Sandcastles are fun. There are few things more exciting to a child than building their own sandcastle on the beach. Who doesn’t remember the thrill of building a sandcastle and watching the waves roll in and flood the castle moat? What a wonderful way to fully enjoy the sun, revel in the warm sand, and get your hands dirty.
And it doesn’t take much to build your very own classic sandcastle masterpiece. All you need is some damp sand, a small bucket and spade, and a vivid imagination. Then the beach becomes special, a place of fantasy, imagination and dreams built with a bucket and spade.
But there is another type of sandcastle that is much rarer. It requires far more skill, it’s far more time-consuming, requires more tools, and demands a lot more patience and perseverance. But it’s an artistic masterpiece and its beauty is stunning. I’m referring to sand sculptures.
Sand sculpture is a rare and intricate art form that takes sand and water and breaths it to life with seemingly impossible beauty. We’re left spellbound and amazed by the intricate details carved into these artistic sand sculptures.
We can only marvel at the skill of these artists. And when it comes to sand sculpturing, Dennis Massoud, is king of the castle. He’s a master sandman, a world champion sand sculptor. He’s taken the humble art of building a sandcastle to entirely new levels.
Known world-wide as the Sandman, Dennis Massoud produces exquisite masterpieces from sand – dolphins, mermaids, horses, dragons, hands holding a baby, and a pirates’ treasure chest.
And he’s taken on some incredible projects – like building a sand hotel on the Gold Coast complete with a five-star luxury bedroom, sundecks and lounges. Then there was the Qantas project at Circular Quay in Sydney, where he built a life-size replica of a Qantas jet plane complete with pilot and passengers – all made of sand.
Today, at Noosa Beach on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, Dennis is creating one of his more straightforward sand sculptures for us, but one that carries a profound message – a timely message.
Dennis Massoud, or Sandman as he’s known, is a world champion sand sculptor. His expertise, experience and popularity have taken him around the world 9 times in recent years. He’s sculptured sand all over Australia and in locations as diverse as the Gobi Desert in China, Copenhagen in Denmark, Abu Dhabi in the Middle East, and Los Angeles in America.
He’s been offered an assignment to create the world’s biggest sand sculpture from 38,000 tons of sand, with a base of 100 metres across, and 38 metres high. But today, he’s creating one of his smaller, less complicated masterpieces.
And he’s going to make it from just plain regular beach sand, the kind found on any beach in Australia. Now, you might think that’s normal for sand sculptors, but it isn’t. You see, there’s a little secret to the construction materials used by most sand artists.
Our regular old family sandcastles are made with the circular grains of sand found on the beach which quickly roll off each other once dry and cause the structure to collapse. But sand artists will often use building sand or river sand that has angular grains mixed with a fraction of silt and clay to help bond the sand together.
But today, Dennis is using plain old Noosa Beach sand to produce one of his famous sand creations – the clock. He uses sand to capture the illusive resource of time that we all have. Dennis literally depicts the sands of time.
Time is like the ever-shifting sand. It never stands still. Some people understand the importance of time, they master it and leave their mark and are remembered for their actions and achievements. Often, that’s what separates successful people from ordinary ones – knowing how to manage your time well.
You see, time is the most valuable asset in your life, even more valuable than money. If you lose money, it can be replaced. It you lose time, it’s gone forever. So, it’s your most precious resource because you can make more money, but you can’t make more time. All of us get the same amount of time every week – 168 hours.
Often, the difference between people who make their lives count and those who don’t is how they respect and manage their time. And sometimes that can be a hard lesson to learn. It can even be a life and death issue as two of Australia’s most famous early explorers discovered.
On 20 August 1860, Robert O’Hara Burke, an Irish born ex-army officer and policeman, and William John Wills, a surveyor and meteorologist and their team set out from Melbourne with the intention of crossing Australia from south to north, a distance of 3,250kms. Both were inexperienced, but they had an indominable spirit and determination.
The newly established state of Victoria wanted to win the reward from the government of Australia for finding a north-south route across Australia for a telegraph line. Burke was chosen to lead the expedition across the inhospitable interior of Australia to win the prize.
