I keep an hour glass on the shelf in my office. It was a gift from a friend. About a foot tall, my hour glass has a brass frame surrounding a clear glass bottle that’s narrow in the middle with a couple inches of white sand inside. Turn the contraption over, and the sand flows down from the top to the bottom.
My hour glass is a decoration, not a time piece. Technically the one in my office is misnamed, because it only takes 44 minutes for all of the sand to flow to the bottom. A “44- minute glass” doesn’t have the same ring to it as an “hour glass.”
We’re time-conscious, aren’t we? Maybe even time-enslaved. Clocks determine when we eat, go to class, meet with friends, and go to bed. Many laborers get paid by the hour. Young or old, rich or poor, we all have 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week.
Time is precious. It’s said that “time is money.” What if someone gave you $1,440 every day—over a half million dollars a year? God gives us 1,440 minutes every day—over half a million minutes every year.
Time is non-renewable. It’s actually not possible to save time. If you waste time, it’s gone. If you are 20 years old, you already have spent more than 10 million minutes, and the clock is ticking.
Time moves slowly . . . and quickly. A lot can happen in the last two minutes of a close football game. Time flies when you’re on vacation, but it drags when you endure a boring business meeting. Like the grains of sand in an hour glass, the moments of our lives sometimes seem to pass slowly and sometimes they pass quickly, but either way, time keeps moving.
Time is a gift. That’s why we call it “the present,” as somebody observed. Among the most grateful people I know are those who have endured a life-changing accident or who face a terminal illness and realize they don’t have long to live. Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
According to Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Then the writer lists activities that are likely to happen in the course of our lives (3:2-8). There are happy times when we laugh, dance, plant, embrace, and build; and there are hard times when we weep, mourn, uproot, throw things away—and eventually we die. Some activities we choose (when to speak or keep silent), and some we don’t choose (like the day we’re born). Whatever happens, the resurrected Christ can fill our days with “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3).
Do you ever think the sand in the hour glass is dropping too quickly? Actually, when you receive God’s gift of eternal life through his Son, it’s as if he flips the hour glass over and time is being extended, not used up. Yes, your earthly life is slipping away, but each passing moment draws you closer to seeing the Lord face to face. Ahead is “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade” (1 Peter 1:4). God’s eternal hour glass contains an endless amount of sand.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Lesson based on The Lookout’s Scope and Sequence ©2018. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.