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Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Monday, January 4

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” — Ephesians 5:15-16

Working The Clock

In sports such as football or basketball where the clock is a crucial aspect of the game, coaches and teams are often praised or criticized for their use of it: how they managed their timeouts and if they left too much time for the opposing team to get the ball back. Outcomes are often decided based on how well or poorly a team worked the clock, especially if it was in the lead. In all my years of watching sports, I’ve seen many times where a team mishandled its use of the clock and ultimately lost the game because of it.

This principle of how you work the clock has a lot of parallels to life — because, after all, we’re all in a game with a certain limited amount of time on this earth during which we can live, love, learn and make a difference. Nobody has an infinite lifespan and, therefore, how we use the time we’re given is of utmost importance.

Each of us is presented with really two options as to how we’ll manage the time our Creator has handed to us: We can either run out the clock and simply try to stay out of trouble, or we can redeem the time and use it wisely, making every single second count.

Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Other Bible versions phrase it as “making the best use of…” or “taking advantage of every opportunity.”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life through the sad reality of losing a lot of people I’ve known over the years, it is this: Tomorrow isn’t promised. You’re not guaranteed an infinite amount of time to use however you want. God is the only One who knows the number of our days, and our attitude ought to be as is that of the writer of Psalm 90, who wrote, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” In short, help us to make our time count.

In so many ways, it’s easy to just let the moments skip past us — to waste minutes that turn into hours over the course of a life, and simply try to run out the clock and make sure we come out of this life on the winning side. But, in my opinion, this isn’t the Kingdom mindset God’s wants us to have. If we’re serious about making our one life mean something — if living out our God-given purpose and calling holds any weight with us — then merely running out the clock isn’t an option.

For the believer, life must be lived with intentionality and urgency. Life shouldn’t be lived as an emergency — part of “redeeming the time” is appreciating the time — but we shouldn’t waste away our precious heartbeats on things that don’t matter in the end.

Don’t be among those who one day look back and regret that they blew the time they had. Instead, ask yourself this: Are you running out the clock, or are you making the time count?

— Katherine Singer

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