Time is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. We all know that our time on this earth is short– but too often, we live our lives as if it is unlimited.
Christian minimalists aim to use our time in ways that give glory to God. Rather than living on automatic pilot and assuming that we will always have more time– we strive to use our time wisely and in line with God’s guidance.
The Bible tells us three major things about God’s gift of time:
Time is not infinite.
For humans, time is a limited gift from God. We don’t typically know how much time we have left here on earth– but we do know that at some point, our time on this side of existence will end. Too often we put things off, thinking that we will have lots of time to get to them later. But as is written in James 4:14, “Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
In the grand scheme of history, our lives are short. The prayer in Psalm 39:4-5 reminds us of this:
Lord, let me know my end,
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight.
Time is valuable.
Because our time on earth is limited, it follows that time is valuable. A famous Bible verse, Psalm 90:12, asks God:
So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.
In other words, our time is so short and valuable that we should be aware of how few days we have, and use them to gain wisdom in our spiritual lives.
But, we are not just called by God to use our valuable time for our own spiritual gain. We are also called to use our time for others. Colossians 4:5 offers this advice: “Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time.” We are called to work with those outside the fold of Jesus, showing them Jesus’ love and helping them experience that love.
Time is to be used intentionally.
You may have noticed that a word that is repeated in more than one of the Bible verses above is “wise.” This is because God is calling us to use our short, valuable time in wise and intentional ways, in line with God’s purpose for us.
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
We are called to use our time intentionally and wisely, listening for guidance on how God wants us to spend our time. We are to make the most of the time that God has gifted us. We are able to do this because God continually leads us and loves us as we use our short, God-give time:
As for mortals, their days are like grass;
they flourish like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments. (Psalm 103:15-18)
God’s everlasting love is what enables us to use our short, valuable time intentionally, serving God and serving others. And when we use our time deliberately in God’s service, we are passing our wise use of time down through the generations. In this way, future generations will also be intentional about their use of God-given time.
We are invited not to take our time on earth for granted, but to use it to build up God’s kingdom. God is calling us to not squander the gift of time, but to recognize its limit and value and be deliberate in how we use it.
Here are some practical tips on how God may be calling you to use your time more wisely:
–Assess your current schedule. Look at everything you are spending time on for the next few months. Evaluate each scheduled use to your time. Ask yourself: “How is God calling me to use my time? What matters most and is most important?”
–Pray over your schedule and minimize it. Ask God in prayer as you look at your calendar: “How would you like me to use my time to your glory?” In conjunction with God’s guidance, minimize your schedule and let some things go that you may have taken on out of obligation or expectations of others.
–Say no. Once you start being more aware of your use of time, you’ll be better able to say no to things that are not in line with how God is calling you personally to use your time, while saying yes to those select things that are most important.
Be more intentional with technology use. We have all ended up wasting time watching too much TV, using social media for long periods of time, and staring at smart phones. Using time intentionally is not about cutting these things out altogether, but being more deliberate in how much time is used with technology. Consider time limits, paring down watched TV shows, and maybe even short-term technology fasts (for a few hours) to break bad habits of time-sucking technology use.
Spend more time with others. One of the major regrets dying people typically have is that they did not spend enough time with their loved ones. Be intentional about paring down your schedule so that you can spend time family, friends, and siblings in Christ.
Set aside time for God. Once you have minimized your schedule through God’s guidance, you will have more time to spend with your God in prayer, reading Scripture, and in Sabbath time. Spend time in God’s Word, listen for the Spirit’s leading, and enjoy this time apart from work and other life duties. As you spend more time with God, you will be better able to heart God’s voice and see God’s actions in your own life and in the lives of others.
God has given us the gift of time. How is God inviting you to use your gift of time more wisely?