In 2001 a new television series called, 24, premiered on the Fox network. The series revolved around a fictional counter-terrorism unit based in Los Angeles, and featured agent Jack Bauer in the lead role. The premise behind the series was that each season constituted 24 hours, in which Jack Bauer and his organization thwarted some major terrorist act. Each episode reflected one hour in the 24-hour period and used a digital clock display to keep viewers apprised of the elapsed time. Because it was a work of fiction, the characters were always able to do things in much less time than in real life, like driving across Los Angeles in a matter of minutes instead of the hours it normally takes.
The concept of time is one of the few aspects of life that is equally distributed among all people. Each day we live we have 24 hours at our disposal. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor, how young or old, how well or infirmed, or where in the world one lives, we all have the same amount of time each day. What separates us from one another in this regard is how we make use of that time.
In Eph. 5:15-16 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.” We often think of the 21st century as being unique with respect to the demands that are made on our time, but Paul’s words suggest that this is not the case. Even in the first century, it seems, time was at a premium. The fact is that in every age of mankind, and in every place and culture, there have been, and will continue to be, elements that can and do try to occupy our time.
Some of these things are essential to life. For example, we recognize the necessity of working to earn a living. We cannot take care of ourselves or our families if we refuse to work. In the same way, eating and sleeping are an important part of each day. Although some might balk at this, learning and study are also pursuits that have a positive effect on our lives. So, also, do recreation and exercise.
Our problems arise when we allow some things to occupy too much of our time to the detriment of more important things. In our day and time the most visible culprits in this regard are electronic devices. Wherever we go most people have their attention focused solely on their smart phones or tablets. Even at home we are immersed in web surfing or gaming on our computers and other devices. Most responsible people agree that we are spending too much time in these activities, and not enough time on more important pursuits.
This is especially the case in spiritual matters. If we were to compare the amount of time we spend in spiritual-growth activities with our other interests, we would find that spiritual things get by far the lesser amount of our attention. If all a person does is attend a Sunday morning Bible class, two Sunday worship assemblies, and a mid-week Bible study or prayer meeting, he will have spent only about four hours out of the 168 hours that week on spiritual things. If that person is not engaged in personal Bible reading and study at home, and is not engaged in personal prayer, or in conversation about spiritual things with other believers, he is starving his soul of its sustenance.
Of all the things to which we give our time, many are important and ought not to be neglected. Other things are not as important and should occupy an amount of our time proportionate to their importance. But, none of these things should take up so much of our time that we do not give adequate time to our spiritual needs. We have 24 hours each day we live. We must make the best use of that time in order to prepare our souls for eternity.
How are you going to use the 24 hours at your disposal today?