Mary Pedersen offers encouragement to teach our children by our example to direct their time to Jesus.
Days shortening. Skies darkening. Leaves falling. Time slipping like sand through the hourglass. As we enter autumn and limited daylight, we ask: How are we to spend our days? What to do with our brief time on earth — whether we’re one or ninety-one? We pray. We plead. We petition for wisdom. How then shall we live? The Psalmist advises, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart” (Ps 90:12). Viewing our days in light of eternity grants us the proper perspective on life — on time.
Time runs through our fingers, often unnoticed, sweeping by like a whirlwind. We try to capture time, even halt it, as a hand braced against a speeding train. But time marches on. C. S. Lewis describes time: “It looks like a river of Nows. Unbounded. Broken Free.” In numbering our days, we gain the wisdom to use our time well. We dare not waste a day — not even one moment. As author Ann Voskamp writes in The Broken Way, a Daring Path to the Abundant Life,
“You have only one decision every day: how will you use your time?”
A friend, under the gun with work and a million other demands, reflected: “I’ve been viewing time as an enemy when I need to appreciate it as a gift.” Time is God’s gift to us; we were born at a prescribed time, will die at an unknown time, and must learn, through wisdom, how best to number the in-between time. According to Voskamp, if we use time like Christ, we discover truth: “Time isn’t something you seize; it’s something you sacrifice. It’s not something to grab; it’s something to give.”
It takes wisdom to direct our time to Jesus Christ and to seek first the kingdom of God. Scripture warns us to not fritter time on the trite or trivial, but to number our days as our days are numbered. How many more days to tuck an elderly parent into bed, rock a baby, giggle with a toddler, fly kites or ride a bike, hold hands with a spouse, listen to a troubled neighbor, feed a homeless man, or catch a twirling red leaf? Only God knows.
The years with children are short. With but a few blinks, children grow and leave home. We are wise to spend cherished time with our children and grandchildren. We teach our children the importance and pleasure of spending God’s time well by sharing Scripture, appreciating beauty, working hard on a project, serving the poor, and praying and playing together. We help our children to appreciate time by expressing gratitude for the sheer gift of another day.
Holy time is never measured by the accumulation of days or dollars, but by the expenditure of our lives through love, service, and self-sacrifice. Voskamp ponders: “Maybe temporary time is made for dying to self — so your eternal self can really live.” We lament with the Psalmist that our lives “pass quickly, and we are gone” (Ps 90:10). Our days on earth are numbered and our lives but ash, if not for the timeless love of God poured into us through our Lord, Jesus Christ! Now, that’s good news.
How will you be more intentional in spending your time?
What will you teach your children about holy time?
About the Author
Mary Pedersen serves as "first preacher" to six and grand-preacher to ten! She holds a doctorate in preaching from the Aquinas Institute of Theology, with her thesis, "Parents as First Preachers: Naming Grace in the Domestic Church." She writes and speaks on topics of faith and family, and has been known on probably far too many occasions, to shout out a woo-hoo! Mary blogs at MaryPedersen.com.