Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
– Psalm 90:12, NIV
They say time is more precious than money – indeed, other than our very souls, it is widely considered to be the most valuable thing we own. It is no wonder, then, that we use it sparingly with things we consider of little importance, and that we resent having to spend it on things that have little meaning to us such as waiting in queues. How a person chooses to spend his or her time can show a great deal about the personality and the priorities of that person.
I used to be almost obsessed with productivity. I kept an extensive to-do list on me at all times and I felt that a day was wasted if I had not completed several things from that list on top of whatever appointments or arrangements I had for the day. This productivity mentality was damaging to my relationships with those around me, especially with my then boyfriend (now husband), and my relationship with God. At one point I felt Him convicting me to give up my to-do list: to put it away and not look at it again for a month. I found this a very stressful idea, but eventually I obeyed – and for the first few days I tried to go about life the same way as before, just trying to remember what was on the list and what needed to be done instead of consulting it.
After a short while I realised that this way of living was unhelpful and that I needed to change my attitude towards my time. I finally learnt to surrender my time to God, and I was still able to be productive but my priorities had changed: relationships with Him and with others came first, and productivity could much more easily be put on hold – and I learnt to make time to rest and enjoy myself, too. This was an incredibly important lesson for me to learn, and I believe it is important for each of us to learn to surrender our time into God’s hands, wherever we come from and whatever our attitude to it.
Let us ponder, what are our priorities in life? How does the way we spend our time reflect those? May we surrender our hearts to God, giving over to Him our priorities, and indeed our time. We are His, and so may we live every day of our lives for Him, putting Him at the centre, and inviting Him to spend every hour of every day with us, laughing with us, teaching us and speaking with us. May we surrender to God our time at work, our time at home, our time with our families, our time with our friends, our time doing things we enjoy or practicing hobbies, our time serving others, our time spent in prayer, our time relaxing… May we surrender it all into His hands and allow Him to touch us and step in, to walk through each day with us as our partner and closest friend.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
– Proverbs 16:9, NIV
May we surrender to God the time we spend in our workplace, or doing the things that we are obliged to do with our time. May we give into His hands the time we spend doing things that we do not particularly enjoy but must do. May we surrender, too, the time we spend with our families – the time we spend serving them through housework and other duties, as well as the time we spend just being with them and doing things with them. And let us surrender to God the whole of our time, and invite Him to walk with us every hour of every day, wherever we are and whatever we are doing.
May we surrender into God’s hands the time we spend actively seeking Him – through the Bible, or prayer, or meeting with other believers to talk about Him and seek Him. May we give that time over into His hands. Let us surrender to Him, too, the time we spend with our families – our spouses and kids, or those we live with. May we be open for God to speak in and through us to those people, and may we be open for Him to speak to us through them. May His light shine in our homes as we seek to honour Him with our very lives, even the most intimate and personal and sometimes challenging areas of our lives such as our ‘home life’.
May we surrender to God the time we spend doing the things we enjoy. The time watching TV, or out with friends, or practicing a hobby, or phoning relatives. May we bring to mind the things we spend a lot of our time on – perhaps any addictions we may have (whether or not we readily recognise those as addictions), and any bad habits we may have, and may we surrender these into God’s hands. And the time we spend resting. May we give it all into His hands, acknowledging Him as our King and the One for whom we live. And may we give over to Him the time we spend serving, giving and blessing others. May we lift it all to Him and allow Him to teach us and shape us, showing us more and more of His will as we grow closer to Him and learn to live each day in His presence.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate,
A time for war and a time for peace.
– Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV
God, my Saviour and Lord,
Thank You for being my ever-present companion.
Thank You that You care about how I spend my time, and that You want to walk with me through everything.
I surrender to You my time, and my priorities.
I give You my heart and ask that You would guide me and transform me into Your likeness.
Please teach me Your will and Your priorities, and help me to recognise Your presence with me throughout each day.
I surrender to You the time I spend at work.
I surrender to You the time I spend with my family and my closest friends.
I surrender to You the time I spend resting and doing things I enjoy.
I surrender to You the time I spend in prayer, and serving others.
I surrender my priorities, and I give You my heart.
May I live each day in a way that makes You smile, in response to Your amazing love for me.