How will you use your extra time?

How will you use your extra time?

What do you do when you suddenly have lots of time? That is not a question that many of us have had to answer before. We like to fill our lives with all kinds of useful things: work, hobbies, shopping, and gatherings of family and friends. In our current restricted world, most of us have more time than we did a few weeks ago. For some, it is because their industry has closed, and they are out of work. For others, they have work, but they have less travel time and less transporting children.

How do we fill this new unstructured time that we have been given by God? There are some helpful Biblical principles for us to consider here.

  1. Time is always short, so we need to think eternally

Psalm 90 is a rich song that compares the short life we all lead to the eternal reality of God, including these words:

10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? 12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Ps. 90:10-12 ESV)

Teach us to number our days, says the psalmist. This means that we should understand that our life is short, and eternity is long. It is too easy for our life to be “soon gone” without us thinking that hard about how to live.

We can also apply this principle to our current additional time. We need to understand that this precious time we have right now, the extra time, might seem long but it is not. If we don’t think about how to use it, it will be gone, we will return to our usual lives, and the opportunity to use it well will be lost.

2. Remember you are God’s child when you plan how to use your time

In Ephesians chapter 5, Paul encourages Christians in the first century with these words:

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Eph. 5:15-21 ESV)

Look carefully then how you walk; in other words, how you live. You can spend this extra time any number of ways. Maybe the choice is not as stark as comparing drunkenness to singing psalms and hymns, but we all face a choice. How will you use this extra time? You can watch a constant stream of bad TV. You could watch the news constantly and build your anxiety up. You could selfishly hoard food and make no attempt to contact others. You could do all these things, but they would be foolish and not making the best use of the time.

Think more like a child of God. As Paul encourages, look for things to thank God for. Even in this time, they are there. Encourage one another. Sing! Read something that deepens your faith.

I have found our family has time for more regular family devotions than we used to. We are spending more time going for walks in God’s creation. We are reading more. There are good ways to use this time; don’t fritter them away.

Remember: God has given you this time as a gift. How will you use this gift? Will you look back on this time as a time used well for God? Or only as a time that you indulged your sinful nature?