R. M. Cornelius identifies “Seven Ages of Man”:
- 6 weeks—all systems go
- 6 years—all systems “No!”
- 16 years—all systems know
- 26 years—all systems glow
- 36 years—all systems owe
- 56 years—all systems status quo
- 76 years—all systems slow
I do not know about you, but it shocks me to see that I am already firmly entrenched in the fifth age—all systems owe. Where has the time gone? Surely Job knew what he was talking about when he said, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6).
The most precious commodity we have is not silver or gold, but time. John Randolph reminds us that “time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all possessions.” When we squander it on things that do not matter, we are foolish. Paul warns, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15–17). The days we are living in are evil with sin rampant in our world. Still, Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “this time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” What we need to help us use our time wisely is a heavenly perspective: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1–3).
What will you do with time? I find Henry Thoreau’s observation thoughtful: “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.” Will we “injure eternity”? We are each given twenty-four precious hours daily. Whatever age we find ourselves in, whether 6 or 76, we must serve faithfully. —Bob Prichard
“Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it” Proverbs 8:33