Of all the gifts God gives us, few are more precious and few are more fleeting than the gift of time. Most of us feel sharp twinges of regret when we look at the way we’ve used or abused the time that has been given to us. There are so many forces competing for it, so many bad things and, even harder, so many good things. Our days are numbered; how can we ensure that we are using them for the best and highest purposes?
John Perritt provides some answers in his new work Your Days Are Numbered: A Closer Look at How We Spend Our Time & the Eternity Before Us. “Wasting time may not seem like a big deal to some,” he points out, “except for the fact that our time really isn’t ours, but God’s. Not only that, but it is a limited resource. You can be the richest person in the world and you still can’t buy more time. The reality is, there is a clock ticking somewhere, right now, and it is the clock of your life. Seconds that add into minutes, which add into hours, which add into days are ticking off your life.” This is a sobering reality and for some a depressing one. For the Christian, though, it is a challenging opportunity. Perritt says, rightly I think, that the way we use our time is one of the most pressing issues today, and one that encompasses so many others. For example, pornography is a plague today, but one that would go into great decline among Christians if they only determined they would refuse to waste a moment in idleness and sin.
Discussions about our use of time often generate regret and guilt, but Perritt is quick to address those in the best possible way. “Jesus perfectly spent His days living for the glory of God so that you, by faith, have perfectly lived for God’s glory. As we move forward in this book, the foundational truth of — Jesus righteously lived every second of His life to redeem your time — must be at the forefront of your mind. If you lose sight of this truth, you will either live in guilt or self-righteousness. Guilt, because you can’t measure up, or self-righteousness because you’re going to try and do a bunch of stuff for Jesus. Yes, strive for righteous living, but know that Jesus already accomplished that task for you. Your time is already redeemed.” This simple truth brings great relief and also great freedom. Christ has already lived time perfectly on our behalf, freeing us to claim his accomplishments. We then have the joy of living out of gratitude for what he has done on our behalf, something that should motivate us all the more to ensure that every moment counts.
Though Your Days Are Numbered is a little book, it packs an outsized punch. Perritt examines hobbies in both their blessings and their distractions and he diagnoses the trivialities that can consume so much of our time, explaining that “innocent things often become deadly in the hands of our Enemy.” He looks at the epidemic of busyness and then at our dislike of the mundane moments that inevitably comprise the majority of life.
He also offers biblical practices that can assist us as we attempt to live out our days for the good of others and the glory of God. He explains stewardship and the understanding that our days rightly belong to God. In a particularly strong section he discusses the goodness and necessity of sabbath rest. He gives pointers on balancing life’s responsibilities and the importance of never neglecting life’s non-negotiables—devotion, worship, family, and even evangelism. He wraps up with reflections on some necessary disciplines and on God’s good sovereignty.
In the end, he provides a short, winsome book stuffed full of practical wisdom. He offers solutions for challenges that apply to every human being but focuses equally on challenges unique to our twenty-first century context. He uses God’s enduring Word to prove the value of time and explains the joy and blessing of using time to carry out the most important of all missions.
(A final note: I might suggest reading Your Days Are Numbered, and following it with Kevin DeYoung’s Crazy Busy, and then finishing with my Do More Better. These three would provide a complementary one-two-three punch that will motivate you to structure your life to live for the good of others and the glory of God. And even with all three, you’re only looking at about 300 pages of reading.)
Image credit: Shutterstock