Worship God With Your Time


“Time is what we want most but what we use worst.”

William Penn (1644 – 1718)

We all desire more time. Whether it is the mother who struggles to raise a baby amidst the pressures of modern life, the business executive who must juggle several tasks and projects with crazy deadlines, or even the young student who wonders how he can navigate an endless stream of assignments from different courses. Yes, time is often a challenge. Some would even call it a mystery or an enigma.

Yet, if we are to make any progress at managing time (how presumptuous!), we must at least start by trying to understand it. Of course, this can never be exhaustive. But at least we can come up with a basic sense of the concept. And Biblical revelation provides some direction.


How Time Flies
Philosophers from Aristotle to Kant have been debating the concept of time over the centuries. Some of the philosophical problems and discussions on the topic can even be further explored in this article from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Scripture does not give us an exact definition or theory on it. However, the Bible helps us walk through the reality of time in at least three different ways:

  • We encounter the flow of time as we move through each 24-hour period from Day to Night,
  • We interact with it on the universal journey from Birth to Death, and
  • We dwell within the sovereign and redemptive directing of the universe from Creation to New Creation.


Between Day and Night

Part of God’s creative activity, as recorded in Genesis 1:14-18, was the ordering of time. He set up two celestial bodies, ‘the two great lights’, which were to help humans distinguish the day from night: the Sun and the Moon. These bodies would give light to the earth at their different periods. By extension, God was also setting them up to help in tracking the seasons.

After God had destroyed the whole earth via a flood (Genesis 6 and 7), He reiterated this sequence of day and night to Noah while establishing a covenant with him. As long as the earth remained,

“Seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)

Time would run as a 24-hour cycle. And each person would live within its bounds.


Between Birth and Death

Ecclesiastes is not so popular a book of the Bible when compared with its other siblings like Psalms, the Gospel of John, or the Epistle to the Romans. Even so, many have come to know it for its stark reminder of the brevity of life and the unchanging significance of time:

“For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

Since the fall of Adam and Eve, physical death has become a reality in the world. Whatever differences may exist among humans (gender, ethnicity, class, race), one thing is universal: we all die. Our sojourn is a movement from birth to death, a phase of time that everyone navigates.

Reflecting on this in Psalm 90, Moses prayed:

“So, teach us to number our days

That we may get a heart of wisdom.” (v. 12)

A certain outcome of the awareness of the brevity of life, of the short distance between birth and death, is the need to live well. The crucial need to make our lives count. Commenting on this brevity, James would refer to human life as a mist or vapour, which is here at the moment and then ceases to be (cf. James 4:14). This awareness requires us to dedicate every second to God.


Between Creation and New Creation

Scripture also presents the flow of time as a movement from Creation to New Creation. Early in Genesis, in fact, right at the beginning, we learn God brought our universe into existence from nothing. And he made everything in a perfect, though undeveloped, condition. All was right between God and humans. It was a state of flourishing and harmony between the Creator and his creatures—of love, peace, holiness, justice and truth. This is the Christian doctrine of Creation.

This state was soon disrupted, however. Humans chose to assert themselves and reject God’s authority. And the result was chaos, brokenness, misery, and death. As the human population journeyed across the length and breadth of the created world and flowed through the years and decades of time, it moved in a direction of sin and alienation (alienation from God, from one another, and from nature itself). But God was merciful

Right from the point of rebellion in the Garden of Eden, he had promised a resolution:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,

And between your offspring and her offspring;

He shall bruise your head,

And you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

Yes, Satan had deceived God’s human creatures. A battle was already on. However, God would defeat Satan and undo all he had distorted. In that garden, God planted a seed, a seed of hope, which would emerge as a vision of a renewed creation. The prophets would announce it (Isaiah 11:1-16; Isaiah 65:17-66:2; Hosea 2:18-19). Jesus would declare it as he proclaimed the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14,15; 14:25). Paul would speak of this new creation as something that has already begun (2 Corinthians 5:16-18) and a glory still awaited in the future (Romans 8:18-25; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5). Peter would also point to it (2 Peter 3:10-13), alongside other writers (Revelations 21:1-4). And that is the goal toward which time would move.

We find this new creation on display in the final chapters of the book of Revelation (20-22). And we see that in that world all that is absurd (tears, pain, hunger, and sin) will be gone (21:4). They would have been removed. And we would live as humans were meant to live. It would not be a bodiless state, with us floating around like fairies. Neither would it be an alien universe brought in to replace the old one. We would have Creation, not reconfigured, but renewed. It would be a New Creation.