After three months of travel, Burke decided to leave a supply camp at the Dig Tree on Coopers Creek and go on with just four men; himself, Wills, King and Grey to reach the Gulf of Carpentaria. He left Brahe in charge of the support team at Coopers Creek and told him to wait at the camp for three months for their return. Brahe waited over four months.
Against all odds, on 9 February 1861, the team made it all the way to the Flinders River in the Gulf of Carpentaria, although the mangrove swamps prevented them from actually getting right to the ocean itself. But now, they had to get back to the support team at Cooper Creek. They were very low on supplies and realized that making it back was going to be nearly impossible.
The return trip was gruelling. Grey died of exhaustion, and Burke, Wills, and King staggered back to the base camp at Cooper’s Creek on 21 April 1861. Unfortunately, Brahe had left for Melbourne that very same day, nine hours before. They missed rescue by just nine hours, just nine hours that meant the difference between life and death.
Bitterly disappointed at missing Brahe and the support team, their spirit was broken. They had been so agonisingly close to rescue – missed by just hours – so near, yet so far. Depressed and with their hopes dashed, Burke, Wills and King made the fatal decision to walk south-west in search of help.
Within a few weeks both Burke and Wills were dead. Crippled with exhaustion, they died of starvation. Their tragic end reminds us of the importance of time – how critical minutes, hours and days can be. The old saying is true – time is the stuff life is made of. And our very existence, our success and happiness in life, is determined by how we handle or take care of our time.
There’s a wise old riddle that goes like this: Who am I? I am free, but I’m priceless. You can’t own me, but you can use me. You can’t keep me, but you can spend me. Once you’ve lost me, you can never get me back. Who am I?
Of course, the answer is TIME.
Now, there’s a fascinating reality about life. All of us get the same amount of time each day – 1440 minutes. We get the same amount of time each week – 168 hours. It comes to us in equal amounts no matter who we are. If you’re extremely wealthy, you can’t buy more time.
If you’re a famous scientist, you can’t create more time. No matter who you are, rich or poor, black or white, male or female, it doesn’t matter. We all get the same amount of time. Sometimes it seems to go fast, or slow, when in actual fact time passes at the same speed for all of us.
Now, if you’re anything like me, it seems that time just races by. There’s never enough time in the day. But since we all get the same 24 hours, why is it that some people achieve so much more than others? The answer lies in good time management.
Our use of time will determine the quality, joy and influence of our lives. You see, the difference between people who make their lives count and those who don’t is how they manage their time. Yes, knowing how to manage time well, is what separates successful people from ordinary ones. The highest achievers manage their time exceptionally well.
So, what does all this really mean? What is time management? Well, it refers to how you choose to spend your waking hours to achieve as much as possible and accomplish your goals – and get the most out of life.
With the right time-management skills, life becomes easier. Because good time management lets you work smarter – not harder. You get more things done in less time – even when time is tight and pressures are high.
So, in managing our time one of the first things we need to do is to recognise the importance and value of time. It’s a precious and limited resource. As we’ve noticed it’s arguably our most precious resource. It cannot be stored, slowed down, or held back. All portions of time are valuable.
To realise the value of one year: Ask a student who has failed a final exam.
To realise the value of one month: ask the parents of a premature baby.
To realise the value of one week: ask the producer of a weekly television program.
To realise the value of one hour: ask two lovers waiting to meet each other.
To realise the value of 9 hours: remember Burke and Wills.
To realise the value of one minute: ask someone who’s just missed a train, or plane.
To realise the value of one second: ask someone who’s just survived a fatal accident.
To realise the value of a millisecond: ask someone who won a silver medal at the Olympics.
A second point in managing our time is to recognise that time is a resource to be cared for. Please listen to the words of the Bible in Psalms 90:2 “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”
Notice that time management must be taught. Most of us are not naturally good at it. We naturally waste time. We naturally fritter it way on things that don’t matter. We must learn how to use our time wisely.
We need to consider some basic principles that will help us start getting a better grasp on our calendar and daily schedule so we can make the most of our time. We can start by keeping a diary that will help us list our daily and weekly schedule. A diary can help us in two ways.
