Good morning. (Normally I don’t start a blog with reference to the time – 6:00 a.m. – but it’s relevant here.) This is just a quick reminder that each moment is precious. Not only that, but each moment is precious in two ways, first, practically, and second, spiritually. I will touch upon the practical first. This morning when I woke up, earlier than usual I’m pleased to say, I wasted a few minutes here and a few minutes there. In all, I might have lost fifteen minutes. That is fifteen minutes I won’t get back. Fifteen minutes I could have used to get something done that would have made my morning easier and less stressful. Fifteen minutes that would have made me feel better about myself.
I’ll still get done what I want to get done. And there’s no point in beating one’s self up for what cannot be changed, but I mention this for me, not for you, because I am a notorious time waster. A couple of minutes here, a couple of minutes there, and…BAM!...I’ve lost 30 or 60 minutes.
It’s not that every single moment has to be productive, but if time really is precious, like money, or more than money, can I afford to squander it? I suppose all of us could work non-stop all day long and that’s not what I’m arguing for here. What I am arguing for is awareness and presence. Is whatever I’m doing at the moment the best use of my time?
For example, during my writing time this morning, I found myself absentmindedly cutting the unnecessary edges from the box-top vouchers so that they all looked nice and orderly. Then I recycled the offending edges into my recycle bin. I suppose this gave me some sense of satisfaction. The box-tops will go to the school and they will look tidy. It doesn’t get much better than that. And yet…and yet…I could hear that still small voice saying, “This is nice, but is it the best use of your time?”
It’s not that there is never a time to be anal-retentive. It’s not that there’s never a time to take a nap or read a comic book or play Panda Pop on my phone. There can and should be time for these kinds of activities…maybe just not at 5:45 in the morning when I have three pages of journal to fill, a lunch to pack, and a shower to take (along with a much needed shave).
I’ve mentioned before that it’s often the small choices that do us in…or lift us up. It’s the five minutes here and the five minutes there that can make all the difference. This is why I bring a book wherever I go. This is why I listen to something instructive while in the shower or on the way to work. Just twenty minutes a day of adds up to two hours a week. This blesses me and it allows me to bless others when I share something new I’ve learned. This is why the practical use of time is precious. It can become a blessing to others and to ourselves.
It is also practical on a spiritual plane. Time is a gift from God. When I use my time well, I feel better about myself. But I also realize, as I said, it’s a gift from God. Why would God give me a gift? Maybe He wants to see how I will use it. There are few things more regretful and frustrating than giving a gift to someone, a gift that I planned out in advance and gave great thought and care in the giving of, only to see the recipient put it away in a closet or (and I saw this once) give it to charity and announce cheerfully, not remembering it came from me, “I’m glad I got rid of that!”
Maybe God wants us to see that He’s given us the gift of time, not just so we can be practical (although obviously practicality has its place), but precisely because it is precious. It’s more precious than gold because not one single moment can be replaced or retrieved. And here’s the thing. Because it’s a gift, we are free to use it however we want. God’s only hope in this is that we enjoy each moment and that we recognize the sacredness of what we’ve been given. Each moment is an opportunity to improve life for others or for ourselves, even to change life altogether. Each moment is an opportunity to learn, to enjoy, to work, to live, to love. Each moment is an opportunity to Get Started and to Keep Going.