Our fifteen-month-old daughter, Morgan, is the cutest and smartest little girl in the world, and she is learning to talk. She has known what many things are for quite awhile now. If I ask her where her nose, ears, and eyes are she can find them with no problem, and she has been able to for several months now. She points to trees, cats, dogs, books, houses, stars, pillows, lamps, cars, birds, lions, babies, bears, and many other things when we ask her to. But, now she is starting to say what they are.
She has been on a ‘k’ kick. She likes words with a ‘k’ sound in them. Her first and favorite is “cracker,” although it comes out as variations of “qwacko,” “kacker,” and “kaka.” She likes to say “duck,” and she is under the impression that that is also the correct pronunciation of “dog.” And, now she can find any clock in the room and confidently identify it in her fifteen-month-old language.
We were surprised the other day when she pointed to the digital display on the microwave and declared, “Five forty five.” Or maybe not…but she did say, “clock.” That was just as amazing to us because we don’t remember teaching her that those little lights are also a clock. It seems our cultural dependence on time has already rubbed off on her. If she can already identify every clock at this age, how will she come to view time as she grows? More importantly, though, what does that say about our view of time?
Paul, a writer of New Testament letters, tells us twice (here and here) that we need to make “the best use of the time.” But, I would be the first to say that I am not always very good at this. I would imagine that most of us are not. We waste, ignore, and obsess over one of the most valuable and limited resources that God has given us. We don’t make the best use of it.
And just what is the best use of it? Every Sunday school student could tell you, but every Christian forgets it, at least in practice: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” [Ecclesiastes 12:13]. The best use of the time is not working for a promotion, going to the game, or watching T.V. It is fearing God and keeping His commandments.
Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work, go to games, or watch any T.V. (although a fast from the latter now and then would probably do us good). But, it does mean that everything we do should be viewed through the lens of service to God. If you have to work, you might as well use that as an opportunity to build relationships and invite your co-workers to church. If you are going to the game, you might as well use that to show how a Christian cheers, and how a Christian responds to bad calls and the opposing team. If you watch T.V., you probably should watch what is helpful for your faith and ability to influence the world around you. If time is ticking away, we better use it before it is gone.
I hope we can teach Morgan that. I hope she can see past my failures in this area to God’s wisdom. And I hope that I have the courage and will to surrender my time to God.