Navigating Time
In light of these, how should we then live? How do we honour God by navigating this realm of time well?

The following steps will set us off on the right path.

  1. Begin the day with God

What better way to navigate time than by opening the day with the One who controls it? Starting the day with God is not only an act of worship, it humbles us. We proclaim that God is the most precious being to us. And how we apportion time reflects what we value. When we dedicate the first period of the day—when we are most likely at our freshest, when the hurries and the noise of the day are yet to clog our soul—to God, it indicates that we esteem him highly. Like David, we can profess:

“My soul, wait silently for God alone,

For my expectation is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5)

By beginning our day with God, we also admit our dependence on him. We recognize how finite and limited we are. The next few minutes of the day are unknown, so it is wise to commit ourselves to God and seek his direction for all the minutes of the day.

  1. Seek God’s Kingdom in all your callings

If you are like most humans, you have more than one calling. You could have a calling as a father, as a husband, a son, a neighbour, an employee, and a work colleague. Each of these relations comes with a measure of obligation to others. And we are called to glorify God in each one. The objective of Christ’s life and ministry was to bring us back under God’s rule and dominion. And this cuts across every aspect of our life and work. Just as he taught us to pray that God’s kingdom would come (Matthew 6:10), we are to reflect this divine rule in all areas of our lives.

So, as we engage with customers, interact with neighbours during a community engagement, or help our children with school assignments, we need to keep this vision of God’s rule before us. This may not seem significant at the moment. In fact, we may sometimes wonder whether God is really up to anything in these aspects of our lives. However, like the little seed that Jesus alluded to (Matthew 13:31,32), our tiny efforts at spreading the kingdom in our various callings will one day become so evident as to astonish both us and the watching world.

  1. Schedule your day ahead

As the first point already indicates, how we spend our time reflects what we value. It follows that we should plan out our day as best we can. It is surprising how easily unplanned activities can sweep us off our feet and get us on a different path for the day. We then find ourselves racing along to resolve unexpected issues. While it is impossible to plan every single movement, a prearranged day helps us better manage time. It aids us to choose among the competing activities and tasks which lie before us. And we can better manage the daily surprises when we have an earlier thought-out plan.

Remember also that for everyone who has come into the kingdom through faith in Christ, we are flowing along with God on the journey to a new creation. All our activities should be seen in that light. We would want our energies, skills, and abilities to be playing their part in that grand scheme of making all things new. This calls for planning. Not necessarily the exhaustive preparation of a military attack, but at least some careful thinking ahead.

  1. Prioritize and Focus

We are daily surrounded by so many options and possible engagements. As technology develops and as our world becomes ever more complicated, the number of activities, tasks, entertainment, and even recreations multiply. It is essential to remember that not everything matters. When we recall that each day moves us closer to our own death, we want to be deliberate about the things we spend time on. When we also consider our makeup as finite human beings, we are wiser keeping to things we are equipped to do.

It is also crucial to focus on one task at a time. There is a widespread image of the effective person as one who can juggle multiple tasks at a time. Not only is this notion unhelpful, it is actually false. Many studies highlight how multitasking in fact makes us less efficient and even prone to error. This has been pointed out by Cleveland Clinic, the American Psychological Association, and the Dana Foundation.

  1. Delegate Non-essentials

Related to the need to focus is the critical importance of delegating non-essential tasks. The brief dialogue between Jethro and his son-in-law, Moses, is a powerful lesson on this topic (Exodus 18:14-23). And it requires little further comment. It is a waste of time attempting to do everything yourself. Delegate where possible and focus on tasks that require your unique skill, experience, or presence. It makes you a better steward of time.



Time management is a deliberate decision and choice. In his providence, God has placed each person within a certain segment in the universal span. A unique setting, a distinct set of life circumstances, custom-made challenges and opportunities. Each one of us is called not to run from what has been given us nor wish for a different version of the drama we call life. Instead, we are to embrace our individual callings with God’s wisdom and grace.

A brief dialogue from the classic tale by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, captures this brilliantly:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Time has been given to us. May we navigate it well. 

Dayo is a Christian writer based in Lagos, Nigeria. He has a vision of seeing Africa transformed through the Christian worldview. And he pursues this through a teaching and publishing website, The Christian Mind. Dayo is married to Omolade, and they have one son.