I read a humorous story about a woman who fell out of a second-floor window and landed in a slow-moving garbage truck. Half-buried in the litter, she tried without success to get the truck-driver's attention. A foreign diplomat standing on the sidewalk
saw her and quipped, "another example of how wasteful Americans are. That woman looks like she's good for at least another 10
Some people die in ashes.
Some people die in flames.
Some people die inch by inch,
playing silly, little games.
Charles Francis Adams, the 19th century political figure and diplomat, kept a diary. One day he entered: "Went fishing with
my son today--a day wasted." His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary, which is still
in existence. On that same day, Brook Adams made this entry: "Went fishing with my father--the most wonderful
day of my life!" The father thought he was wasting his time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment
of time. The only way to tell the difference between wasting and investing is to know one's ultimate purpose in life and to judge
Silas Shotwell, September 1987.
A rich man was determined to give his mother a birthday present that would outshine all others. He read of a bird that had a
vocabulary of 4000 words, could speak in numerous languages and sing 3 operatic arias. He immediately bought the bird for
$50,000 and had it delivered to his mother. The next day he phoned to see if she had received the bird. "What did you think
of the bird?" he asked. She replied, "It was delicious."
How would you like to spend 2 years making phone calls to people who aren't home? Sound absurd? According to one time management study, that's
how much time the average person spends trying to return calls to people who never seem to be in. Not only that, we spend 6 months waiting for the traffic
light to turn green, and another 8 months reading junk mail. These unusual statistics should cause us to do time-use evaluation. Once
we recognize that simple "life maintenance" can chip away at our time in such
huge blocks, we will see how vital it is that we don't busy ourselves "in vain" (Ps 39:6).
Psalm 39 gives us some perspective. In David's complaint to God, he said, "You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before
You" (V. 5). He meant that to an eternal God our time on earth is brief. And
He doesn't want us to waste it. When we do, we throw away one of the most precious commodities He gives us. Each minute is an irretrievable gift--and
unredeemable slice of eternity.
Sure, we have to make the phone calls, and we must wait at the light. But what about the rest of our time? Are we using it to advance the cause of
Christ and to enhance our relationship with Him? Is our time well spent?