And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven: it is a sore travail that God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind (Ecclesiastes 1:13-14).
Perhaps one of the most common refrains that we hear from people today is, “I’m too busy.” “Busy-ness” seems to be the rule anymore, and not the exception. Everyone everywhere is busy doing this and that. How many times have we told other people– or have been told ourselves– that requests cannot be made because of being “too busy”? How many people wish that there were just a few more hours in every day?
There is a sad irony in all of this. We have seen an explosion of “time saving” technologies over the past century, and whereas our ancestors spent much of their time washing clothes, obtaining food, preparing food, and getting from place to place, we have the luxuries of laundry machines, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, cars, and such like. Even though we spend much less time involved in those activities, we are still busier than ever!
Time has not changed. There are still 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 or 366 days a year. The difference is not in time, but in us and in our habits.
If we stop for a moment and get brutally honest with ourselves, we would recognize that our problem is not being “busy” per se, but that our priorities are our problem. If something is important enough to us, we will make time for it. If we are wise with our time, our use of time will properly reflect our priorities in life. If we are foolish with our time, we will spend it in profitless endeavors and strive after wind.
Paul reminds us that we ought to redeem the time, for the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16). Every day provides temptations and challenges. We may be seduced into spending our time in sin, and we know that such would be evil. But how much better is it if we are seduced into spending our time in endeavors that do not profit? How well can we serve God if we fill our days watching television, playing around on the Internet, or by finding other ways to entertain ourselves to death? On the other hand, we can recognize that our time is short, and that we must spend our time doing the most profitable things that we can find to do at any given moment. And we know what the most profitable things involve– the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
Time is the grand equalizer: we all have the same amount of time in a day, week, month, and year, no matter if we are extremely wealthy or extremely poor, no matter how educated we are, and so on and so forth. If we spend our time in fruitless endeavors, we have no one to blame but ourselves. How we decide to spend our time is our decision, and we must make the best decision we can.
Therefore, the next time you say that you are “too busy” to do some work, stop and ask: how am I spending my time? If people looked at my schedule and how I spend my time, what would they think my priorities are in life? Are those really my priorities? Is God honored or despised by how I use the time with which He has blessed me? Let us do all we can to build up God’s Kingdom, and spend our time appropriately!
Ethan R. Longhenry