Monday, November 7, 2011

It is precious

Time, that is. I read the sermon "The Preciousness of Time and the Importance of Redeeming It" by Jonathan Edwards while our family was on vacation in northern Wisconsin a couple of years ago. It had a great effect on me and caused me to evaluate my use of time. Living in this age of many (technological) distractions it is always useful and needful to revisit Edwards' wisdom on this subject:

Why Time is Precious 
Our Eternal Destiny. A happy or miserable eternity depends on the good use of time or its waste. Things are precious in proportion to their importance, or to the degree that they concern our welfare. People set the highest value on those things that interest them most. This then renders time exceedingly precious, because our eternal welfare depends on the improvement of our use of time. 
Our welfare in this world depends upon our improvement of the use of time. If we do not improve its use, we stand in danger of coming to poverty and disgrace. However, by improving our use of time, we can obtain those things that are useful and make our lives more comfortable.  Nevertheless, time is precious above all things, because our eternal state depends on it. The importance of improving our use of time regarding other matters is subordinate to this.  
Gold and silver are esteemed precious by people, but are of no value to anyone except in their use to avoid or remove some evil, or to purchase something good. The greater the evil that is escaped, or the good that is obtained with gold and silver, so much greater is the value of that thing, whatever it be. Therefore, if one uses something they own to save his or her life, they will view the thing used to escape death as very precious. 
Time is Short. Time is very short, which is another thing that renders it precious. The scarcity of any commodity causes people to set a higher value upon it, especially if it is necessary and cannot be done without. Therefore, when Samaria was besieged by the Syrians and provisions were exceedingly scare "...a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and one-fourth of a kab of dove droppings for five shekels of silver" (2 Kings 6:25) 
Time must be prized. Eternity depends upon time, yet we have so little of it: 
For when a few years are finished, I shall go the way of no return. (Job 16:22) 
Now my days are swifter than a runner; They flee away, they see no good. They pass by like swift ships, Like an eagle swooping on its prey. (Job 9:25-26) 
For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. (James 4:14) 
It is but a moment to eternity. Time is so short and the work we have to do is so great, that we have no time to spare. The work we must do to prepare for eternity must be done in time or it can never be done. Futhermore, this work is very difficult, making the effective use of time even more vital.

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