Monday, April 23, 2012

Extra time

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” -Eph. 5:15,16
Time is a strange thing. In some situations, time seems to move slowly, like sitting in a dentist’s chair. In others situations, time goes by quickly, like being with family. But the truth is, time never changes. There are always 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in an hour. But how we use that time makes all the difference. And how we teach our kids to use time affects the quality of their lives. We just returned from a wonderful weekend in Columbia Missouri with Elizabeth, Mark, and our beautiful granddaughter, Reese. We celebrated her 2nd birthday on Friday and Jeanie’s birthday on Saturday. Upon returning home, I took the mail out of the mailbox and there was a box with my repaired watch in it. I quickly put on the watch and continued unpacking the car. It took a while to put everything away. I glanced at the watch and noticed it was already 10:00 and about bedtime (I know, I’m getting old). Then, a strange thing happened…. I was checking a message on my iPhone and noticed a time difference. My watch was set an hour off. It was 9:00, not 10:00. The repairman hadn’t set the time to my time zone. I had gained an hour! I had extra time. I had been given a free extra hour. Hezekiah, the 14th king of Judah, was also given some extra time. II Kings 20 records God’s granting him 15 extra years of life after Hezekiah fell deathly ill. Hezekiah prayed for the Lord’s mercy and God granted the Godly king his request. What did Hezekiah do with his extra years? He fathered Manasseh, who would rule after him. Manasseh would be an evil king (perhaps God knew that initially?) but God would use it all for His plan. My former boss and mentor, Richard Beach, passed away a few years ago after 16 years of life with inoperable, terminal cancer. He had been branded as “dying” back in the 90’s but was granted 16 more years to live life. What did he do with his extra time? He used it to the fullest! I heard Richard say once, “I bet the people on the Titanic wished they’d had another piece of dessert after dinner that night.” He enjoyed life to the max. He continued to stay in the middle of it all, discipling and caring for brothers and sisters in the Lord and overseeing the operations of Doulos ministries. The question looms every hour of every day, “What are we doing with our time?” We can make the most of every minute we’re given or we can waste the precious gift of time that God has granted. Though we view Hezekiah and Richard as being given “extra” time, none of us know how much time we have left. Time is a gift and we should treat it as such. I read the other day, “We should look at our lives as a shiny new penny. We can spend it any way we wish, but we can only spend it once. And we cannot spend half a penny- it’s an all-or-nothing transaction. Talk to God about how you will invest your remaining years of life in His service.” Life goes by so quickly…minute after minute. How we choose to use those minutes determines the worth of our lifetime. We need to teach our families to savor every second. And to enjoy that extra dessert. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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