Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Time Keeps on Ticking

Every time I see or hear a claim about adding 10 years to your life, I laugh. Not audibly, but still. Why? Because God is the only one that knows exactly how long we will live and when our last breath will be taken. And I'm sorry, but no amount of kale, salmon, or avocados is going to change that. Truthfully, you could have a couple of drinks and smoke a pack a day and live to be a hundred if that was His plan. (I'm not advocating that, just making a point.)

What we do have some control over is how we spend our time. Certainly the Lord can disrupt our plans with His intervention. But, we also have a choice as to whether or not we are going to scroll pinterest for ideas we aren't going to follow through with anyway or read a book that will grow our faith, knowledge base, or work to improve a skill we already have.

Ephesians 5:15-16 says: "Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil." I am slowly learning that my good intentions tend to remain intentions if I don't have a deliberate plan. I need to schedule the things I want to do so that I don't get quite so sidetracked by other activities. And why? Because my enemy is prowling around with shiny objects looking for a chance to devour me the moment I am not alert. (1 Peter 5:8) No, the shiny objects are not scirptural, that's just my reality.

Not everything I get distracted by is a bad thing. But if I feel like I am behind where I wanted to be because I didn't do what I needed to get done, guess who's irritable? Hand raised, way up high. Then guess who's snippy with everyone she really loves and ends up needing a time-out? Guilty.

This morning I read Proverb 9. When I got to verse 11 I had to chuckle a little because at first it caught me by surprise. It says: For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. Now, I know I can't add years to my life in the chronological sense, but what if I can add them in a metaphorical sense?

If I can use the time God has given me productively and for His purposes, wouldn't I essentially be adding years to my life? If I remain focused and not in a state of constant panic of trying to get done what I neglected in the first place, won't I always have more time for the extras? Isn't this exactly what I've been preaching to my kids their entire academic lives? Oh the painful irony of it all!

The truth is, we are told that to whom much is given, much is expected and that if we squander what we've been given, even that will be taken away. Time is no different. If we waste this non-renewable resource which is our most precious commodity, we will lose even more of it because we still have to get done what we ignored and then we'll miss out on so much more. But if we use our time and talent well, adding value to everything we do, won't it multiply and extend everything?

Oh my sweet friends, I am preaching to myself on this one! I can be the most disciplined one in the bunch one day and the one that can barely get anything done the next. But here's the beautiful thing: As long as we are still here, we can work to improve our habits, and thankfully we don't have to do that in our own strength. 

This isn't likely to be comfortable and we'll probably resist it heavily. But in the end, the one who is trained by discipline reaps a harvest of righteousness and peace. And thankfully if we let that happen, we'll have time to enjoy it as well.

Lord I pray that You would show us our life's end and the number of our days. Remind us how fleeting life is and that You have made us a mere handbreadth. The span of our years is as nothing before You. Teach us to be wise, to make the most of every opportunity, to always work as if we are working for You, and to live lives worthy of the calling we have received. We are sorry for the moments we have wasted and are thankful that You can redeem them all. We love You. It's in Jesus precious name we pray. Amen.

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