What is Time Worth?

Scripture: Matthew 16:26
Time has value. We can calculate with figures the value of our time. We can spend our time for things that will bring us greater health and happiness. But we can also waste our time on things that lead us away from the kingdom of heaven. Money represents our time. How do we use our dollars?
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A few days ago I wasted thirty minutes of valuable time waiting for a shoe repairman to finish a job that had been promised earlier. Mentally I did some rough computations and concluded that my thirty minutes of time was worth much more than the cost of the shoe repair. I can assure you that the results of my arithmetic did not relieve my frustration in the least degree, but it did start me thinking more about the worth of minutes and hours.

Unfortunately, we equate the value of time with a certain number of dollars and cents. People are paid so much an hour, or so many dollars a month. On the basis that one is paid $10 an hour for his work, let's try to evaluate the true worth of that 60 minutes. The equation would go something like this: One hour of time equals $10 in cash money.

Having translated the hour into money, and assuming that the money is fully equivalent to the 60 minutes of time, we can determine the true value of the hour as we trace the value of the $10. How valuable is that $10 to the person who exchanged his time for it? How much good will it perform for him, and how much will it contribute to his quality of life? If the $10 adds more happiness, longer life, and greater security, then we must conclude that the man's time was easily worth that amount and perhaps even more.

But suppose the $10 is spent for liquor, which leads to alcoholism or disease. Instead of having any real worth, the money would have a negative value, and the hour's time would also really be worth less than nothing. In other words, our time is worth only as much as we are able to squeeze out of the money we are paid for our time. If the things we spend the money for result in better living and a longer, happier life, our time may be worth infinitely more than any amount of money. On the other hand, if we spend the money for things which create disease, cheapen the moral worth, and prevent our receiving eternal life, then our time has a negative worth.

If this principle is true, the world's standard of evaluating time is totally wrong. Some men who are paid over a million dollars a year are using their wealth to defile body and mind, and destroy spiritual perceptions. Society can say what it will, but those men are wasting their time, because they waste the money which their time purchased.

Other men are paid but little in dollars, but they invest that little in things which contribute to peace of mind, building a strong moral character, and preparing for eternal life, they are the people whose time is really valuable; in fact, more valuable than the highest paid executive in the corporate structure today who is misusing his wealth.

Do you get the picture clearly in mind, that your money represents your time? What you do with your money, then, is the same as what you do with your time. The benefits drawn from your money represents the true value of your time.

Think about it for a moment. How are you using those dollars? Are they invested in ways that will lead to your eternal happiness and security? Are you making it possible for others to reap the blessing of God's saving grace? As a result of your use of money, will souls be able to rejoice with you in heaven?

The imprudent, wasteful manner of treating money will lead millions to lose eternal life. Not only are their years of earthly time lost, but the endless time of a future eternity is also forfeited. All the money purchased by a lifetime of labor is worthless unless it contributes to building up the true quality of life. Sorrowfully we observe how billions of dollars are spent for selfish indulgence, drug addiction and destructive purposes. How many wasted lives are represented in those wasted dollars!

Much has been written about Howard Hughes, the eccentric millionaire, whose limitless wealth became the ultimate cause of his horrible and dehumanized death. Suspicious of everyone, he isolated himself from friends and society for fear of being exploited for his money. Later his billions stirred additional animosities and selfishness among those who fought like animals to acquire a portion for themselves.

Was Howard Hughes' time really that important and valuable? His time produced money that produced misery which finally brought death. Make no mistake about it, it is better for a man never to be born than to live for self and to lose eternal life in the end. It is better for a man to be a pauper than to earn millions which cause himself or others to be lost.

At the risk of sounding redundant, I come back to the question, how are you spending your money? The years of your life are tied up in that money. Disposing of it is disposing of years of your time. When your life is over, all your years of remunerated time will be reflected in your estate. It may be small, but it is important, because it represents the value of all the time you exchanged for it.

How do you value that time? How do you appraise those years that made up so much of your life? The answer to those questions will be revealed by the way you relate to your possessions. If that money now ministers to your deepest priority needs, then the time it took to acquire the money was well spent. And if the money becomes a vehicle for reaching souls for God's Kingdom, the value of the time in earning it is far beyond computation. Why so? Let me illustrate.

If your money can be used to turn just one soul to Christ, how much would the time investment be worth? Try to understand it in these terms: one soul saved for eternity will live longer than all the combined years of all the people who ever lived and died on this earth. Can you grasp that fact? Eventually, that one person's life in eternity will outstrip the total number of years that all the millionaires, corporation presidents, and world thought leaders lived out in their lifetimes. And if those millionaires and famous personalities are not saved, then the time of that one redeemed soul will have been more valuable than the time of all those leaders combined.

