The Value of Time

Time is a valued commodity that, like many things, becomes more valuable when we have less of it. As a boy with plenty of it on my hands, time seemed to pass so slowly. As an adult with little time to spare, time moves much too quickly. Whether you have a little or a lot, time always moves forward. It never goes in reverse. Time is also the great equalizer—we all receive the same amount every week—168 hours.

In 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a study on the average hours per weekday high school students spend on various activities. The average working student spends 8.4 hours sleeping, 5.7 hours on educational activities, and almost 3 hours on socializing, relaxing, and leisure. They spend an average of 1.5 hours working and .6 hours on sports, exercise, and recreation. Also showing up on the study was “religious, spiritual, and volunteer” time, which accounted for just .4 hours each day. In other words, students are spending almost 30 hours each week in school, and less than 3 hours each week in church. Sound like any students you know? What is evident from the study is this: the school system dominates the waking hours of the average students’ life. In the life of a student, time is always relative to school.

The apostle Paul talks about the value of time in his epistles. In Ephesians 5:15-16, he says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” He also says in Colossians, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time” (4:5).

In relation to the campus, time speaks two things to us:

  1. Because the school system retains a monopoly on students’ time, we must engage the campus directly in our students lives. We would be naive, and perhaps a little arrogant, if we believed we could ignore the school system and it’s impact on our students’ walk with God. The time students spend with us is only 10% of the time they spend in school.
  2. Students must view time spent in school as relevant to their walk with God. Because their time is dominated by school, school must be relevant to God. If not, God will only become a compartmentalized part of their life and have nothing to do with their conduct at school or the use of their time in school.

I often hear the same statement from graduating seniors—“I wish I had done more to reach my school for Jesus Christ.” They have come to the sad realization that time is moving forward, not backward. Now that the threshold of graduation has been crossed, they cannot go back. Will your students look back after graduation with regret in relation to how they used their time? Or will they look back with satisfaction, knowing they followed Paul’s admonition to the fullest?