We have all heard the expression, “Time flies.” We use it to remind ourselves of how quickly life goes by. The younger a person is, the slower it seems that time passes. The older one gets, the more quickly it seems to pass. This disparity of perception may be explained by the fact that a year for 5 year-old child represents twenty percent of his entire lifetime up to that point. For a 60 year-old, it is one-sixtieth of his life. When we consider the fact that our life expectancy is somewhere in the neighborhood of eighty years, the closer we get to that age only multiplies how quickly time seems to pass.
Sometimes instead of saying, “time flies,” we add the phrase, “when you’re having fun.” This modification captures the reality that we are less cognizant of time when we are having a good time. Thus, three hours at the football or baseball game seems like a short time, and we are sorry when it is over, while one hour in a class at school or in the worship assembly may seem like forever. This demonstrates that our attitude about the activity in which we are engaged plays a role in how we perceive the passage of time as we do it. A good attitude makes time pass more quickly, but a bad attitude mades the time drag.
Another aspect of this fact of life is that time flies, whether we want it to or not. this is an area in which self-help gurus focus much attention. Those who have personal issues that need correcting or improving must understand that time will pass, whether they make any effort to improve themselves or not. The question is not if time will pass, but what will the person have done to help his circumstance after that time has passed.
Having a good attitude and making the most of one’s time are essential principles in our daily affairs. They are also essential spiritual principles. The scriptures are very clear that a good attitude is a blessing for those who have it. In Prov. 15:13 Solomon said, “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.” In Prov. 17:22 he added, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” The point is that a good attitude is both physically and emotionally uplifting. King David, in Psa. 122:1 said, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.'” If we choose to have a joyful heart that is glad when it is time to gather for worship, time will fly in the Lord’s service.
The scriptures are similarly frank about how we use our time. In Eph. 5:15-17 Paul said, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Here we see the importance of spending our time wisely, meaning, in context, that we must devote ourselves to understanding God’s will so we will be wise in our walk as Christians. Time that is wasted is time that is lost. Time that is wasted is time that has been foolishly spent.
It was once said that time marches on. This is a fact of life. We can do nothing to stop the progression of time. All we can do is make use of that time while we have opportunity. At some point, however, time will end, when God the Father sends His Son for judgment. Where we stand at the end of time will largely depend on how we spent our time while we lived. If we had a good attitude and spent our time wisely in obedience to God’s word, we will enter heaven. If we have not spent our time wisely (that is, have not been obedient), we will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15), where time will stand still in the place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 25:30).