“This thing all things devours:
birds, beasts, trees, flowers:
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays kings, ruins towns,
and beats high mountains down.”
Do you recognize this? It was posed by Bilbo Baggins to Gollum during their famous riddle battle in J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’. The answer: Time.
It’s about time…
We have too much of it, then quickly too little. It speeds by and then at other times drags on, and on, and on. We often misjudge the amount of it we have, waste it, or lament we don’t have enough. A few things though are certain concerning time –
- We can’t stop it.
- We don’t know how much of it we have.
“Time is an essential element of our earthly existence as human beings,” he said. “It is one of our most useful and precious resources. The success of our mortal experience depends in large part on how wisely we use it.”
Bishop Caussé offered five thoughts on time – ours and the Lord’s –
Learn from the past and move forward
“We all know very little about our future,” he said. “On the other hand, the past seems to occupy a great deal of our thoughts. It is full of memories — some of them joyous that bring happiness to our souls, and others that we would prefer to forget forever.” All past experiences, both good and bad, are useful and contribute to a person’s eternal progress, Bishop Caussé said. “We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it and move forward.”
Don’t get discouraged — it is never too late
Sharing the experience of John Akhwari, a marathon runner from Tanzania who represented his country in the 1968 Summer Olympics, Bishop Caussé told of how during his race, the athlete suffered a leg cramp and fell down, dislocating his knee, after 20 miles.
It took the runner more than an hour to run the last six miles. By the time he finally approached the finish line, many of the spectators had left the arena. As the remaining spectators saw the limping runner finish the race they welcomed him with loud cheers and a standing ovation.
When asked about why he finished after being advised to quit, Akhwari told reporters, “My county did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”
“In the same way, “[O]ur Heavenly Father did not send us to earth to start the race but to finish it,” Bishop Caussé said. “The doors of heaven are open for those who arrive, whether they are early or late. There is no time limit to run the course, no ranking, and no medals. The honors and awards are the same for those who arrive among the first finishers as they are for those among the last.”
Don’t wait — now is the time
“This life is the time where the stakes for all eternity are played out — our salvation and our eternal future,” he said. “The good news is that once we depart this life, if we have remained faithful to the very last moment, we have the assurance of inheriting eternal life.”
Accept God’s time
“In many respects, our lives are like a stage race,” he said. “Each age includes a few milestones to be reached.” Recognizing specific ages bring specific responsibilities and opportunities, Bishop Caussé said the milestones are good, and help in setting goals. He encouraged listeners to accept God’s timing, remaining faithful and happy regardless of the circumstances and things not in their control. “The reality is that even if we master our choices and our actions, we have only limited control of our life’s timetable,” he said.
Those who stay faithful can be assured that “God always keeps His promises” and blessings will inevitably come.
Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life
“We cannot change the past, but we can change the present and the future,” the Presiding Bishop taught. “We can change the course we are on and build better tomorrows.” 
May I add one last thought to this ‘timely’ piece? In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Alma teaches that,
“…this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for the endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.” – Alma 12:24
There is indeed a spiritual aspect to time. The time between our birth and our death has great eternal significance and purpose. It is a period for us to develop spiritually – obtain Christ-like qualities, overcome our natural man through repentance, live by faith, and increase our testimonies through obedience. So, as John taught,
“…when he shall appear,we shall be like him;” ;
or at least on our way.
In looking at how your time is spent, consider giving those behaviors that will benefit your spiritual progress and strengthen your testimony the time they require – scripture study, prayer, service, temple attendance. However long or short our time here may be, our wise use of it in preparing ourselves to meet the Lord will be time well spent.
Sister Kristin Oaks, wife of Apostle, Dallin H. Oaks, gave this counsel:
“We know our identity and as daughters of God we do not have time to be distracted, diverted or diminished. We live in a world desperate for our goodness, our purity, and our testimonies.” 
“Time is a gift, a treasure not to be put aside for the future but to be used wisely in the present.”
Thomas S. Monson 
 –“‘In His Time’: Bishop Gerald Causse’ speaks to BYU-Idaho students”, by Marianne Holman Prescott, LDS News, May 11, 2016
 – Ibid.
 – 1John 3:2
 – Kristin M. Oaks, BYU Women’s Conference, Apr. 2016
 – “Dedication Day”, President Thomas S, Monson, LDS General Conference, October 2000