Emmett Murphy

Emmett Murphy

“Therefore be careful how you walk... making the most of your time... but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

If you stand very long in the checkout line at the grocery store you will probably see the latest “predictions” by the experts on what is going to happen in 2020. I don’t put much faith in those predictions.

Years ago I learned that the supposedly “experts” didn’t have the answers. Some of you may remember Jean Dixon. She supposedly predicted President Kennedy’s death. But I know her as a false prophet. See, she was at our wedding in 1965. Being a friend of my mother-in-law, she was invited, though we were not aware that she was there until after the wedding. And she told my mother-in-law that we would be independently wealthy in one year. In just one year. We are still hoping that she missed it by just 54 years!

I can remember in 1967 experts predicting that by 1985 technology would have taken over so much of the work we do that the average American work week would be only 22 hours long, and that we would work only 27 weeks a year. And one of our biggest problems would be deciding what to do with all of our leisure time. But how many times have you heard someone say, “Excuse me. I’ve gotta run.” And as someone said, we are the only country in the world that has a mountain named “Rushmore.”

According to Ephesians 5:15-17, Paul wrote, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” There are some important lessons for us in this passage. Our time on this earth is limited. No matter how well we care for our body, eat healthy food, exercise and sleep, one day our journey here will come to an end. The Psalmist said in Psalm 90:10, “The length of our days is 70 years, or 80, if we have the strength ... they quickly pass, and we fly away.”

The best resolution that we could make for ourselves in the new year is simply to make the most of every opportunity. That’s why the apostle says “making the most of your time.” Think of the time wasted in idle conversations, checking for the latest email or comment on our phone, or just simply worrying.

In his book “Overload,” Dr. Richard Swenson wrote that people are just plain overloaded with commitments and possessions. He said that as a doctor there was a time when he had to read 220 articles a month just to keep up with all the changes in his profession. And because we are overloaded often the first thing we cut out is our time of worship or Bible study. Thinking that we must lighten the load we removed the very things that can help us.

As adults we know the value of establishing priorities. And the apostle Paul’s words are so helpful here: “... do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” So my suggestions for the new year are simple: first, work on your relationship with the Lord. Set aside that time for Bible reading and prayer. Your day will be lighter and brighter. It will affect your decisions during the day, your relationships with others and your whole outlook on life. Don’t allow anything to come between you and your time of worship each week.

And while there are many other important priorities, spend time with your loved ones. Not just a few minutes here and there, but time without interruptions when you can just have fun and talk.

Too many times at a graveside I have heard family members mourn, “I wish I had had more time with...” Make sure your family is high on your list. Then there will be no regrets.

Emmett Murphy is a retired Christian minister.