Are you familiar with Salvador Dali’s attached painting ‘The Persistence of Memory’? Whilst I’m very conscious that the appreciation of art is subjective, this painting speaks to me – actually, I think it shouts to me – that time simply melts away before our eyes! And the older I become, the quicker time flies! And thinking of time, this month I’m going to use the acronym TIME for my 50th article!

Time is in God’s Hands
Do you remember the song: ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ which was made popular by The Byrds in the flower-power era of the 1960’s? It wasn’t until I became a Christian that I realised the words taken from Ecclesiastes 3 in the Old Testament. As Ecclesiastes remind us:

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die.”  

We don’t have to be a theologian or a scientist or a pop singer to know there are ‘times and seasons’ in creation as well as ‘times and seasons’ in our lives.The Circle of Life that the Disney film ‘The Lion King’ so beautifully portrays, continues – as indeed it must.

Invest in Others
Whenever a new year arrives, we often reminisce at what the previous year was like don’t we?  We think about the decisions we made and the things we wish we hadn’t done. A New Year is also a time when people resolve to live life differently in the year to come.  How might this coming year be different to last year?  Might you want to think about a different approach to life?  Might this be the year when you resolve to invest in others by offering support and encouragement to those who are struggling with life?  Might you consider volunteering to support a  community group to enhance the lives of those around you?  Might this be the year when you think about the well-being of others rather than your own happiness? It’s a challenging thought isn’t it?  But easier to put into practise than you might think.

Make the Right Decision
Making the right decision is not always easy or even straight forward. Some of my most disappointing moments in life have turned out to be some of my greatest opportunities and that is the most wonderful part of being a Christian. The problem is, of course, that God’s plan for our life doesn’t always fit in with our plans and that can be a painful struggle at times. But if God is ‘in control’ then it follows that He does have a time and a purpose for everything. But this isn’t fatalism, nor does it rob us of our freedom or responsibility. It is the wise providence of a loving Father who promises to make everything work for good (Romans 8:28).  Making the right decision matters, because …

Eternity is in our Hearts
The Bible teaches us that human beings were created in the image of God, and therefore, we are different from the rest of creation. Ecclesiastes tells us that God has:

“Set eternity in the hearts of all people.”

Christians believe that at the end of time, God will call us to account for what we have done with our gifts and talents and our knowledge of Jesus. If that is so, then each of us must make the most of the time we have here on earth and make it count.

And Finally
One of my all time favourite films is ‘Gladiator’ starring Russell Crowe. I actually have a Gladiator movie poster on the back of my study door which includes a famous line from the film:

“What we do in life echoes in Eternity.”

A Christian premise if ever there was one – it’s also the ‘strap line’ of my wordpress site!

May each one of us use our TIME wisely in 2017, not only for ourselves, but for the benefit of those around us in our community  too. May God’s richest blessing be upon you and your family for all that this New Year will bring your way.

This is a copy of my article for the January 2017 edition of the Billericay ‘Around Town Magazine’

Since writing this article, George Michael died on Christmas Day aged 53 yrs of age.  The lyrics to his song ‘Praying For Time’ seem more poignant than ever.  You can read them here