In the sermon at my church today1, the minister spoke from the following passage in James:
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
James 4:14 NASB
It occurred to me that – at least for those like me, whose lives are a hectic mash-up of activities and responsibilities – there is probably something that we could do each day to make a bigger difference in this life.
I’m not pretending that we just have extra time, especially when our work day effectively extends from dawn until dusk, moving from one responsibility to another. However, I ask myself – what if I skipped something today? What if I took just 15 minutes from something that I didn’t absolutely have to do, and did something more significant?
Our activities are probably different from each other, but maybe we could find time while our kids’ practice finishes up, or waiting around until our order is ready, or riding in the bus/train/carpool, or while sitting around between appointments.
Maybe we could make time with a little less TV, sports, Facebook, news, gaming (even that little casual smartphone game), or just Internet browsing. Beyond that, there might be otherwise good activities that we could skip occasionally, for a chance to do something better. Maybe those weeds in the planter could be pulled tomorrow (unless you put off doing so yesterday).
(By the way, if you are looking for apps to download onto your smartphone, have you ever noticed how many say that they are “great time-wasters” in the comments. Is wasting time really what we want to be about?)
In those little bits of time, there are so many things we could do:
- Pray for someone. Implore the forces of Heaven to intervene on their behalf.
- Send a note to someone you care about. That could be a written note (they still exist, believe it or not), an e-mail, a text, or just a comment on one of their Facebook postings.
- Stop and call someone that you know wants to talk. If you have the time, let them talk for as long as they want. If not, let them know when you need to move on, then call them back when you have the next chance to do so.
- Invite someone to church. What could be simpler? (I know, I know…)
- Tell someone about Jesus. Get serious about rescuing people from continuing to exist without Him.
- Invite someone out for a snack. The couch might be calling, but you’ve still gotta eat tonight, right? Ladies, good friends won’t mind if your lipstick is gone from the day’s presentations. Guys, your real buddies won’t mind if you still have your work clothes on and a 5 o’clock shadow.
- Take something to a neighbor, a marginalized person, or someone else in need. If you don’t have money to go out and buy something, maybe you have something to share, or the skills to make what others need.
- Get online, and make a donation to an organization who will do good with it. Pray for God to bless the recipient just before you click “Send”.
- Buy or make a gift (or even a card) for a hard-working staff member at your church. Trust me, the complainers and dissenters are bombarding church leaders with what they think. See if you can cancel out a few of their messages, even if it’s only a quick e-mail or text.
- Write your ideas down and post them online – whether to encourage others, or to ask questions of those who can help. This is sometimes what I do.
Trust me, I’m not in a position to judge anyone. I can waste time with the best of us (believe me!). However, I have also found the blessing of occasionally redeeming those little bits of “found time”, and those minutes that might otherwise be “wasted” – turning them into an opportunity to make a difference (even a small one).
As a result, I write this article as a reminder to myself, to look for ways to make the best use of the time I have here on earth. I hope that – if you haven’t already mastered this skill – you’ll join me in this quest. (And, if you have gotten good at using your life to make a difference, won’t you post your suggestions in the comments, below?)
- What Does Washing Feet Look Like Today?
- Where Is the Church?
- [The] Word with Friends
- Corpus Christi, Part 2
- That is, when this article was started, which probably won’t be when it is actually posted. ↩