Why is "Time" so precious?
When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls, all silvered o’er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing ’gainst Time’s scythe can make defence,
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
1. Because a happy or miserable eternity depends on the good or ill improvement of it. Things are precious in proportion to their importance, or to the degree wherein they concern our welfare. Men set the highest value on those things upon which they are sensible their interest chiefly depends. And this renders time so exceedingly precious, because our eternal welfare depends on the improvement of it. Indeed our welfare in this world depends upon its improvement. If we improve it not, we shall be in danger of coming to poverty and disgrace. But by a good improvement of it, we may obtain those things which will be useful and comfortable. But it is above all things precious, as our state through eternity depends upon it. The importance of the improvement of time upon other accounts, is in subordination to this.
Gold and silver are esteemed precious by men; but they are of no worth to any man, only as thereby he has an opportunity of avoiding or removing some evil, or of possessing himself of some good. And the greater the evil is which any man has advantage to escape, or the good which he has advantage to obtain, by any thing that he possesses, by so much the greater is the value of that thing to him, whatever it be. Thus if a man, by any thing which he has, may save his life, which he must lose without it, he will look upon that by which he has the opportunity of escaping so great an evil as death, to be very precious. Hence it is that time is so exceedingly precious, because by it we have opportunity of escaping everlasting misery, and of obtaining everlasting blessedness and glory. On this depends our escape from an infinite evil, and our attainment of an infinite good.
2. Time is very short, which is another thing that renders it very precious. The scarcity of any commodity occasions men to set a higher value upon it, especially if it be necessary and they cannot do without it. Thus when Samaria was besieged by the Syrians, and provisions were exceedingly scarce, "a donkey's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver." 2 Kings 6:25. So time is the more to be prized by men, because a whole eternity depends upon it, and yet we have but a little of time. "When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return." (Job 16:22.) "My days are swifter than a runner. They are passed away as the swift ships, as the eagle that hastens to the prey." Job 9:25, 26. "Our life, what is it? it is but a vapor which appears for a little time, and then vanishes away." James 4:14. It is but as a moment to eternity. Time is so short, and the work which we have to do in it is so great, that we have none of it to spare. The work which we have to do to prepare for eternity must be done in time, or it never can be done; and it is found to be a work of great difficulty and labor, and therefore that for which time is the more requisite.
3. Time ought to be esteemed by us very precious, because we are uncertain of its continuance. We know that it is very short, but we know not how short. We know not how little of it remains, whether a year, or several years, or only a month, a week, or a day. We are every day uncertain whether that day will not be the last, or whether we are to have the whole day. There is nothing that experience does more verify than this. If a man had but little provision laid up for a journey or a voyage, and at the same time knew that if his provision should fail, he must perish by the way, he would treasure it all the more. How much more would many men prize their time if they knew that they had but a few months, or a few days, more to live! And certainly a wise man will prize his time the more, as he knows not how much he has himself. This is the case with multitudes now in the world, who at present enjoy health, and see no signs of approaching death: many such, no doubt, are to die the next month, many the next week, yes, many probably tomorrow, and some this night; yet these same persons know nothing of it, and perhaps think nothing of it, and neither they nor their neighbors can say that they are more likely soon to be taken out of the world than others. This teaches us how we ought to prize our time, and how careful we ought to be, that we lose none of it.
4. Time is very precious, because when it is past, it cannot be recovered. There are many things which men possess which if they part with, they can obtain them again. If a man has parted with something which he had, not knowing the worth of it, or the need he should have of it; he often can regain it, at least with pains and cost. If a man has been taken in a bargain, and has bartered away or sold something, and afterwards repents of it, he may often obtain a release, and recover what he had parted with. But it is not so with respect to time; when once that is gone, it is gone forever; no pains, no cost will recover it. Though we repent ever so much that we let it pass, and did not improve it while we had it, it will be to no purpose. Every part of it is successively offered to us, that we may choose whether we will make it our own, or not. But there is no delay; it will not wait upon us to see whether or no we will comply with the offer. But if we refuse, it is immediately taken away, and never offered more. As to that part of time which is gone, however we have neglected to improve it, it is out of our possession and out of our reach.
If we have lived fifty, or sixty, or seventy years, and have not improved our time, now it cannot be helped- it is eternally gone from us. All that we can do, is to improve the little that remains. Yes, if a man have spent all his life but a few moments unimproved, all that is gone is lost, and only those few remaining moments can possibly be made his own, and if the whole of a man's time be gone, and it be all lost, it is irrecoverable.
Eternity depends on the improvement of time; but when once the time of life is gone, when once death is come, we have no more to do with time, there is no possibility of obtaining the restoration of it, or another space in which to prepare for eternity. If a man should lose the whole of his worldly substance, and become a bankrupt, it is possible that his loss may be made up. He may have another estate as good. But when the time of life is gone, it is impossible that we should ever obtain another such time. All opportunity of obtaining eternal welfare is utterly and everlastingly gone.
Just to tell you the importance of time I will tell you a touching short story by Bob Perks:
A young man learns what's most important in life from the guy next door. It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future and nothing could stop him.
Over the phone his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday."
Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.
"Jack, did you hear me?"
"Oh sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.
"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.
"I loved that old house he lived in." Jack said.
"You know, Jack, after your Father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.
"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said, "I wouldn't be in this business if it wasn't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important. Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.
As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own and most of his relatives had passed away.
The night before he had to return home Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.
Standing in the doorway Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture...Jack stopped suddenly.
"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.
"The box is gone," he said.
"What box?" Mom asked.
"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was, 'The thing I value most'," Jack said.
It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.
"Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said, "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."
It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read.
Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The package was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.
"Mr. Harold Belser" it read.
Jack took the package out to his car and ripped it open. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.
"Upon my death please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I value most in my life". A small key was taped to the letter. His heart raced as tears filled his eyes. Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.
Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:
"Jack, Thanks for your time! - Harold Belser."
"The thing he valued most...was...my time."
Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant, asked. "I need some time to spend with my son," he said. "Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time".
© Bob Perks
So people the clock is running . Try to make as much use out of the time thats LEFT. And also remember, Present is the Past and the Future............................