Wasting time is a common struggle for many people who want to live purposeful, God-honoring lives. If you feel like too much of your time gets swallowed up in meaningless activities, you’re not alone. The good news is that the Bible has practical wisdom on using time wisely and not letting it slip away.
The Bible makes it clear that followers of Jesus should be good stewards of the time God gives them, using it intentionally to grow spiritually and bless others. Procrastination, laziness, and fruitless busyness should have no place.
In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore key biblical principles about time management, examine Scripture passages that speak directly to wasting or redeeming time, look at real-life examples, and equip you with practical tips to become a good steward of the 24 hours God gifts you each day.
Core Biblical Principles About Time
Time Is a Gift from God
The Bible teaches that time is a precious gift given to us by God (Psalm 31:15). Our days are ordained by Him and our lives have boundaries which He has set (Job 14:5). Since God is eternal and transcends time, for humans who live in the temporal realm, time is all the more precious because it is limited.
We did not appear on earth by random chance or accident. Rather, the Bible says that God intricately formed each one of us and knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-16). Our days were written in His book before one of them came to be, emphasizing the value God places on each moment of our lives.
Our Days Are Numbered
In Psalm 90:10-12, Moses prays that God would teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. The length of our days on earth is relatively brief compared to eternity. Moses emphasizes the importance of wisdom in prioritizing our time.
Ephesians 5:15-17 also exhorts believers to walk circumspectly and to redeem the time because the days are evil. The meaning is that our days on earth are limited so we should make the most of our time instead of wasting it on meaningless pursuits.
We Will Give an Account for How We Used Our Time
On judgment day, the Bible says that each one of us will give an account before God for the lives we lived on earth (Romans 14:12). That includes how we spent our time, our talents, our treasures, and our efforts.
Jesus gave several parables that touch on being held accountable for the time we’re given in this life. In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the servants who invested what the Master had entrusted to them were rewarded for their faithfulness.
But the servant who buried his talent was harshly rebuked.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) also emphasizes being ready at all times and making the most of the time we’re given to prepare for eternity. The foolish virgins who did not prepare ended up missing the wedding banquet.
While we may think our time on earth seems long, the Bible says our lives are like a mist – here one moment and vanished the next (James 4:14). We would do well to hold loosely to the things of this world and to focus more on the eternal realities that lie ahead.
Bible Verses About Wasting and Redeeming Time
Ephesians 5:15-16 – Making the Most of Your Time
In Ephesians 5:15-16, Paul urges believers to walk circumspectly and to make the most of their time because the days are evil. This indicates that Christians should use their time wisely and carefully instead of wasting it on unproductive activities.
Theologian Charles Hodge explains that Paul’s exhortation means Christians should “number and value their days” to fully utilize them for God’s glory.
Some practical ways believers can make the most of their time include setting priorities, making schedules, avoiding procrastination and distractions like social media or TV, being diligent in work, and redeeming time spent in transit for prayer or spiritual reading.
Proverbs 6:9-11 – The Dangers of Laziness
Solomon warns against the ruinous consequences of laziness in Proverbs 6:9-11. He vividly describes the sluggard unwilling to get out of bed and always sleeping in late as a guarantee for deepening poverty.
Theologian Fritz Zimmerman comments that laziness leads to lost opportunities and eroded relationships. It is a foolish attitude that ends in needless want and regret.
Though taking proper rest is wise, consistent failure to work hard and use time diligently destroys health, wealth and reputation over the long run. Believers should therefore balance times of rest and times of labor, ever redeeming both for God’s glory.
John 9:4 – Working While We Have Light
In John 9:4, Jesus reminds His disciples that they must carry out God the Father’s works while it is still daytime. Night is coming when work will no longer be possible. Theologian John Gill explains this as meaning believers must faithful serve God in this life before death overtakes them.
Though Jesus first applied this maxim to Himself, it holds true for Christians as well. They only have so much time on earth to know God, obey His Word, share the Gospel, disciple others and do good works. Such temporal opportunities will someday expire.
There is an urgency to living fully for Christ now before eternity dawns. No time should be squandered because none can be retrieved once lost.
Practical Tips for Wise Time Management
Clarify Your Priorities and Goals
It’s crucial to take time to prayerfully identify your top priorities and goals in life. This will provide direction and help you make wise decisions about how to invest your limited time each day. Consider making a list of your most important responsibilities and aspirations.
Seek God’s guidance through Bible study, prayer, godly counsel, and reflection on how He has uniquely gifted you.
Plan Ahead and Schedule Intentionality
Don’t just drift through your days reacting to urgent matters. Be proactive by planning ahead and creating an intentional schedule aligned with your priorities. Use calendars and to-do lists to map out key tasks and appointments.
Schedule time for relationships, rest, exercise, spiritual growth, and everything that really matters. Guard against overbooking yourself.
Ruthlessly Eliminate Time Wasters
Take an honest look at how you currently spend your time each day. Identify activities that don’t contribute meaningfully to your priorities or goals. These may include social media, TV, gaming, web surfing, gossip, and more.
Minimize or eliminate these time wasters so you can devote your limited time to what truly counts.
Redeem Minutes Throughout Your Day
Look for small windows of time that can be redeemed rather than wasted. For instance, listen to worship music or an edifying podcast while commuting or doing chores. Bring Scripture verses or books to read while waiting in line. Have meaningful conversations with loved ones over mealtimes.
Seize opportunities to pray or serve throughout each day.
Continually Seek God’s Wisdom
Ask God to give you His perspective on how to prioritize and manage your time. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Walk in wisdom by consistently seeking His guidance through prayer and Scripture.
Allow Him to show you any needed adjustments in how you’re spending your minutes and hours.
Time is one of our most precious resources – but it can easily be squandered if we don’t intentionally steward it well. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that followers of Jesus should make careful use of their days, always seeking to walk in wisdom and understand God’s priorities.
By rooting our time management in biblical values, evaluating how we currently spend our hours, eliminating wasted time, and being ruthlessly focused, we can honor God and make progress in the good works He has prepared for us. May we all keep growing as good stewards of the time we’ve been given!