But Is Time For or Against You?
If you feel like time is flying by year after year, this message is for you.
If you feel like you cannot keep up with the demands of life, this message is for you.
If you feel like you are running out of time, and your age is starting to feel like a negative factor, this message is for you too.
What Is the Purpose of Time?
God created time to serve us. Like money, time is just a tool in our tool belt. However, if you are not using time correctly, time can seem like a thief in the night, stealing your youth and decaying your possessions.
And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28 NKJV).
In the same way that God created the Sabbath, which is a day of rest for humans, God created times and seasons for us. Time was made for man, and not man for time.
By design, we aren't servants of time; however, people who do not master their time become slaves to the clock. Mastering our time has to do with being aware of the purpose, value, and seasons of time. Viewing time from the proper perspective grants us invaluable insight into the future and what God has prepared for us.
What Is the Nature of Time?
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to gain, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak
Ecclesiastes 3:1-3,5-7 NKJV
Time has a rhythm or cadence - a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound. Seconds roll into minutes, minutes into hours, and hours into days. Seven consecutive days (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven) roll up into one week, and then the count starts again (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven) without missing a beat.
Over time, we experience seasons - winter, spring, summer, and fall. Those seasons in nature also represent seasons of our lives: seasons of death, new growth, rest, and preparation. These seasons are also representative of periods of subtraction, addition, multiplication, and division.
If you have ever played Double Dutch, hula hooped, or line danced, you know that timing is everything. You cannot just jump into the activity all willy-nilly and expect it all to go well. You must pay attention to timing and rhythm and know when to jump in and hit the ground running in the right cadence to minimize disruption.
Time is Everything!
Once you figure out the season and the timing, you realize there’s a short window to jump in, and if you don’t jump, that opportunity will pass you by. If your timing is right, and your actions match the natural rhythm and flow of life, the universe will just move you along to greater opportunities seamlessly and effortlessly.
The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all (Ecclesiastes 9:11 NKJV).
Most of us in the United States were not raised to live and move in harmony with the rhythm and flow of life, so our timing is off. Because our timing is off, we expend lots of time and effort to achieve diminishing returns. Then we spend years trying to be swifter, stronger, wiser, and more skillful at everything, wasting precious time missing life’s timing and squandering opportunities.
Timing is everything, but we treat it like it’s nothing, and in doing so, we will continue to miss precious moments and opportunities. In doing so, we prove to the universe that we are not ready for better and better moves on without us.
Then we find ourselves stuck in a cycle of more effort, more time, and diminishing returns. Some of us will spring into action becoming swifter, stronger, wiser, and more skillful, but none of those actions will bring us the results we want. What we want is endless free time doing the things we enjoy without financial constraints.
You might feel like time is working against you and that your opportunities are limited, but in reality, you are probably the one working against time and, therefore, missing out on opportunities. Time and chance are happening to us all, regardless of our skills, talents, or experiences. Time and chance favor no one in particular: we are all experiencing them whether we are young or old, rich, or poor.
What God spoke to me in 2023 is reverberating in 2024 and throughout eternity, and that is to be still, quiet yourself, and listen.
Quieting yourself at a spiritual retreat is great, but we have to practice being still, quieting ourselves, and listening as a daily practice if we want to discern the times and chances happening to us. By the time news is reported in the media, it is too late to respond to time and chance.
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV).
If you are trying to get unstuck, most of what you read and hear in the media comes through the wide gate and the broad way. Once news of the next best thing is published in the media, time and chance have moved on. It’s too late, but the noisy, restless herd doesn’t know it.
The herd will run after time and chance once it has passed, and their efforts are like trying to board a train that’s traveling at a speed of 100 miles per hour. Yes, it’s impracticable and dangerous to try, but there they go down the path leading to lots of stress, strain, scraps, and bruises.
You can destroy your effectiveness by following the herd through the wide gate and down the broad way. Alternatively, you can live a quiet, peaceful life in stillness and simplicity.
Go through the narrow gate. This gate only provides room enough to enter one at a time. The herd can’t blast through it and has no interest in doing so anyway because the noise within them seeks the thunderous sound of the stampede, running to their destruction.
Why Is the Narrow Way Difficult?
Even if you want to live a simple, quiet life, the world is noisy! People are noisy, and it’s exceedingly difficult to escape the clamor. Everyone is vying for your attention – the job, your spouse, the kids, your house, your friends, entertainers, advertisers… everyone! Everyone and everything wants your full attention, and they will compete for it but time and chance will not enter the competition. They will move on without you. They will quietly roll into the station at Difficult Way, apparently unannounced because you didn't hear anything about its arrival.
There was an announcement days, weeks, months, and even years in advance; but you did not quiet yourself to listen. You didn't prepare yourself in stillness. When the train approached, you were distracted, and time and opportunity rolled out of the station without you.
I sympathize with you. Truly, I do! I know that living quietly and simply in this boisterous world and rowdy households is difficult but possible.
We can rise above the clamor, ascending into stillness and calm, if we are attracted to quietness, simplicity, and solitude.
If your inward man requires gossip, the latest news from social media, and the approval of others, sitting still, in solitude, listening for the whispers of the upcoming seasons and opportunities will be very, very difficult, and perhaps impossible.
Admittedly, when unrest hits my soul, I don't immediately reach for stillness; instead, I am inclined to reach for a mindless distraction. But in 2024, my focus is on getting my timing right and making quietness and stillness my priorities above the other stuff.
Get Your Timing Right in 2024
Our plan for building wealth should involve getting our timing right because timing is everything! We can achieve more with less (strength, skills, wisdom, money, time, knowledge, etc.) if our timing is right. Instead of reading one book per month, listening to three podcasts per week, or watching that 100th YouTube video this year, let's be very still and quiet. Let's make it exceedingly difficult for the noise to get in!
Be honest with yourself! You have already consumed lots and lots of media, some for education and some for entertainment, none of which has improved your timing, and timing is everything!
Yes, I am going to keep saying it… because our time on earth is limited, and we must do a better job guarding our time by becoming more like the narrow gate and difficult way.
Our Game Plan
Here's the game plan! Limit your consumption of media and become extremely selective about what you allow into your ear, eye, and touch gates. Restrict what you hear, what you see, and what you do. No more following the herd, trying to board moving trains. Instead, board the train when it arrives at the train station.
At the beginning of this article, I recognized that some of you feel like time is flying by year after year. That sense of rapid time flight comes from watching time and chance speed past you. Instead of being on the train, you were watching the train speed away. Don't feel bad since you now have a game plan.
I also recognized those who feel like they cannot keep up with the demands of life, which happens when you are not in sync with the natural rhythm and flow of life.
Let today be the last time that you run around like a chicken with your head cut off. Be still, get quiet, and listen.
Lastly, I want to give love to those of you who feel like you are running out of time, and your age is starting to feel like a negative factor. Listen, it is never too late to follow God’s plan for your life. Your works to date might be considered wood, hay, and stubble, which have no use in the kingdom of God except to be burned; however, your soul is more important than your previous mistakes.
Today, if you hear God’s voice, and you know that this message is for you, get off the broad way that leads to destruction. Alternatively, enter the narrow gate and the difficult way that leads to abundant, joyful living.
My closing word is this, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-14 NIV).