There are 31,557,600 seconds, or 525,960 minutes, or 8,766 hours in a year. What can you do with that much time? Surveys have been made of how much time we spend in daily activities. Of course, much of that time is spent sleeping. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 7.7 hours of the day are spent in sleep. Let’s just round it off to eight hours. They also say Americans spend nine hours a day, on average, working. Sleeping and working, then, take up seventeen hours of our twenty-four-hour day.
According to the BLS, we spend one hour eating and drinking and one hour on household chores. (I have to admit, those two numbers are probably higher for me than that, especially eating, but let us say they are correct.) That is two more hours, for a total of nineteen hours. That leaves only five hours left in a day. The BLS says that most Americans spend 2.5 hours in leisure and sports activities one hour caring for others and one and a half hours doing other things. Twenty-four hours total.
If you do the math, you will find we spend 121.5 days out of the year asleep. (Why am I always tired and sleepy, then?) We spend another 137 days working. Thirty days are spent eating and doing chores. Thirty-eight days are spent on leisure activities. However, if we attend every service of the Lord’s church, assuming we meet four hours a week, we spend only 208 hours a year in Bible study and worship. That is only 8.6 days per year that we attend Bible study and worship God corporately! Just a little more than one week out of fifty-two. For some, even that is too much!
While what looked to be a great deal of time at first turned out to be so precious little of time, it becomes important that we use it wisely. Jesus told us that He had to work the works of Him that had sent Him while it was day, for the night cometh when no man can work (John 9:4). Paul warned us to redeem the time because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16). The wise man warned, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). God’s clear warning to us is use your time wisely!
But really, we don’t even know how much time we do have! Any moment for any one of us might well be the last. It is a very sobering fact to consider that any moment our lives might be required of us (Luke 12:20), or the Lord might return and we would then stand before the judgment seat of Christ. When you consider the fact that we do not know what is going to happen on the morrow or how much time we have in the future (James 4:13-17), then we can see that we must use our time judiciously.
Whatever we do this coming year, a few Bible principles should guide us.
- First, whatsoever we do in word or in deed we must do all in the name of the Lord Jesus (Col. 3:17). That is, we must always either have scriptural authority for what we do or, at the very least, what we do must not be inconsistent with His commands. Whatever we do must be according to His will (I John 5:14).
- Second, we should pray about what goals we have for the coming year. Jesus told us to ask (Matt. 7:7,8). However, we must make certain that we do not ask amiss out of lust (James 4:3). The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16).
- Third, above all things, we must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). If what we do this year puts God in any place but first, then we are doing the wrong things. Placing too much emphasis on material things is misguided (John 6:27).
- Fourth, whatever you do, seek to glorify God by it. Paul said, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:20). If you can’t do it to His glory, you should not be doing it.
- Fifth, whatever we do should not identify us with the world, “because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16). As Christians, we are in the world, but we must not be of the world (John 17:16).
- Sixth, realize that there are consequences for whatever we do. Paul said, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7,8).
- Finally, whatever we know to be true and right we should do with all our might (Eccl. 9:10). Christianity must not be lived half-heartedly or insincerely (Matt. 22:37). Jesus warned, “Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).
It is my sincere prayer that God will bless you and yours in the coming new year as you seek to serve Him and glorify His name.
Eric L. Padgett