Marcus Aurelius was not a Christian, even persecuted Christians, but he did say something that fits with Christian thinking and practice.
I expect to pass through this world but once—therefore, if there be any kindness I can show or any good thing I can do to any fellow human being, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
This man may have had selfish motivations for saying this, yet because I serve God and have an eternal perspective, I say amen. We are here but once, and life is short. The Bible even tells us…
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15–16)
Yesterday, I chatted with a woman from England. During our conversation, I said something about playing computer games was for me a large waste of time. She replied that ‘wasting time’ are words not in her vocabulary. For her, whatever she was doing, she was doing. It was her time and her decision what to do with it.
I’ve weighed this against the value system of my parents (something like the Puritan work ethic) and what the Bible says about choosing life activities. Another verse echoes the ideas from Ephesians 5. It says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time” (Colossians 4:5).
These and other passages emphasize the use of time, but today’s devotional verse says profound things about why I should not waste it.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
My life, including the time it takes to live it, does not belong to me. I died with Christ and now live because He lives in me. Living by faith in Him is entirely opposite to living by trusting my personal and selfish desires.
This does not mean no leisure. Jesus took His disciples apart from the crowds to rest. But when God asked Him, and when He asks me to do something else, like show kindness or do good for someone, then that is what should fill my time.
Jesus is the measure of all things. Despite the way He is depicted in the media and how some ridicule Him, I cannot imagine the Christ who is revealed in Scripture spending hours playing computer games.
Lord, I live in a world that is trying to push You out. Even dates with AD (“the year of our Lord”) are being replaced by CE (“current era”) so as ‘not to offend non-Christians’ never mind the disrespect shown as millions use Your name in vain. Being kind and helpful is still allowed, but saying I’m doing it because You live in me is not. It is as You said to Your disciples, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). The Bible also tells me that those who even desire to live godly lives will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). While the woman at the pool was not antagonistic about ‘wasting time’ I wonder what she would have said had I told her my time belongs to Jesus Christ.