It helps us plan our day and it also shows us over the week, how we are spending our time. A diary can help in determining our priorities and working out what’s really urgent when budgeting our time.
A third point in managing our time is: Be intentional in investing our time. Time cannot be saved, but it can be invested. Consider the hours of one week and what amount of time is left after sleep, work, meals, and self-care and personal needs.
Let’s say we roughly spend 8hrs a day sleeping, 8 hours working (5 days a week), 2 hours a day eating, 2 hours a day on personal needs and chores. That leaves us about 44 hours a week including our weekends. That’s approximately 4 hours a day during the week and 8 hours a day on weekends. That’s your time, free time.
How we spend that time, those 44 hours every week, reveals a lot about our priorities and our goals in life. How you spend that time shows what’s really important to you – what matters most in your life.
Knowing what’s important, working that out, counts for so much. It means everything. That will determine your level of happiness and fulfillment in life. And may I suggest that the best way to spend a good portion of those 44 hours is on your relationships – building relationships with friends, family and God.
The Bible actually provides an order of priorities for our relationships. It recommends God first, family second, and then friends and acquaintances. And because relationships take time, God invites us to spend quality time with Him each week. He recommends a weekly appointment and even specifies the time.
You see, building relationships takes time. If we want to be happy and content we need to make our relationships a priority, and that will require an intentional investment of our time.
Our fourth point in managing our time is to: Manage our time wisely.
To illustrate this, imagine a jar that’s to be filled with rocks, pebbles, sand and water. The rocks represent the big issues of life, the other elements represent peripheral matters. Now, if the sand, water, pebbles and debris are poured first into the jar, there will be no room to fit in the rocks.
The most important, the priorities, can easily be crowded out by the non-essentials if we focus on them first and foremost. And that’s true in our lives as well when it comes to time. The challenge of time management is not so much the management of time, but the management of ourselves and our priorities.
It’s vitally important that we carefully Establish our priorities. We need to work out what is important in our lives. We live in a world where things and possessions are often promoted as a great priority. We’re programmed to associate happiness with having possessions. In our culture it’s easy to get addicted to material things.
We’re bombarded with advertisements, marketing strategies and gimmicks that are designed to tells us that things – fast cars, designer clothes, expensive mansions, watches, furniture, smart phones, and so on are the important priorities in life. And once you have these things, these material possessions, then you’ll be happy.
But Jesus wants us to experience genuine happiness, so He warned against this idea that possessions will bring us happiness. Here’s His warning in Luke 12:15.”Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
The reality is, the pursuit and purchase of physical possessions will never fully satisfy our desire for happiness. It may result in temporary joy for some, but the happiness found in buying a new item rarely lasts longer than a few days. Jesus told a wonderful story to illustrate this. Here it is in Luke 12:16-21.
“And he told them this parable: The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
The tragedy of the rich fool is that he missed the whole point about life. Happiness and fulfillment aren’t found in things. All possessions are temporary by nature. They look shiny and new in the store. But immediately, as soon as the package is opened, they begin to perish, spoil, or fade.
There’s always something new right around the corner. New models, new styles, new improvements, and new features. From clothes and cars to kitchen gadgets and technology, our world moves forward. And planned obsolescence makes sure our most recent purchase will be out of date and old-fashioned sooner rather than later.
Besides, you’ll never have enough. Shopping only leads to more shopping. And someone else will always have more and better. And don’t forget, more things equals more stress. Now, let’s be clear, it’s not wrong to have things. We all need them. But if they become our priority over God and relationships, then we need to refocus.
Here’s something else that’s important – Having a purpose. It’s vital to have a clear purpose in life. When we get so caught up in chasing material things, it can distract us from living a life that is purposeful and meaningful.
Instead of focussing on relationships and building life skills that bring meaning to our lives we instead choose to focus on material gain. Steve Jobs summed this up perfectly with his quote – “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.”
In the end, our material possessions will cease to matter anymore and all that we will be remembered for is our relationships – how we made others feel and what good things we brought to the world – and ultimately – our relationship with God.
Now, back to Managing our time. It’s important to Plan. The old saying is true: “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” We discussed earlier how it’s good to draw up a daily plan and a weekly schedule, as these strategies will enable us to make a the most of our time.
