Break the chains of this ensnaring habit!
(Hetty Bowman, "Life--its Duties and Discipline" 1861)
"The time is short!" 1 Corinthians 7:29
"Redeeming the time!" Ephesians 5:16
We believe that, to go back to the good old custom of calling things by their right names — he charge of idleness might very truthfully be brought against many professors. I mean the habitual wasting of the fragments of time, "Those parings of precious time — hose leavings of days and remnants of hours, which so many sweep out into the waste of existence!"
We feel constrained, in all Christian faithfulness, to lift up our voice against this great evil. It is more than an evil--it is a sin most displeasing in the sight of God! It mars the usefulness, and leaves an unsightly blemish on the character of many an otherwise lovely Christian. It will demand a solemn reckoning in the great day of account. You have no more right, reader, to the time which you thus foolishly and sinfully squander — han you have to your neighbor's goods. Time is not your own, nor was it given you to be employed as you yourself think proper. It is a trust committed to you by God! Oh, see that you do not abuse it! You are wasting what millions, now in the regions of eternal despair, would give worlds to buy back again--what you yourself will regret with tears of bitter repentance, when, on a deathbed, you look back upon a life in which so little has been done.
Be warned! Break the chains of this ensnaring habit before they are wound so closely about you that you cannot get free from them! Remember that every day these chains of indolence are riveted more firmly. They are light and easy now--but before long, they will grow into iron fetters! Your only hope of safety is in casting them from you at once, with the determination of a renewed will, and the heaven-imparted strength given to all who truly seek it.
Remembering that you were not "redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ"--you should pass the time of your sojourning here as strangers and pilgrims, looking for a better country--a heavenly one!
A Christian's fingers need never be unoccupied. He may always have on hand some profitable reading — o fill up the little moments that might otherwise run to waste. Idleness is, more than anything else (considered in connection with the consequences to which it often leads) disgraceful to a Christian!
"Tis not for man to trifle! Life is brief,
And sin is here.
Our age is but the falling of a leaf,
A dropping tear.
We have no time to sport away the hours,
All must be earnest in a world like ours.
"Not many lives, but only one, have we,
One, only one!
How sacred should that one life ever be,
That narrow span!
Day after day filled up with blessed toil,
Hour after hour still bringing in new spoil."
"So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom!" Psalm 90:12