It was March 7, 1876 and Elishah Gray walked into the U.S. Patent office because he had this fantastic new invention that he had created. He applied for a patent but was told, "Sir, we're sorry, but we can't give you one because a couple of hours ago, another guy came in with the same invention." Three hours late. Just three hours earlier and the name Elishah Gray would be the name that all of us know as the inventor of the telephone instead of Alexander Graham Bell. Time matters. Time is precious.
Psalm 90: 10,12 says: "We can expect seventy years or maybe eighty if we're healthy. Teach us to use wisely all the time we have." The Bible gives us a marvelous insight about time. It is a limited resource and must be used wisely. There is another resource in life and that is money but the differences between the two are huge.
Money you can save. You can put it in the bank you can take it out some other time to use it. But you can't do that with time. You can't save it. You can't bank it for another day. You get one day and when that day is gone, the bank of time closes. And when it opens up the next day your balance is zero. Nothing is left over. Money you can make. In fact you can make more money in many different ways. You work longer hours, you can get a better paying job, you can make more money with investments. But you can never make more time.
Time is your most precious resource because you can make more money but you can't make more time. So you have to understand the value, the preciousness of time. We have to learn about time and we need to learn how we can use it in the best possible way. If you use time the best you have ever used it, then this will be the best year you've ever had. And if you keep using time wisely for the rest of your life then you will do more, live better and fulfill your God-given destiny.
There is a fascinating reality about life -- everyone gets the same amount of time. If you are very wealthy, you can't buy more time. If you are a scientist, you can't create more time. No matter who you are: rich, poor, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, male, female, it doesn't matter. We all get the same amount of time.
If you live to be 80 that is 29,200 days on this earth, which sounds like a lot of days when you think about it. You could consider it another way. Take your life as the waking hours of a day from 7:00 in the morning to 11:00 at night. If you are 15-years-old, it's 10:25 in the morning for you. If you are 25, it's 12:42 in the afternoon. If you are 35, it's already three in the afternoon. If you are 45, it's 5:16. If you are 55, it's 7:34 in the evening. I won't go any higher than that, I don't want to depress you. Now when you think about it like that life is really brief. We don't have time to do everything there is in life so we have to make decisions about what we're going to do with our limited time. We have to decide what is most important to us. We must decide where are we going to put the focus of our time. Because the reality is that life is brief.
Since life is brief wasting time is one of the worst mistakes we can make. We have to really think about how we use our time, because it's so precious and it's so brief. Busyness has become almost a virtue in our culture. For many of us, we are proud of how busy we are. People all the time say, "I'm so busy, I'm too busy." It's almost like the busier you are, the more important you are. If you can be really busy, you must be somebody. But there is a world of difference between being busy and actually using your time well. Just because you are busy doesn't mean you are using time the right way or the best way.
There is a big difference between what is important and what is urgent. Urgent and important aren't the same thing. Many think urgent equals important but that is not true. Priorities equal important. If I allowed my life to be run by everybody who said it was urgent and important, I would be miserable and unhealthy. It simply comes down to priorities. Take time to plan your priorities. When you take time to plan, it will actually save you an enormous amount of time. Some people don't take time to plan their priorities because they think they don't have time to plan. But that is the most important thing you have to do in order to use your time well. The effectiveness, success and impact of your life are related to your planning.
Evaluate your life. You need to take the time to evaluate your lifestyle and rearrange your priorities. You'll never regret doing that. Some are slaves to their schedule. You may feel like you can't change it. You are afraid, you are fearful. You know you need to change things, but you are afraid what your life is going to look like. Life is brief. You must use this precious gift of time well. And the key is to live according to proper priorities. Make the changes you need to make to rearrange your priorities so that those changes happen, rather than letting other circumstances and people try to run your schedule for you. God has placed each one of us on this earth for a clear purpose. We've been given responsibilities and a job to do. And we can't fulfill that plan if we don't control our time.