“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
–John Wooden, former UCLA basketball coach
When Christians discuss about stewardship, we normally talk about it in terms of the proper accumulation and utilization of money. That’s certainly an important aspect of stewardship. But the idea of stewardship is much broader. We are expected to properly steward many things in life—the many things that have been entrusted to us by our Master in heaven. That includes the proper stewardship of our bodies, our talents, our possessions, our children, and of course, our time.
Time is the one commodity that we can’t get back once it’s gone. We can’t buy more of it. We can’t barter for it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. We often say, “Time flies.” And in my observation, time seems to be flying faster and faster as I get older and older. I’m afraid that if I blink again, I might find myself as an old man. And as Job 14:5 tells us, the number of days we have on earth has been predetermined by God. But although we can’t buy or barter for more time, we can certainly make the most of whatever we have left in our possession.
The proper stewardship of time simply means that we’re utilizing the limited resource in Christ-centered, meaningful ways. Consider what the prophet Samuel said to the Israelites in his farewell speech to them. After instructing the Israelites to not turn away from following the Lord and serving Him, he said this: “And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty” (1 Samuel 12:21, ESV). I believe Samuel here was referring to false gods who cannot do anything for the Israelites or deliver them from their enemies. But there’s a broader implication here as well. There are apparently things in life that we can turn to that ultimately won’t profit us or deliver any form of meaning to our lives. They are, in Samuel’s words, “empty things.”
Are we spending our limited time going after things that are ultimately “empty”? Things that won’t profit us or bring us any form of meaning and fulfillment in the end? We all waste time with something. And sometimes we can’t help it. It takes so much energy and effort to ensure that were utilizing every minute of our lives well. And we’re still human beings who falter all the time. But hopefully, we’ll minimize the amount of wasted time and get onto things that will profit us in the end and bring godly meaning and fulfillment to our short earthly lives.