(This article is dedicated to Ms Cristina Da Silva, a good friend of mine who is like a sister to me. Her missions are to share her passion and talent in photography and art with other people to glorify God, and to warn others about the danger of occult activities. Her generosity has sparked many ideas of this article.)
Although each and everyone of us has been allotted a different amount of time between conception and death, time is equally precious and important to all of us because once we pass the threshold of this life into eternity, there will not be any time left for us to use.
The time that a man lives on this earth is only a tiny bit of his eternal life since a soul will keep living on for all eternity once it has been created. The years that we live in this world, be it only a few years or a few decades, are most important because our eternal lot depends on how we use the time on earth. God has given us another precious gift – our free will. We have the ability to use our free will and make wise or unwise choices. God respects our free will and has no intention to take it back from us, and upon the choices we make, our eternal hereafter depends.
Once in eternity, these opportunities are gone. There will not be any more chances to change or correct our life. There will not be any opportunities of making reparation and of growing in grace. We will be rewarded in accordance with the state of our soul at the moment of death.
Our duty in this world is to use the God-given resources which include our talents, our material resources, and our time to make wise choices to glorify Him. We may have taken these God-given resources for granted. Yet every day there are valuable opportunities to grow in grace, to help others who are in need of our help, to forgive others who have offended us, to pray for those who need to be prayed for, to repent of our past trespasses, and to give glory to God by following His will, etc.
Unfortunately, numerous people have been sidetracked by worldly attractions. For these people, every day there are opportunities to take advantage of others, to be involved in immoral activities, to covet superfluous wealth, power, fame, etc.
Saints are different. While living in this world, they were indifferent to secular attractions like wealth, power, beauty, fame, etc. They acted as if they were attracted by the saints who had gone before them. They glorified God with the time, talents, etc given to them.
Ordinary people like you and me can also be God’s good stewards by making good use of our time, resources, talents, etc to glorify God. My friend Cristina is a shining example. She is an active member of the NET team which promotes Catholic faith to young people. Besides, she selflessly shares her talent in photography and art with others to glorify God. She is not a member of my parish but, upon my request, she came to my parish to teach members of the Children of Mary how to make rosaries. She has also managed to share with young people in Ontario and California about the potential danger of occultism.
Why should we make good use of the time that has been given to us? It is because only in the present moment that we can live our life, that we can grow in grace, that we can repent of our past sins, that we can love God and our neighbours, that we can thank Him for everything, that we can ask Him to forgive us, that we can give glory to God by making good use of our God-given resources, talents, and time.
We can not change the past, but we can use the present to make reparation for past mistakes. If the past is strewn with failure and human weaknesses, we can use the present to begin again. Also, we can not live in the future at this moment, yet we can use the present to prepare for it, by striving to get rid of our bad habits and carry good ones into the future.
“Making the most of your time” does not really mean simply keeping busy all the time. Robbers, criminals and evil-minded people can be busy all the time. ‘Making the most of our time’ means keeping ourselves busy with the things of God, such as praying, sharing our talents with other people, helping those who are in need of our help, etc.
If one’s thoughts and desires are oriented mainly towards himself, he will consider each day another opportunity to enjoy life, to fulfil his own plans and desires, with little thought of God. If one’s thoughts and plans are oriented mainly towards God, he will be more concerned about God’s plans for his life, and willing to sacrifice his own. He knows that the only path that leads to our eternal home is to follow the will of God, even if that requires sacrifice and self-denial. He knows that such sacrifice and self-denial may last for years, but will eventually pay dividends for all eternity.