What should we be doing with our time?

“Time is gold.” Cliche as it may sound, but pondering on this abused saying, it actually packs a lot of punch in many ways. We cannot turn back time, and the minute that has passed is a minute that we cannot get back. For us Christians, however, this saying has the most value. It’s not just about making good use of our time. Jesus Christ, in the gospels, said many parables that are relating to time:

  1. Parable of the Laborers: It doesn’t matter if you came to work in the vineyard last or first. All receive the same salary.
  2. Parable of the Talents: Invest on the talents that are given to you even if it only renders a certain profit.
  3. Parable of the Gold Coin: You were given some money (talent), but you never did something about it. Even that will be taken away from you.

I prefer to use the third parable on the gold coin because many are like that man who only hid the gold coin that was given to him. (How he wished it were a money seed, that it grew into a money plant bearing coins as fruits!)

Who are the ones who hide their gold coins?

These are the people who are happy and contented with the way they are, and I have to believe that this is the majority of humanity. These people would most likely be improving or advancing in their careers, but are not with their being, their spiritual life. God gave each one of us gold coins although different in quantities. Your father might have more gold coins than you do or the other way around. These gold coins actually represent our nature, our temperaments and virtues that we grew up with without our realizing that we are slowly acquiring them. The gold coins represent our talents and good virtues we acquired effortlessly and even unconsciously.

We can be like that man who didn’t invest his gold coin, by being contented with the talents and virtues that we already have. Some of these virtues may be as common as respect for elders, cheerfulness, obedience, or generosity. These are actually virtues ingrained in our Filipino culture. Respect for elders by saying “po” or “opo”, or the tradition of taking care of our aging parents. Filipinos have a really great sense of humor and has the ability to make light serious problems – cheerfulness. Because of our respect for elders, we are accustomed to be obedient. We Filipinos also are fond of offering our food to others even if the food is really just good for ourselves – generosity. This picture of a Filipino already seems like an ideal person, a good friend, or son or daughter. However, these qualities are just the gold coins that God has entrusted to us. God, as our Creator, expects us (as explained to us by Jesus Christ through a parable) that they are doubled, or tripled.

Just because we have a few good qualities, it is already enough.

“Eh, ganun ako. Hindi mo na ako mababago.”

That’s how I am. You cannot change me. This is not what God is asking of us. When he gave us life, he wants us that we improve on ourselves because God has made us so that there is always room for improvement. To change is a choice. We have to choose to constantly improve. There are more than enough things that we can improve. What’s important in change is to know who we are — our defects.

Knowing my defects depresses me. Let’s face it. No one is perfect. We ought not be surprised if we find that there is something wrong in us, or we did something wrong. Even St. Peter was not perfect. He even denied Jesus Christ as his master three times just when he was undergoing a lot of suffering in the hands of Romans! Be inspired as well with Mary Magdalene who was a prostitute who also converted and became a disciple of Jesus Christ. We have to be perfect. “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt. 5:48) If God commanded that, then be assured that we can actually do it.

“Hindi ko kaya maging perfect, ‘no?”

Definitely you cannot be perfect solely relying on your effort. You and I will have to rely on God’s help — grace. “With God, nothing is impossible.” Definitely! God has also given us the gift of Faith when we were baptized to be able to believe in in Him. Yes, we can exercise our Faith.

Good use of time.

We have to make good use of time. This is just the means to an end. Our goal for making good use of our time is to be perfect so that one day, when God calls us to be with Him finally, we are in our most perfect state, and we become worthy of heaven. Making good use of our time then requires that our schedule is full and balanced with rest and work. Each day we are constantly struggling to undo a bad habit like gossiping at work.

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