A Matter of Time
December 29, 2018
There once lived a very wise man. When he was young, he dealt with fairness. He was able to solve very difficult riddles. Everyone was amazed at his knowledge and wisdom in finding solutions to challenging situations. He was also very wealthy, but he used his wealth for his own purposes. He built palaces, temples, and a fleet of ships, and accumulated lots of gold. People from far and near came to see him and learn of the wisdom God had given him.
Yet when he became old, he looked back over his life and recognized his failures. He realized that he had squandered much precious time on selfish pursuits. He regretted bitterly that he had not lived his life completely dedicated to God. Sadly, he could no longer bring back all those wasted days—they were lost forever. The precious opportunities he could have invested in eternal values were lost. He failed to be a good example to his children, nation, and future generations. Most important, he had disappointed God, who had given him wisdom to be used for the benefit of others. There was nothing he could do to change the consequences of his selfish actions and wasted opportunities. So he decided to write down his advice to future generations, warning everyone not to make the same mistakes he had. He didn’t want his children or those who would hear about his life to waste their time on things that didn’t really matter.
At the beginning of each day, God gives everyone 24 hours. Everyone needs to decide how to use the precious opportunities God has given. Ask yourself, “How could I invest my time in worthwhile pursuits that would best prepare me for a life of usefulness that honors God and blesses others?”
—Kathleen D. Sowards (References: Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, pp. 77-86).
Because God has our best interest at heart, He has given us a gift of time each week during which we can rest from the daily preoccupations that absorb our time, attention, and energies. God set apart the seventh-day Sabbath to be a memorial of Creation, an oasis in time, when we have the opportunity to reconnect with the Creator. The Sabbath reminds us of God’s work of creation and salvation, as well as of His power to restore in us the image of our Maker. The Sabbath helps us set priorities for the use of our time and to refocus our attention on pursuits that have eternal value. What a privilege it is to spend time with the Creator each Sabbath and to praise Him for His marvelous love for us!
Memory Text: “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them” (Ezekiel 20:12, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 20, The Sabbath: “The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God’s kingdom. The Sabbath is God’s perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 100, 101
Read Deuteronomy 5:12-15.
What takes up the most time in your day (besides going to school)? Where do you enjoy spending your time the most? How much time do you spend with God? If you have a strong relationship with God, how will that affect how you spend your time on various activities during the day? Would Jesus accompany you in all the activities that take up your time? What does it mean to you to spend time with God? How does spending time with Him look like in your daily life?
Read Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11; Isaiah 58:13, 14; Hebrews 4:1-11.
“One day alone is ours, and during this day we are to live for God. For this one day we are to place in the hand of Christ, in solemn service, all our purposes and plans, casting all our care upon Him, for He careth for us” (Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 101).
Read and compare Exodus 31:13 and Ezekiel 20:12, 20. What are the common elements between these verses?
How is the Sabbath important to your life?
There is only so much time in this life to do all those things we want to do, and all those things that God wants us to do. When we find ourselves wasting too much time, we are also wasting God’s time.
We can all be powerful instruments for God’s kingdom, but we have to make sure we schedule it in. These lives we lead are very busy, so we need to get to our calendars before the other priorities fill our lives with stuff that really is a waste of time.
At the bottom of the lesson is a graph on which you can write down how you spend your time this week. Take three days and try to be as accurate as possible. This exercise can really be eyeopening if you are honest.
Please read the following Bible references and match the texts with the correct references. All references are from the New International Version of the Bible.
James 4:14, 15
Psalm 31:14, 15
1. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
2. “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ ”
3. “But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.”
4. “Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all humanity!”
5. “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 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 fear 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.”
6. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Read Luke 4:16. What does this text tell us about Jesus? How is Jesus an example to us in keeping the Sabbath?
Review the memory text.
At this point you should have at least one day finished on your schedule tracker. What are you learning? Are there places in your day that you could fill with more productive activities? What about your tithe in time? Have you found a place where you can give back to God 24 minutes as a type of tithe of the 24 hours He gives you?
“Christ has given us no promise of help in bearing today the burdens of tomorrow. He has said, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’ (2 Corinthians 12:9); but, like the manna given in the wilderness, His grace is bestowed daily, for the day’s need. Like the hosts of Israel in their pilgrim life, we may find morning by morning the bread of heaven for the day’s supply” (Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 101).
Try keeping track of your time for three days this week. Write down what you are doing each hour of the day that you are awake (such as: homework, television, eating, video games, talking with family, talking on the phone or Instant Messaging on the computer, getting ready, sleeping, hanging out with friends, devotional life and prayer, helping others).
|Time||Day One||Day Two||Day Three|
|7 - 8 a.m.|
|8 - 9 a.m.|
|9 - 10 a.m.|
|10 - 11 a.m.|
|11 - 12 p.m.|
|12 - 1 p.m.|
|1 - 2 p.m.|
|2 - 3 p.m.|
|3 - 4 p.m.|
|4 - 5 p.m.|
|5 - 6 p.m.|
|6 - 7 p.m.|
|7 - 8 p.m.|
|8 - 9 p.m.|
|9 - 10 p.m.|