Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as men who do not know the meaning and purpose of life but as those who do. Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. —Ephesians 5:15-16 (Phillips)
“Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.”
Imagine if someone told you, at 12:01 am daily, someone would deposit $1,440 into your bank account. You could spend, invest, or give it away any way you wished, but you had to do something with all of it. Your balance would revert to zero each midnight; not a penny would carry over.
How much of that money would you leave in your account to be erased nightly? Probably none. You’d likely spare no effort to use each dollar daily. However, we are all given a similar gift every 24 hours: 1,440 minutes. We can use that time in countless ways, but we can’t “bank” any of it. When the clock strikes midnight, that day is over, and we start again from scratch.
The Bible commands us to use our time wisely, “despite all the difficulties of these days.” Some translations render that: “because the days are evil.” Time may be our most valuable resource, because our lives are basically the sum of how we use and invest our time. Wise use of time, day in and day out, year in and year out, results in a successful life. In contrast, wasted days…if compounded over years and decades…result in a wasted life.
There’s a lot of talk about “fairness” and “equity” these days. When we’re honest about it, we have to realize God isn’t very “fair” in giving out gifts. Not all people are born equally healthy, or into loving families, or with genes to be bright, good-looking or athletic. Those mysteries of life are not ours to understand in this life (see Deut. 29:29). However, God does give us all equal amounts of time. As motivational speaker Zig Ziglar used to say, “we all get the same 24 hours a day, just like the average billionaire.” The only difference is, how do we use our time?
Franklin urged us to “Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful.” Practicing what he preached, while he was on sailing ships to Europe, he used the weeks of travel time to be the first to map and name the Gulf Stream.
The word for you is: Make the best use of your time.
This is Part 6 of a 13-Part series, based on 13 virtues that Benjamin Franklin sought to incorporate into his daily life, each of which has a scriptural basis. Franklin began this system in 1726, when he was incredibly only 20 years old. He realized that, since each year has 52 weeks, one can repeat this series four times annually. A chart like the one Franklin designed to help one mark one’s progress can be found here.