How Can We Make Our Days Count Before Jehovah?
“Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set with sixty diamond minutes. No reward is offered, for they are gone forever!”—Lydia H. Sigourney, American author (1791-1865).
THE days of our life seem few and fleeting. The psalmist David pondered the brevity of life and was moved to pray: “Cause me, O Jehovah, to know my end, and the measure of my days—what it is, that I may know how transient I am. Look! You have made my days just a few; and my life’s duration is as nothing in front of you.” David’s concern was to live in such a way as to please God, both by his speech and by his actions. Voicing his dependence on God, he said: “My expectation is toward you.” (Psalm 39:4, 5, 7) Jehovah listened. He did indeed measure David’s activities and reward him accordingly.
It is easy to be busy every minute of the day and to be swept along in a life that is fast-paced and full of activities. This could arouse in us an anxious concern, especially with so much to do and to experience and so little time to do it. Is our concern the same as that of David—to live our life so as to have God’s approval? To be sure, Jehovah does observe and carefully examine each of us. Job, a man who feared God, acknowledged some 3,600 years ago that Jehovah saw his ways and counted all his steps. Job rhetorically asked: “When he calls for an accounting, what can I answer him?” (Job 31:4-6, 14) It is possible to make our days count before God by establishing spiritual priorities, obeying his commands, and using our time wisely. Let us give closer consideration to these matters.
Make Spiritual Matters Our Primary Concern
The inspired Scriptures rightly urge us to establish spiritual priorities when they say: “Make sure of the more important things.” What are these important things? The answer involves “accurate knowledge and full discernment.” (Philippians 1:9, 10) Acquiring knowledge of Jehovah’s purpose calls for wise use of our time. However, making spiritual matters our primary concern will assure us of a life that is rewarding and fulfilling.
The apostle Paul reminds us to “keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord.” Our making sure must involve self-examination of our motives and desires of the heart. The apostle continues: “Go on perceiving what the will of Jehovah is.” (Ephesians 5:10, 17) So, what does Jehovah find acceptable? A Bible proverb answers: “Wisdom is the prime thing. Acquire wisdom; and with all that you acquire, acquire understanding. Highly esteem it, and it will exalt you.” (Proverbs 4:7, 8) Jehovah rejoices over a person who acquires and exercises godly wisdom. (Proverbs 23:15) The beauty of such wisdom is that it cannot be taken away or destroyed. In fact, it becomes a safeguard and a protection ‘from the bad way and from those speaking perverse things.’—Proverbs 2:10-15.
How wise it is, then, to resist any tendency toward adopting a casual approach to spiritual matters! We need to cultivate an appreciative attitude for Jehovah’s sayings and a healthy fear of him. (Proverbs 23:17, 18) While such a mental disposition can be acquired at any time in life, it is best to establish this right pattern and to imprint Bible principles on our personality during youth. “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood,” says wise King Solomon.—Ecclesiastes 12:1.
The most intimate way to cultivate an appreciation for Jehovah is through personal prayer to him each day. David recognized the importance of confiding in Jehovah, for he pleaded: “Do hear my prayer, O Jehovah, and to my cry for help do give ear. At my tears do not keep silent.” (Psalm 39:12) Does the depth of our intimacy with God at times touch our emotions to the point of tears? Indeed, the more we communicate with Jehovah about intimate matters of the heart and meditate on his Word, the closer he draws to us.—James 4:8.
Moses was another man of faith who recognized his dependence on God. Like David, Moses could see that life is filled with trouble. He therefore petitioned God to show him ‘how to count his days in such a way as to bring in a heart of wisdom.’ (Psalm 90:10-12) A heart of wisdom would come only from learning and living in accord with Jehovah’s laws and principles. Moses knew this and subsequently endeavored to impress that vital truth upon the nation of Israel by repeating God’s laws and regulations to them prior to their taking possession of the Promised Land. Any human king whom Jehovah would later choose to rule over Israel was to write for himself a copy of the Law and read in it all the days of his life. Why? In order that he might learn to fear God. This would be a test of a king’s obedience. It would protect him from exalting his heart above his brothers and would also lengthen his days upon his kingdom. (Deuteronomy 17:18-20) This promise was reiterated when Jehovah said to David’s son Solomon: “If you will walk in my ways by keeping my regulations and my commandments, just as David your father walked, I will also lengthen your days.”—1 Kings 3:10-14.
