What would you do with the gift of time? If you had all the time in the world, would you read every book? Learn all there is to know about our Lord and the marvelous world He created? Visit all the wonders of the world? Spend more time with the people you love? With unlimited time and the chance to live each day over until you got it right, would you right every wrong? Take advantage of every missed opportunity?
Recently, I watched a movie about a man who could travel back in time to any point in his own life. It was as though he had the ability to “do-over” each bad day. His father, also a time traveler, gave him this advice: “Live each day twice, the first time with all the tensions and worries that keep us from seeing what the world can be, but the second time…noticing.” He obeyed his dad’s suggestion and soon discovered that he didn’t need to travel back in time anymore.
As he lived each day, he began noticing all the positive things, the goodness and kindness surrounding him. Without meaning to, he trained himself to see opportunities to do good and take advantage of them without a “do-over” day. The message in the movie was clear: don’t wait. Each day is an opportunity to be the person you want to be, to do the things you want to be doing. Each day we choose to notice or not, to do good or not.
The Scriptures are filled with similar advice. Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us to “look carefully then how [we] walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.” (ESV) In 2 Corinthians 6:2, Paul adjures his readers to be reconciled to God because “now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” In Luke 12:16-21, Jesus tells the Parable of the Rich Fool who stored up riches for himself to put to good use at some later date not realizing that he would die that very evening. Sadly, the man failed to be rich toward God when he was able.
“O remember how short my time is…” (Psalm 89:47 – ASV) We are, all of us, prone to waste time–taking each day for granted until something causes us to consider our own mortality. God reminds us throughout scripture that our time on earth is limited; He gave us the entire book of Ecclesiastes in which the most qualified man who has ever lived, Solomon, explores the purpose of life. Throughout the book, Solomon refers to this “fleeting life”. In the end, he comes to the conclusion that all is vanity except for obedience to God (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Those who choose to obey God have a different perspective of time because they know there is something beyond time: eternity.
Living life in light of eternity should make relishing each day easier. It teaches us to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. We learn to love our neighbors as ourselves, to choose kindness, to love always, and to find joy in the journey. We should all live each day like we are in a do-over. Be kind. Do good to as many as we are able. Show the people who matter most that we love them. Serve the Lord with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. Because today is the only day we have; we are not promised tomorrow. Don’t put off doing, being, or loving your best. There is no time to waste!