It may be turned to good account — or it may be wasted, or misspent
(Ashton Oxenden, "The Touchstone of Opportunity" 1884)
"Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16
To use our time well and wisely, is a matter of the greatest importance — for oh, how quickly is it passing away! We should seize our opportunities while they exist, and 'gather up the fragments which remain, that nothing be lost.'
The value of time — its exceeding preciousness — is beyond measure. Our days and hours hasten by, never to return. They are like water, which, when once spilt, cannot be gathered up again. They are like the rays of the sun, which at the moment may warm and invigorate us, but cannot be laid up for future use. Our lives are very short at best — and on the manner in which they are spent, will depend our condition forever.
Who can say how important is every moment which is given to us? It may be turned to good account — or it may be wasted, or misspent. No wonder then that we are charged, 'Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise' — like travelers on a dangerous road, looking around them on every side, and prepared for any difficulty which may suddenly arise. We should live cautiously and carefully, 'making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.'
What shall we say of those who let days, and months, and years pass — without thinking of anything beyond their own ease and enjoyment? Time is to them as a tale that is told, which is soon forgotten. It is like a vapor, which rises before them — but is speedily swept away, and is gone forever. One day is like another — all equally unprofitable — all gone to waste — nothing done for God or for eternity — a number of precious opportunities, but not one of them improved! We have, many of us, done but little in the way of 'redeeming the time.' We have allowed it to pass by unimproved.
Bear in mind then that we all have our opportunities — opportunities of doing good, opportunities of benefitting our fellow-creatures, opportunities of doing some work for God — and for every one of these opportunities, we must give an account.
Again, our time is very, very short — and all depends upon the right employment of it. Remember that our time is becoming shorter every day!
"So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12