Obedience is a serious matter with God. If we were to trivialize certain aspects of Jehovah’s requirements and commands as if unimportant, he would surely take notice of such an attitude. (Proverbs 15:3) Knowing this should move us to maintain a high regard for all of Jehovah’s divine directives, even though doing so may not always be easy. Satan does all he can to “cut across our path” as we strive to heed God’s laws and commands.—1 Thessalonians 2:18.
It is particularly important to comply with the Scriptural counsel to meet together for worship and fellowship. (Deuteronomy 31:12, 13; Hebrews 10:24, 25) So we do well to ask ourselves: ‘Do I have the determination and persistence necessary to do what is really worthwhile?’ To neglect association and instruction at Christian meetings for the sake of trying to ensure financial security would weaken our relationship with Jehovah. The apostle Paul wrote: “Let your manner of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things. For [Jehovah] has said: ‘I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5) Willing obedience to Jehovah’s commands shows implicit trust that he will care for us.
Jesus learned obedience and benefited. So can we. (Hebrews 5:8) The more we cultivate obedience, the more readily it will come, even in little things. True, because of our integrity, we may have to cope with unpleasant and even harsh treatment from others. Especially may this be so in the workplace, at school, or in a religiously divided household. Yet, we find comfort in the declaration made to the Israelites that if they ‘loved Jehovah by listening to his voice and by sticking to him, he would be their life and the length of their days.’ (Deuteronomy 30:20) This same promise is held out to us.
Use Time Wisely
Wise use of our time will also help us to make our days count before Jehovah. Unlike money that can be saved, time must be spent, or it will be lost. Every hour that passes is gone forever. Since there is always more to do than we can handle, are we spending our time in line with our objectives in life? A major objective of all Christians should be regular participation in the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work.—Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20.
Wise use of our time comes only after we are keenly aware of its value. Aptly, Ephesians 5:16 urges us to ‘buy out the opportune time for ourselves,’ and this implies “purchasing” it, forgoing less important things. It means reducing time-wasting pursuits. Too much television viewing or surfing of the Internet, reading of unprofitable secular material, or the excessive pursuit of recreation and entertainment can leave us exhausted. Additionally, an inordinate accumulation of material possessions can consume the time needed to acquire a heart of wisdom.
Advocates of careful time management say: “It is impossible to make good use of your time without a set of well-defined goals.” They suggest five criteria for setting goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed.
One worthwhile goal is to improve in our Bible reading. The first step is to make our goal specific—to read the entire Bible. The next step is to make our goal measurable. By doing this, we can chart our progress. Goals should make us stretch and grow. They must also be achievable and realistic. Personal abilities, skills, and available time must be taken into consideration. For some, more time may be required to accomplish the goal. Finally, our goal needs to be timed. Setting a date for accomplishing something may well increase motivation to get it done.
All members of the global Bethel family, who serve at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses or at one of its branches worldwide, have a specific goal to read the entire Bible during their first year at Bethel. They realize that profitable Bible reading contributes to their spiritual growth and to a closer relationship with Jehovah, who is teaching them to benefit themselves. (Isaiah 48:17) Can we make regular Bible reading our goal as well?
Benefits of Making Our Days Count
Giving paramount attention to spiritual matters will result in manifold blessings. For one thing, it contributes to a greater sense of accomplishment and purpose in life. Regular communication with Jehovah in heartfelt prayer draws us closer to him. The very action of praying shows our trust in him. Daily reading of the Bible and Bible-based publications provided by “the faithful and discreet slave” demonstrates our willingness to listen to God as he speaks to us. (Matthew 24:45-47) This helps us acquire a heart of wisdom so as to make right decisions and choices in life.—Psalm 1:1-3.
We delight to obey Jehovah’s commandments, for doing so is not a burden. (1 John 5:3) As we make each day count before Jehovah, we strengthen our relationship with him. We also become a true spiritual support to our fellow Christians. Such actions make Jehovah God glad. (Proverbs 27:11) And there is no greater reward than to enjoy Jehovah’s approval now and forever!
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Christians take a serious view of spiritual matters
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Are you using your time wisely?
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We strengthen our relationship with Jehovah as we make each day count with him