- Math homework due tomorrow (30 minutes)
- A poem to author for English class due tomorrow (30 minutes)
- Time for personal devotions (30 minutes)
- A favorite TV show (60 minutes)
- Helping your brother/sister with their Trail Life/American Heritage Girls badge work (you’ve been promising to help but putting it off for days) (30 minutes)
- Another TV show you’re interested in (60 minutes)
What do you choose to do and why? [This could be a pause for a live discussion with your unit youth members, followed by this summary] You could take any number of routes to get to bed time:
- Selfish route – TV and homework only
- Sefless, sacrifice route – help others, complete homework and really focus on your personal devotions.
Throughout our lives, we have a clock running down and we have a lot of things on our to-do list.
What’s worse is that we often don’t know exactly how much time we have left, we haven’t got a clearly defined list to work from (with exact times, and due dates, etc.) and we often get interrupted by distractions and other important stuff that suddenly pops up.
Juggling these priorities shouldn’t create panic or worry, but we do need to take them seriously – especially as we get older and more people are depending on us. Think about the example we started with – you have duties to get your homework done (you accepted a commitment from someone who has authority over you to make that assignment of work) and you have personal commitments to siblings and to honor God by getting to know Him more fully during your personal devotional time.
So are you learning to measure the time available, the relative value of each assignment and concluding that it’s time to learn to let go of things you’d really like to do (like watching favorite TV shows) but can live without? If so, you’re building up wisdom and discipline in setting priorities. If you’re stuck on trying to do your homework on the bus ride to school in the morning, then those sorts of decisions will ultimately hurt you in the end (not learning your lessons thoroughly, getting worse grades, failing to help other people when you chose to watch TV instead, etc.)
What does the Bible say about our lives, fleeting time, and choices?
First let’s consider Psalm 90:1-6; 10; 12 –
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man back into dust And say, “Return, O children of men.” For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night. You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades and withers away. As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away. So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
Here, Moses is making a great point. Our lives are fleeting at 70 to 80 years for the typical man or woman, and compared to an eternal God who created us, we blossom and wither in the blink of an eye. Fortunately, God has made us with a plan and purpose. Each of us needs to consider our own perspective on life –
- do we live for the moment (“eat drink and be merry while we can” (Luke 12:19)) and trust that we’ll have time to get our lives in order, or
- do we learn to “number our days” – understand that each day is important and valuable on its own (Proverbs 10:2 & Luke 12:27-34 & James 4)
Consider Psalm 39:4-7 –
“Lord, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. “Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah. “Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them. “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.”
David not only acknowledges that our lives are actually very short, he asks the Lord to “let me know how transient I am”. How come? Like Moses’ request to learn to number our days, we ought to let this concept help us make wise choices about our time and how we live. Gathering of riches (getting the perfect job) or being busy (making an uproar or being popular) won’t benefit us in eternity – we need to place our hope in the Lord since He will save us and guide us properly.
Lastly consider James 4:13-15 –
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
James reinforces this concept with placing our hope in the Lord – we cannot know what may happen one day to the next, but God has a plan for our lives and we should learn to trust in Him more and more.
So, Trailmen, since our lives are fleeting (short) and we don’t know for certain what each day may bring, we should Walk Worthy every day.