When my family and I lived outside the United States while I was on active duty with the US Navy, we were sometimes (mercifully) left in the dark about the newest gadgets hitting the marketplace. One of those new gadgets was the Timisis clock. I learned of this "stop-watch for your life," from an article written by columnist Mike Royko of the Chicago Tribune*. By entering your age and sex the clock displays the remaining hours, minutes and seconds left of your life expectancy as based on standard insurance tables.
According to the Timisis advertisement, the digital clock "enables you to see time as a gift and motivates you to live your life to the fullest...to maximize the quality of each day."
Royko didn’t like the clock. It depressed him to be constantly reminded of how much time he had left to live – down to the very second. And I can't say I blamed him. There does seem to be something discomforting about looking at your clock at 10 PM with 232,448 hours left to live, and awakening to the alarm at 6 AM to learn you now have only 232,440 hours left to live.
By the end of the week that number has diminished by an astonishing 168 hours! By the end of a thirty day month, 720 hours!
But, while it may be troubling to watch one's life slip away second by second, for the Christian there is value in being made more aware of the time. "We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day," the Lord Jesus said. "Night is coming when no man can work" (John 9:4). The apostle Paul added his admonition, "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise . . . but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15,16).
I don't think the creators of the Timisis clock had working for Christ in mind when they advertised the chronometer as a means to "maximize the quality of each day." Nevertheless, that thought is worthy of serious consideration for everyone who names Jesus as his or her Lord.
Just what are we doing with our days?
God's "clock" is ticking down. Without regard to our plans, hopes or dreams, the night approaches. Even as you read this essay we are that many minutes closer to the Lord's return. Or, to our death.
So, what shall we do with the time we have remaining? As our seconds relentlessly move us toward the night, will we spend our time shoring up our temporary earthly existence, busily buying, selling and collecting? Or will we renew ourselves to the real task at hand, of winning the lost to Christ? If our families, friends and neighbors don't hear from us about Christ, from whom will they hear? If we do not bring the word of life to our co-workers, who will?
The creators of the Timisis clock correctly recognized time is a gift. But the Creator of time wants us to recognize we are each responsible to use that gift wisely.
And, observed Solomon, "He who is wise wins souls" (Proverbs 11:30).