I have often wished for an extra hour or two in the day, and an extra day or two in the week, so as to finish a task or prepare for the next one. It is when the deadline approaches that I realize the value of the time that was wasted, or not used as well as it might have been.
Charles F. Kettering was a man of many talents – a farmer, teacher, engineer, and inventor. He had more than 300 patents in his name. How did he manage to pack so much into his life? This is what he said:
The future is that time when you’ll wish you had done what you aren’t doing now.
Procrastination is indeed the thief of time. I am learning not to put off what I can do today. Right now I am in the middle of a massive practical project and the only way it will be accomplished in time is if I stick at it and do what I can each day. Then, when the deadline is upon me, everything will be in place and I will be ready.
And what about the spiritual deadline?
Robert Moffat, the missionary to Africa,said:
We shall have all eternity in which to celebrate our victories, but we have only one swift hour before the sunset in which to win them.
“One swift hour”…yes a whole life is that short, in comparison to eternity. It is worth devoting that entire life to God’s purpose for me. I have never regretted following Jesus Christ and using the energies of mydays, months and years to further his plans. But there is so much more still to be done, so many God-given dreams to accomplish, and I’ll fulfil that potential unless I press on.
None of us knows how long our life will be, and it is wise advice to “live each day as if it were your last”. In other words, give each goal our best shot.
Do you have any plans and dreams that are still only in the bud? If they are of God, and if you work in partnership with him, he will give you the energy and motivation to accomplish them!
Out in the car the other day I noticed a massive truck with luminous yellow tags on its wheel nuts.
They are fitted to show immediately if any of the nuts have worked loose. The points would alter their direction and be very obviously out of line.
I had seen them before, but this time I thought: “How do I know when I am not as “tight” a Christian as I should be? Are there any indicators that flag up to me that I have eased up in certain areas of life when I should be tight and disciplined? I thought of a few.
- Grumbling and complaining – Discontentment is a first indicator of a spiritual lack.
- Not singing – I may not sing out loud much, but usually Christian hymns and songs are going on in my head, with full orchestral accompaniment sometimes! When the music stops, it means I am not living in the spiritual dimension I want to naturally be in. I need to reassess my spiritual life.
- Worry – There are concerns in life, but trust and reliance on God should deal the with fear and anxiety that erode our peace. When I become unsettled and anxious, I need to get back into tight alignment with God.
If I notice any of these creeping in during a day, then I know that I have something “loose” that needs to be attended to.
What indicators would you add to the list? Are there things that warn you when you are spiritually drifting or becoming slack? Feel free to add them to the comments below.
Nothing is ordinary. Life is an endless series of little miracles. The difference between living and existing is noticing. – Louie Giglio
The buds are appearing on the rose bushes. The robin is singing vibrantly on the cherry tree. The car, which is ten years old, is running smoothly. I safely negotiated the uneven surface of the old path and dipping garden beds, without turning my ankle. My internet connection, which was broken, reconnected just in time for an important email to be sent.
Yes, little miracles perhaps, but miracles nonetheless. Today, like most other days, my friend and I started the day by committing it to God and trusting him to help in every detail. The more we do this, the more we are identifying hid intervention and protection. The more we see of his miracle of creation and his care for us.
What little miracles have you experienced today?
This video tells the story of the iconic poster. Thank you Denny Burk for bringing it to my attention. It reminds me of something that I have been learning recently.
How wonderful to know that we can experience the deep calm that comes through trusting implicitly in God, whatever our circumstances.
Sitting in a self-service restaurant the other day, I saw a mother and her son approaching a table. She carried a tray of food; he had oloy a glass of orangeade. Somehow, in setting down his glass, he knocked it over, spilling the entire contents over the table and chair.
“Mu-u-u-u-u-m!!!! he wailed. “Look what you made me do!”
His mother had been several paces away from him and the table was not in the least bit wobbly.
Mum made it clear to her son, “I didn’t make you do it. No one else made you do it. You can’t blame anyone except yourself.”
Sometimes I have days when I am particularly clumsy. It’s then I sometimes find myself blaming inanimate objects! I stumble and say, “That stupid shoe lace never stays tied up.” Or once, “That milk jug shouldn’t have been on the corner of the shelf. It stuck out and caught my hand. Look at the state of the fridge now!”
You get the idea.
An entrenched pattern
Like the young lad in the restaurant, we tend to follow a pattern that has been entrenched in human behaviour since Eve said, “The serpent told me…” and Adam said, “The woman gave it to me to eat.”
We live in a blame culture. We may not go so far as litigation and demands for compensation, but it is easy to fall into the way of blaming anyone, or anything, except ourselves for many of the ills that we bring upon ourselves, or which are simply nobody’s fault.
We can break that pattern – face up to our own carelessness, clumsiness, laziness…whatever has caused the mishap. If we do that, then, when something happens that is the fault of another person, we will more readily see that we might have done the same, and be more understanding and forgiving.
Go on! Cut yourself a little slack. Understand that you have made a mistake and don’t try to dodge out of it. Repent, and move on, determined to do better next time. That way you will stop looking to put the blame elsewhere.
It may take a conscious effort, but with God’s help we will find that as we get out of the “it’s-not-my-fault” syndrome, we won’t be grumbling so much and life will be all the sweeter, both for us and for those around us.