Today I’m sharing the story of a married couple celebrating the wife’s 45th birthday. Every year along with their two children they celebrate their respective birthdays his in July, hers in September, then they would celebrate again just the two of them. They would go out to a nice restaurant have a quiet dinner alone, occasionally a few friends would be invited to join them, but most of the time it would be a nice quiet intimate date for two. However, this year the wife was determined to go all out for the entire month she made endless plans with girlfriends, Facebook friends, and even friends from the office her plans included everyone except members of her family. She said she was tired of not having fun on her birthday and this was the year she was going to start having fun for her birthday.
Her husband shocked and disappointed at her statements told her he would do whatever she wanted telling her he thought she was okay with them all celebrating her birthday and then the two of them spending time alone. She said she’d already made plans, she was going to have fun, and she wanted to make this year a birthday to remember. She planned to go out dancing, have lunches, she’d planned dinners and a couple of brunches with the girls throughout the month. However this weekend she took a couple of days off work and planned a mini-getaway for her and a few of her girlfriends. Her husband expressed his unhappiness as carried her luggage to the car, again saying to her we can do all those things I don’t mind, really, I just want to be the one spending time with you on your special day.
Time is something that every human in modern societies is aware of on a daily basis, yet, it is very difficult to get our hands around exactly what constitutes time. Miriam Webster’s Dictionary defines “time” as “the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues” or” a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future” If you think about it, time is an odd concept. As humans we found it necessary to quantify that concept, hence the invention of the clock. Rolf-Dietmar Ehrhardt determined that in order for time to exist, then a perceivable consciousness is required. He says that time only exists “in 3 dimensionality” and that earthly time does not exist in the hereafter. If you think about it, time might be the most valuable commodity on earth. Once it is used, it can never be retrieved.
Moses prays, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). A good way to gain wisdom is to learn to live each day with an eternal perspective. Our Creator has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Knowing that we will have to give an account to the One who gives us time should motivate us to use it well.
If you were being honest how many hours in a day would you say you waste? That hour you used watching a tv show cannot be retrieved. Was it worth it to use a resource that is gone forever after a single use? So often we use our time on pursuits that brings neither pleasure or profit, pain or loss. When organizations ask for support, more often than not it comes in the form of a financial donation. People say that they support some group or effort simply because they write a check. Or, they say that they cannot support a group, organization or effort because they have no money to give. Money is necessary in our global economy but, perhaps the greatest support that you can give is your time.
Your time is so valuable because it cannot be duplicated. Your time is not a collective commodity but instead is uniquely associated to you as an individual. Only you can give your time and what you give is like a snowflake; it is distinctive and unique. Others can give their time but it is never exactly like yours so yours has its own distinct value. Time with your children or spouse is a unique event shared only by those involved.
There is no doubt that the responsibilities and pressures of this world scream for our attention. The myriad of things pulling us in different directions makes it all too easy for our time to get swallowed up in mundane, lesser matters. The way we chose to handle our gift of time is essential because of the brevity of our lives. Our earthly sojourn is significantly shorter than we are inclined to think. As David so aptly points out, “You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath” (Psalm 39:4-5). The apostle James echoes this: “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). Indeed, our time on earth barely registers on the eternal radar screen.
How much is time worth? How much is it worth to take the time to see the smile on a child’s face? What is it worth to pause and witness a glorious sunset? Giving of ourselves means giving our time and any amount of financial donation cannot compare to the value of giving of oneself to another. For those moments that you spend time with another, you are in effect laying down that part of your life for that person. Perhaps we should step back and realize that everyone can give to others more than the wealthiest man in the world, simply by using our time wisely. There never seems to be enough time. Minutes melt into hours, days into weeks and months into years, so suddenly, so swiftly. Time a most precious jewel, a priceless commodity, is our most fleeting possession.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul cautioned the saints, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Living wisely involves using our time carefully. Knowing that the harvest is great and the workers are few, and that time is rapidly dwindling should help us make better use of our time to witness.
Our time is never more profitable than when we set aside a portion of it to focus on God. Think on Him, and in the sounds of silence you will perceive that you are not alone. Gain rest and strength from your inner dialogues with the Creator. Our souls will be calm, as we bask in sweet tranquility. For one of the greatest gifts of all is God’s timeless eternity, filled with the love and comfort that He gives.
I received a text message, then a call from the man’s wife earlier today informing me my friend had died. She went on to say in a very choked up fashion. “I wish we had more time”. Needless to say she will remember this, her 45th birthday for the rest of her time here in this life.