The fact is inescapable: our time in this life is short. For some of us, it’s shorter than for others, but as certainly as heat rises, all men die. It is going to happen, though none of us actually know when.
So it is incumbent upon all of us to make the best use of the time we have here, since it’s both limited and short. This is a stewardship; time is a gift from God that we can use well or poorly.
Narrowing our focus even more, Christians recognize that we have opportunities in this life that are unique to this life. When Paul is directing the Ephesian Christians in how to impact their culture, he teaches them that that to best do so they must start with themselves:
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:15-21).
I find it particularly interesting that couched in these verses there is a healthy blend of the acquisition of knowledge (vv. 15, 17) and cultivation of encouraging relationships (vv. 19, 21). Some of us may think, “Time is short, so I need to learn as much about God and His Word as I possibly can.” That is totally true, but it cannot be to the neglect of personal relationships, and here’s why: You cannot have a right relationship with God without having a right relationship with His people (hence vv. 19 and 21). God made men to be relational creatures (Gen. 2:18), and He intends for us to help one another to become more like Christ.
Beyond all of this, in the context of Ephesians, Paul was giving them a formula as to how to impact their society. The Ephesian citizens would be compelled by the Ephesian Christians’ love for God that resulted in an increased love for each other. And the same is true for us.
Just as for the Ephesisans, our time is short here on earth, so we must use it well. As Christians, we ought to be making the greatest impact for Christ that we can in the short time we have. In order to do so, we must actively pursue knowledge and wisdom from God’s word, AND we must deepen our relationships with other believers in a way that will compel the unbelievers around us to follow after Christ as well.
This is excellent stewardship.