“He’s living on borrowed time.”
He cheated fate, in other words. He used up the days allotted to him, came up against the moment that should have ended his life, and kept on living. From here on out, it’s borrowed time—minutes, days, maybe even years that he was never entitled to, never knowing when it might end.
Except that’s not really true, is it? The idea that we have a set amount of time that we’re inherently entitled to—where did it come from? When we say someone was “taken before their time,” what are we implying?
The truth is more uncomfortable than all of that. David wrote,
Lord, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
That I may know how frail I am.
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.
Translation: It’s all borrowed time. Every bit of it. Starting from day one, you aren’t making withdrawals from your own personal time bank—you’re getting the moments God gives you, and nothing more.
That’s true for all of us. It’s true for the cancer survivor and for the man who’s never had anything worse than the flu. It’s true for the passenger who barely survived the crash at the intersection and for the woman who’s never broken a bone in her body.
It’s borrowed time. All of it. We’re not promised one moment beyond this one, and yet it’s so easy to live like we’ve been given eternity.
But we haven’t. Not yet. We have right now, this moment, and that’s it.
What are you doing with it? How are you using it?
Moses asked God, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Until we understand that our days are limited, that our time is borrowed, a heart of wisdom is going to be forever beyond our reach. There’s always tomorrow, after all. Or the day after. Or the day after…
And then God thunders, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you” (Luke 12:20), and that’s it. Time’s up; game’s over. No more moments to waste.
Paul offers a better alternative: “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).
Our days are limited, our time is borrowed, and the clock is ticking. That ought to light a fire under our butts and help us to fix our attention on the things that really matter—not the distractions of this life, but the coming Kingdom of God and who we need to become to be there.
Jesus offers these words of hope: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). God is on our side here. He wants to see us succeed. He wants us to make it—but that requires action from us.
“Borrowed time” has such an ominous connotation. It sounds like a loan that might be snatched back at any moment, and maybe that’s not the most encouraging way to look at it. This isn’t time we’ve borrowed from God as much as it is time God has given to us, so maybe that’s what we need to start calling it: gifted time. Time gifted to us by a loving Creator who wants us in His family.
We don’t need to be terrified of God waiting to take His gift back just to spite us, but we do need to understand that if we choose to squander the time we’re given, then the fault lies with us, not God.
Brethren, the Kingdom awaits. The race is waiting to be run. The clock is ticking.
What are you doing with your gifted time?
Until next time,