Would you like to receive $86,400 each day for simply living? What would you do with that large sum of money? Would it be overwhelming to you? Would you invest it by giving toward the service of others? Would it be squandered on personal pleasures and unnecessary possessions? It may surprise you that everyone is given this personal income on a daily basis from birth. God pays us a daily income of 86,400 seconds per day. After all, as the old saying goes, time is money!
Our time is an investment. As we enter into a new calendar year, it is profitable for us to invest our time wisely, just as we would invest our income. When we invest our money, we expect our investment to yield lasting growth through interest. We seek options and make choices to maximize our money. We take measures and steps to ensure that our investment is protected and maturing. Why not invest our time as we do our money? God is actively investing in us by allotting us time to live. He analyzes and develops our character through the choices we make with the time provided to us. Good choices yield growth; bad choices bring losses.
Think about the past year. Did we feel that there was not enough time throughout the day to accomplish everything we wanted to? Was our time lost to the cares of life and the distractions of society? Did digital distractions play a large role in time mismanagement? Did we feel burdened by our loss of time? Do we desire to take control of and maximize your time? If so, there is hope. God provides a way to take control of our time.
The Bible encourages us to “walk circumspectly [carefully], not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15–16). Satan has created a global empire that is extremely evil—one that strategically attacks our time through pleasure-filled distractions. He understands that if he can steal our time away from us, we will invest less of it in Christ, thus becoming less spiritually profitable.
The Bible encourages us to rescue and maximize the investment that God makes in us each and every day. American poet Carl Sandburg put it this way: “Time is the coin of your Life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. And when you spend it, spend it wisely so that you get the most for your expenditure” (Ralph McGill, The Best of Ralph McGill: Selected Columns, 1980, p. 82). God pays close attention to how we use the time that He gives us.
Here are two ways that we can redeem and invest our time as we start a new calendar year.
1.) Set specific goals with Christ. Our goals reflect our priorities. There are only two true ways that we can invest our time—we can invest in a lasting tree of life through Christ, or a disappearing tree of the knowledge of good and evil through Satan. Those who desire eternal life will invest their time in devotion to Jesus Christ. Consider and focus on the ultimate goal of becoming members of the God Family in the Kingdom of God. Focusing on that goal helps us in our battle against Satan, who tries to steal and manipulate our time. I would encourage a reading or re-reading of our booklet Your Ultimate Destiny for a deeper understanding of our ultimate goal.
Set specific goals with Christ. Be careful not to set broad, vague goals with no detailed plans; these will not help us to engage our time properly. Break the goal down to a level that is easily obtainable. Small accomplishments will lead to greater reward, and protect us from becoming overwhelmed. If we start too big and fall short too soon, we may become discouraged and disengaged, and therefore give up before reaching success.
For example, if you are setting a goal to read more of the Bible this year, start small and specific. Write a goal such as, “I will read the Bible at least five minutes per day.” Then detail how this goal will be accomplished, like so:
Make the goal so small that you cannot talk yourself out of it. Then, when you accomplish the goal of five minutes of Bible reading, you are already engaged, and soon will begin to invest another ten minutes, or fifteen. Then, all of a sudden, the investment becomes a profitable habit. The same “start small” approach may be applied to all other goals in life.
2.) Track your progress. If we do not track our progress, we will become disengaged from our goals. Tracking our progress makes our time and goals more tangible. It is helpful for us to see our plan in action and to visualize the results.
We can track our progress by purchasing a calendar or planner. We could make spreadsheets that track our specific accomplishments. It would also be helpful to read of how experts on this subject track their time. Find what works, and at the end of each week, reflect and meditate on your progress. Write down what you invested your time in. Ask, “Did my investment yield profit or did it result in a loss?” Be specific, be serious, and then apply the lessons to the next week.
My friends, it is about time that we took control of our time! Every day, our Creator pays us $86,400 dollars in “time coins.” Over this new calendar year, let’s invest and redeem our time. Let’s be disciplined as we set specific goals with Christ, and with His help, track our progress. They who are faithful in the little things will be faithful in much (Luke 16:10). Let us not bury our investment in the sand, but rather, maximize our yield for Christ.