, time to sleep and rest—God gives us that, but most of all He gives us time to come and make peace with Him.  That time is now!  Nothing could be more urgent!

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