We come now to the fifth point in managing time: Enjoy time. Using out time wisely is a important responsibility, but it shouldn’t be a burden. Time is a gift to enjoy. When we look at the life and example of Jesus we’re reminded of this. He had the greatest and most important mission and responsibility of any person who has ever lived. But He didn’t live His life according to a full and rigid schedule. He lived a balanced life and made sure He included time to enjoy it. He had time for children. Here’s what the Bible says in Mark 10:13-16.
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”
Yes, Jesus had time for children, and He had time for friends. The Bible tells us that he often went to Bethany to spend time with his friends Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Jesus also appreciated nature and spent a lot of time in the great outdoors. He also regularly accepted invitations share to meals with a variety of different people.
Here’s what the Bible says in Luke 7:36. “Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat.” And here’s what it says further on in Luke 19:5-7.
“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.’”
In His busy schedule Jesus made time to socialise and spend time visiting people and establishing friendships. He also attended parties and celebrations. Here’s what the Bible says in John 2:1,2. “On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.”
Jesus really enjoyed socialising and spending time with people. He enjoyed the gift of life and the talent of time. We too would do well in our busy schedules to make time to enjoy life, socialise and have fun with family and friends.
We should also REGARD TIME AS A FRIEND. The Bible encourages us to take time to rest – to be quiet and to be still. Life isn’t designed to be a constant slog. A well-balanced use of time involves rest and relaxation. We are to live and enjoy a day at a time. It’s wise to find time to enjoy the present and savour the challenges and opportunities of each day as it comes.
You know, when I was young I learned to play the piano. And I learned that a sheet of music contains rests, or pauses. There is no music in a rest, but a rest is part of a musical piece. Times of quiet and rest are part of the rhythm of life. God advises us to set aside a full day a week to rest and worship.”
And that can be one of the most enjoyable ways to relax and enjoy time. Enjoying time involves creating memories, planning special experiences, and leaving space, rests, in our busy lives. Have you noticed how the margin on a page helps the reader? Otherwise a page full of writing from edge to edge is too crowded and overwhelming.
Time is a gift to enjoy and enjoying time is an important part of living life to the full. Enjoying time is more conducive to better health, better relationships, and a more productive life. It’s an important part of managing our time wisely.
When I consider time, the sands of time, and Dennis’ sand sculptured clock, and I look at the world around us as it moves from crises to crises, I’m reminded that a time will come on God’s great clock, and it seems that hour is about to strike. The Bible tells us that the end will come but that the end will also be a new beginning.
When Jesus Christ comes again, it will be the end of this world’s system of evil, pain and suffering and the beginning of God’s eternal kingdom and His reign throughout the earth. But before that hour strikes, our world is in crisis after crisis. There will be wars and rumours of wars, revolutions and riots. There will be famines, pestilences, plagues and viruses.
That time is here. We’re experiencing it. The hour is late. It’s just before midnight. God’s great prophetic time piece is ticking and it’s soon to strike midnight. Today is your day of salvation. Here’s what God’s Word, the Bible, says in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “2 For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”[a]
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Today you can accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour. You can put your faith, your trust and your confidence in Him. He will provide a solid foundation for your life – far more solid than the shifting sands of time. He will change your dimension of time and put you into eternity with Him.
If you would like to know more about God’s great prophetic time clock and where we are living in the stream of time, then I’d like to recommend the free gift we have for all our Incredible Journey viewers today. It’s the popular booklet, ‘A King, a Dream and You.’ This booklet is our gift to you and is absolutely free. There are no costs or obligations whatsoever. So make the most of this wonderful opportunity to receive the free gift we have for today. Here’s the information you need…
If you’ve enjoyed our journey to Noosa and our reflections on the importance of time, and how to manage it wisely to ensure we are making time for our friends, families and God, then be sure to join us again next week, when we will share another of life’s journeys together. Until then, let’s put our faith, trust and confidence in the Great God who made and controls time. Let’s pray.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the precious gift of time. Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Help us to get our priorities right so that we invest sufficient time our relationships with our friends, our families, and most importantly, our God. We ask these things in Jesus name, Amen.