Imagine there is a bank that deposits $86,400 into your account every single morning. Imagine that no matter what is left over that night, the balance goes back to $0, but every morning another $86,400 shows up. It is ‘use it or lose it.’ What would you do? I know what I would do. I would draw out every cent, every single day!
Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, we are credited with 86,400 seconds. We don’t get a single second more and any second we don’t use wisely is lost forever. Time carries over no balance. It has no ‘rollover minutes’. You can’t keep time in a bottle. There is no saving for tomorrow. You must live in the present on today’s deposit. The clock is running. Make the most of today.
By making the most of your day I don’t mean that we need to cram as much stuff as we possibly can in 24 hours. The thing we need to strive for is living a balanced life. As I look at the life of Jesus I am amazed that He never seemed to be in a hurry. Although He was doing the most important job in history (saving the world), and although He knew He only had a few years to do it, He never ran. He made time to consider the flowers, the birds, and watch the farmers. He had time to put His hands on the little children and bless them. Time was His friend.
Wouldn’t it be nice to live like that? To get the most out of every day and yet never be rushed. I think we can learn some lessons by how Paul lived his life. I discover two principles in 1 Corinthians 16:5-9.
Make CONDITIONAL PLANS.
“Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit.” (1 Corinthians 16:5-7)
Paul was a planner. He had his itinerary all ready. He knew where he was going. He planned to visit Macedonia, then travel to Corinth. Paul wanted to influence people for Jesus and knew that it took some preparation. He also knew that he would need to get personal involved for an extended period of time. He knew the if he were to go to Corinth immediately, it would be only a short visit. So he scheduled his future so he could spend the winter with them.
Yet, it is worth noting that Paul’s statements were very tentative. He said things like ‘it may be that I will abide’ and ‘whithersoever I go.’ He also underscored his plans with the words ‘if the Lord permit.’ In his plans he left the door open for the Lord to change them.
So what can we learn from Paul. First, we should make plans. Use common sense, prayer, research, and seek the best as you determine what you should do. Don’t be so fearful of making a wrong decision that you make no decision. Second, since our decisions may not be what God wants we must hold them loosely and allow God to make alterations. Don’t be so impulsive that you rush ahead with your plans that you don’t acknowledge and give God permission to change your plans. And don’t get too upset if your plans change. If God changes your plan it is because He has a better one.
Make CAUTIOUS PROGRESS.
“But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Corinthians 16:8-9)
Paul decided to stay in Ephesus because some good things were happening. God had given him a great, effective open door. He had many conversions and many were turning from their idols to Jesus Christ. He decided to stay in a place where God was blessing His work.
Yet, he had some adversaries. Paul downplays the negative a little but he had some major opposition. Because people were turning from idols, he was persecuted from the the demonic forces in Ephesus. Those who lost financial gain because the idols weren’t selling were mad. And the Jewish leaders simply didn’t like people turning to Jesus. But good things were happening in spite of the opposition.
We can learn a lesson from Paul’s experience. The presence of opposition does not mean that we are out of God’s will. Some think that if we are doing what God wants life will be smooth. But sometimes life gets rough because we are doing God’s will. In fact, it might be a sign that we are not fully engaged with what God wants us to do if we feel no pressure.
Use your time wisely. Time is a coin that you can only spend once. Use it. Invest it. Make it count. When opportunity knocks, open the door. Faith will help you walk through.