Factually, time can’t walk backwards, only forward. Thus, once few minutes are lost, they are lost forever. But do we have to bother about that? Yes, because we are accountable to God for every second that He gives us. The Holy Scriptures very clearly teaches that the Lord has a specific plan for each one of us that includes where to be, doing what and the sort, at any given time. Thus, we are expected to be in His will at all times. God will reveal His plan to us if we sincerely desire to know it.
In the Old Testament, we read about Jonah who was instructed by the Lord to go to Nineveh. He rebelled against God and headed in the opposite direction to Joppa. Later-on he obeyed God and went to Nineveh but not before wasting few days (taking into count his attempt to travel to Joppa and 3 days in the belly of the fish) apart from putting himself and his co-passengers in trouble. What can we conclude from this incident as far as time is concerned? Rebellion against God’s Word involves wastage of time.
We shall briefly look at seven common attitudes that lead to wastage of time.
1. Lack of understanding. Some people always listen to the truth but never come to the truth. Why? We have to pause and digest the fact that truth is graded. All that one understands upon hearing the truth is the ‘first grade’ of truth. If that ‘first grade of truth’ or what is understood is not followed, the second, third, etc., grades of truth will be like ‘Greek’ for them. In other words, whatever may be one’s designation or qualification, unless and until one follows that part of the Scriptures that is already understood, no new understanding will be given. That means, the disobedient will not understand the deeper truths of the Scriptures. Therefore, how should one respond to what is understood? With obedience. Only then further understanding will be given, if not, stagnancy occurs as far as understanding of the Scriptures is concerned. It results in either depriving themselves of many spiritual blessings which they otherwise would have obtained or suffer unnecessarily, in either case time is wasted.
2. Getting distracted. Some believers start off remarkably well, they even turn-out to be role models for new-born believers in Christ. But over a period of time, tend to value those things that the people of this world value and thus get distracted. It can be something that others have while they do not, for example, a lavish life-style, a luxury car, a high-profile social life etc., Such people motive themselves or allow themselves to be motivated to do anything to achieve their goal. This kind of attitude actually casts doubt on God’s love, as far as His provision is concerned. After getting distracted, one may end-up breaking quite a few laws in the Scriptures in trying to attain their goal. Unless they confess their sins to the Lord, they cannot prosper. No distracted person is out of the reach of God. He knows how to put such a person back on the track, usually through hard way. But precious time will be lost. Being content with what we have is the best anti-dote for any distractions.
3. Spiritual-slackness. It is a spiritual disease to which some people hold-on to and the net result is that they end up deceiving themselves. We know ourselves, the areas we are weak and need to be worked-upon. But some are too lazy to work upon themselves. In such cases, the Lord uses others to point out those areas. But how should such a person react? Some may immediately apologize and then be back to old ways. Obviously, their apology is not said meaningfully but just said to diffuse the tense situation (polished-rebellion). This may repeat a number of times. Surprisingly, these people expect others to change while they themselves do not care to change a bit. Some of them, even after number of chastisements from the Lord, remain stubborn. Some even avoid taking suggestions altogether. In any case, by the time they really change, much time is lost.
4. Secret-idolatry. We should not be surprised to know that there are those who secretly pamper some selfish personal desires which they keep on pursing with determination. They choose their own way but try to give an impression as if they are perusing God’s way. What they profess and what they do, do not match. It usually takes a long time to detect such people because they are good at covering their hidden-plans by talking about the drawbacks of others. Such people talk holy-talk because they have to convince the hearers that they are transparent while they are actually not. No secret-idol is invisible to God. One day or the other, the Lord exposes such a person’s real attitude after giving a long rope (time) to repent. The time involved in God dealing with such idolaters to abandon their idolatry can be saved and used for some constructive purposes.
5. Self-centeredness. Self-centered people tend to satisfy their ego, usually at the expense of well-being of others. They even derive pleasure when others suffer. Everything they do is influenced by what they get out of a given situation. When these people need any favor from anybody, they will come down to any level, if not, they just look through or pretend to be busy in their own world. They are too proud to apologize even when encountered with facts. They foolishly think they are too smart to out-wit people by their oratory skills or dominant nature. But such people end up in pitiable & miserable situation. Why? Because God cannot be on their side. The anti-dote is: ‘always consider others better than yourself’. Obviously, ego-conscious people tend to rebel as they do not like to go with the main-flow as their ego comes in the way. The Lord’s working on them to break-down their selfishness involves time. Ultimately, time is wasted.
6. Attention-seeking. There are those who find it hard to keep themselves from craving for limelight in whatever environment they may be in. They do everything possible to somehow catch the attention of people. They look down on others and try to show that they are much better. They hope others will rebel so that those rebels can be seen in bad light and they can be looked upon as good people. They may even indirectly lead others to sin so as to put them in bad light. Such self-exalters cannot digest if anyone else is seen in the limelight. Sadly, many are trapped in this web. They are actually pampering jealously and it’s as dangerous as playing with a snake. But many hold-on to this attitude and try to get pleasure out of this. Frustration is what they will reap. Whoever exalts themselves will be abased. Getting abased and then coming back to the normal level is certainly a matter of wastage of time. A sincere believer will be content and satisfied in the Lord with no need to seek for any kind of attention from anyone.
7. Self-made. Finally, there are those who are well-settled materially but are ‘head & shoulders’ above the rest of the crowd in their attitude. They attribute their success to their personal principles that they have formulated; their hard-work that they boast about and their intelligence, they think they alone have. They claim to be self-made. Such people end-up being snobs, whom people try to avoid. One should not forget that whatever he is, it is purely because of the grace, guidance and provision of the Lord. Thus, one should be humble enough to give God the glory for everything. Whoever gives glory to self and not to God are said to be proud. God resists the proud. Resisting (obviously, from advancing) involves wastage of time.
Its time to wake-up and face the above facts sincerely with all humility. Anyone who is struggling in any of these entanglements, knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or unconsciously, is wasting precious time. We can easily overcome these attitudes by just committing our issues to the Lord. While we are supposed to count our time in seconds, we may be wasting days, weeks, months. . . Resolving not to waste any more time and with repentance following, let us press on towards the mark of the high calling of our Lord, counting our time in seconds.