Do You Have Time?
DO YOU have time to do the things that matter most to you? Many persons do not, this despite the increasing use of timesaving devices. “With all the timesaving devices Americans have,” it has been said, “they have more trouble than anybody else finding time for anything.” Regardless of what country one lives in, this matter of finding time is an important one. It is especially vital for Christians, who are told: “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves.”—Eph. 5:15, 16.
To buy out time for pursuits that will truly enrich our lives we need an awareness of how we spend our time. According to a recent survey, the average man in the United States spends twenty years working, twenty years sleeping, five years shaving and dressing, five years eating, one year telephoning, three years just waiting and sixteen years playing or relaxing.
These waiting and relaxing categories may offer, for many persons, a wealth of time that can be bought out. After all, sixteen years of playing or relaxing is a lot of time. Could some of this time be more profitably used? Each person must answer such a question for himself, taking into consideration his own needs for relaxation.
One should also consider his goal in life. If his goal is to be a true follower of Christ Jesus, then he will continually be searching for ways to buy out time to enrich himself and others spiritually. In this age of rampant materialism those who would be happy must ever keep in mind Jesus’ words: “Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.”—Matt. 4:4.
So one should be willing to examine the time he allots to relaxation. In this regard it is obvious that many persons are immoderate in their habits. For example, the A. C. Nielsen Company, a marketing research organization, reports that the American family spends an average of thirty-eight hours a week in front of the TV screen. That is about 2,000 hours a year, the equivalent of 250 eight-hour days—lost forever for any other purposes.
Not only is it wise to examine one’s relaxation habits but it is profitable to be conscious of how one spends much of his other leisure time. Some persons spend considerable time reading. To get the most out of this time one should ask himself: What is my purpose in reading this or that? What will I learn? How will I benefit? When one reads with a purpose, he saves time and is more likely to use it wisely.
Much time can be wasted on reading material such as newspapers. The Sunday newspaper is a notorious time waster because many persons try to read too much of it. Usually there are only a few items that are of real concern to the reader. View the newspaper for what it is—a page of history. Keep abreast of news that is significant history; but much that fills a newspaper is hardly that.
For those persons who already have their relaxation requirements at a moderate or minimum level, there is another category they may examine: waiting time. It is said to average three years. It may be even longer. One Swiss who made a careful record of his use of time found that in his eighty years he had wasted more than five years waiting for tardy people.
There is often considerable time at one’s disposal in this waiting category. There is waiting for haircuts, waiting for doctor or dental appointments, waiting for a spouse, waiting for trains, planes and buses and waiting while on trains, planes and buses. These waiting periods may furnish opportunities to study what you want to or need to. Think of the many opportunities to read publications that will aid one to improve his spiritual life! Think of the many opportunities to read God’s Word and to meditate on portions of it!
To use waiting time wisely one should be prepared. Some may find a pocket-size Bible convenient. Those who have automobiles may easily have reading material on hand for use during waiting periods.
Another way to buy out time is to alter your schedule. Some persons may be able to get along on less sleep; they may choose to get up a half hour or an hour earlier than usual. This gives them valuable time for reading the Word of God.
To buy out time there is something else that can be done: make time by organizing your time. A time-planned day or week should not be so rigid, however, that it leaves one frustrated because of inability to keep it. The schedule should be reasonable. It should take into consideration the vital things of life.
In his book You and Your Work Ways, Morgan D. Parmenter recommends listing three different types of activity when planning a time-scheduled day or week: (1) The things one must do, (2) the things one would like to do and (3) the things one will do only if time permits.
Beginning a week or day with a fair idea of what you intend to accomplish results in so much more being done than would be done had there been no schedule. “All your time should be organized,” says Harry Simmons, a widely known management consultant, “or much of it will be wasted—your study time as well as your working and leisure time. A study program without the discipline of a definite schedule usually results in nothing much being accomplished. The only way to study a subject is to work at it on a regular schedule. Take one thing at a time. Simply schedule it for a definite period each day, or every other day, and keep to your schedule. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish in this way.”
In category number one—the things that one must do—the wise person puts matters pertaining to his spiritual life. The best use that can be made of bought-out time is to use it in doing the will of the Creator. Since this old world will soon come to its end at God’s war of Armageddon, time is life. Those who kill time will soon not have time to kill. Those who use time wisely, buying it out for the service of the Creator, will be blessed with an eternity of time in God’s new world.