What I'm really saying is this: Money, success and all that goes with it is less than worthless unless those things are used to prepare for eternity, and to help others prepare. Our time is valuable, but it is only valuable in proportion to the eternal benefits we derive from the money we receive in exchange for our time. If our money is wasted, our time has gone down the drain in earning the money. How true the saying of Jesus, "For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26.

Even Christ spoke of a trade-off. There is an investing of one thing to get another. We exchange our time for money. Then we trade off the money, for what? For things that unfit us for heaven? If so, our time as well as our money is misspent and worthless. I repeat, it would be better never to be born than to live and die without Christ. It would be a thousandfold better to live as a pauper than to be a billionaire oilman who fell one step short of heaven.

Analyze that statement carefully. The Christian pauper had to live with physical want and deprivation, But He had peace of mind and joy in his heart. The rich man lived with all the creature comforts, but his mind was distressed and unhappy. Even if there were no eternal life beyond the grave, the Christian pauper had a better life in this world than the unsaved billionaire.

But think about those two men in terms of eternity. For a sextillion times longer than the rich man had life, that redeemed pauper will live in a mansion more magnificent than the oilman could have imagined. When his years finally exceed the life span of earth's total population, the saved poor man will still be in the bloom of radiant health and immortal youth.

And what of the man who had everything? (Well, almost everything! He really lacked only one thing, a simple, saving faith in Jesus.) What will happen to him? Just before being cast into the lake of fire he will have opportunity to look through the transparent walls of the New Jerusalem. In the total recall of that moment the miserable Midas will recognize the utter emptiness of a life lived without God. The time which had been worth a million dollars a year will be seen in retrospect as vainly squandered. The agonizing remorse of that instant in eternity will overpower the mind and constitute the most sensitive and supreme punishment that anyone will ever have to suffer. Now, aren't you thankful that we are still living in the realm of time where things can be changed? Eternity is at the door, but we have a fragment of time left in which everyone of us will be exchanging minutes for money. But then what? The money will be exchanged for something else. That something else will either help fit us for heaven or condition us to be lost. Which will it be for you?

One more important truth about money: Since it really is the equivalent of the time you invested in earning it, as long as your accrued money remains, your influence can still be felt in time. Even after your death your money will be representing hours, months, and years that you spent in gathering it. Many are abdicating all responsibility for the influence of that time after they die. The accumulative result of an entire lifetime is casually left in the hands of disinterested relatives or even unscrupulous lawyers. It is used often to tear down and disannul the very cause for which the deceased gave his life. His invested time, in the form of money, now turns against the investor, and is employed to blot out the results of carefully planned years.

Every man and woman should have a will which can protect the interest of their time investment. Just as they did not want their time wasted in life, they do not want their money, representing their time, squandered after life is over. By designating in a will exactly how the estate should be divided, an individual can guarantee that his influence will still be extended in time. The value of those invested years can still be revealed through the spiritual benefits of his bequeathed wealth, whether small or great. Even those who have been fearful of making expenditures while living need have no fear of boldly assigning, in a will to be executed after death, the fruits of their lifetime investment. Many had a legitimate fear of depleting their savings and becoming dependent on others. But after death they have nothing to fear. They can accomplish for Christ what circumstances never permitted while they were alive. Souls can still be won for the kingdom. Their means can prepare people for heaven. Many a Christian who never had the personal joy of winning a soul for Christ, will meet souls in the kingdom who will thank them for their posthumous provisions, which made it possible for them to hear the truth and be saved.

Perhaps you are now in this category. You dare not give largely to God's cause for fear future disease and hospital costs will require all your savings. You long for Jesus to come, and the gospel to be proclaimed everywhere, but you dare not invest the nest-egg which might be your only buffer against dire need. You do well to make provision and retain that nest-egg for future eventualities. I think God wants us to be wise in planning for economic independence and security. But if, through His blessing and protection, those funds are not needed, they can be directed into the winning of souls; but only by the one who makes the careful, deliberate decision beforehand.

Many souls have been won to Christ just because people cared enough, and designated their funds to keep working after their death. What a thrill it will be for those committed Christians, in the resurrection of the righteous, to learn the wonderful results of their dedicated means which continued speaking for them long after their departure. Surely much of the joy of heaven will be related to such experiences.

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