I hate making bad decisions! Like buying a car my son wanted that was a couple thousand dollars over my allotted budget just because he really wanted it. A year later he has a car his dad gave him that gets better fuel economy and I’m going to have to cut my losses. I hate that! I hate wasting anything. Especially money but food too. At the grocery store armed with a plan for the week, I buy food in good faith that it will be eaten. Then plans change. At the end of the week, I’m throwing away perfectly good cucumbers, broccoli, or milk.
Money is time and time is money they say. I don’t like wasting time either. I want to soak in everyday. But the truth is, I do waste time. All the time. Or at least some would say so. I have a husband who has worked 7 days a week since I’ve known him. He has a start-up company and he has to in order to keep it afloat. Recently he’s been able to take some me-time out for himself and I know he feels just a little bit guilty for “wasting time.” I would argue and so would he when he’s in his right mind, that to spend quality time with people you love is not a waste. It’s an investment of a different kind. When you sit on the couch and watch television with someone you love you aren’t only giving them down-time to chill along side you but you are also rebooting your own jets. And everyone needs that to stay healthy.
Wasting time for me, is letting opportunities by that could have amounted to something good but because of laziness, distraction, and disinterest you stood to the side. I’m talking about intentionally choosing to bow out when with a little bit of effort you could have made a mark in something.
I’m watching the Olympics and I wonder how many times those athletes ask themselves if it’s worth it. The time, energy, money, loss of social interaction and sheer pain they’ve had to endure over their entire lives. I wonder too about missionaries who give up the comforts of home to travel to remote parts of the world to share the love of Jesus with other people, often at a risk of their own lives. Everybody makes choices with their time don’t they?
What kind of choices do you make? When you look back on the last 10 years of your life, what has been your mark on the world? How have you spent your time? Do you think to yourself, “What a waste?” Or do you relish the investment you’ve made?
What about when you look back to just the last week? What is your motivation? Why do you do what you do? You are there doing what you do because you are choosing it. Are you choosing wisely?
Work, family time, down-time, sleep. Within all of them except maybe sleep, are opportunities just waiting to happen. Each and every day.
I think we are put on this planet to affect other people. If our lives have impacted someone else’s for the better, then I think we are on the right track. You don’t have to win a gold medal. You don’t have to give up all your possessions. You just simply have to love other people the way God loves you. You have to give a piece of yourself to someone else so the world can be a better place.
Today I went to the grocery store and a man reached up to get a plastic bag for me in the produce section. I’m short and he saw I was struggling. Then he opened it for me with a smile as I put the vegetables in the bag and wished me a good day. He didn’t have to do that. But he made my day better. I also dropped by car off for the fifth time in a year. The car-shop owner recognized me and instead of the usual $100 estimate for diagnosis, I signed a $0 receipt and said, “Thanks a lot, I’m paying for a wedding and I’m hoping it’s not that much!” He said, “Wow, a wedding! Congratulations!” And he meant it.
We have opportunities to be nice to strangers everyday. Do we take them or waste them?
It made a big difference in my life today and they were such simple things. But they made me smile and think that people weren’t so terrible. They are just people, struggling through the day just like me. The produce guy didn’t know that I strained a chest muscle and have been on heat and ice for the past few days. The car guy didn’t know that I barely have enough money in my bank account to cover bills this month and I’ve dipped into my college-saving fund for reasons other than college. They didn’t know and I guess they didn’t need to know. They were just being nice. But I know. And it amazes me sometimes how good things can happen just when you need them.
I can’t deny that God is at work in the world today when I see His love even in the smallest things.
Love makes all the difference. If we are bitter, and angry, and Ebenezer-like we not only make lives harder for those around us, but our lives are less warm, full, and happy as well.
So why do you do what you do? Are you motivated by love? I sure hope so. Cause if you’re motivated by anything else I’m afraid you will look back and say, “What a waste.”