Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Not squandering life (2 Corinthians 6:1)

SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 6:1 (TM)
Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don't squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us.

I love the story about the mom & dad with a son who was a freshman in college. He blew off his freshman year. He wasn’t very responsible, didn’t make good grades, squandered his money, & finally came back home. His parents told him, “If you go back to school you’ll have to pay your own way.”

So he had to work that summer & not go on the family vacation. That was part of his punishment. The family went to Greece that year & the mom sent him a postcard, “Dear Son,” she wrote. “Today we stood on the mountains where ancient Spartan women sacrificed their defective children. Wish you were here.”

There are two extremes on the squander scale – one is where the person is simply wasting away their life by pursuing matters of a trifle nature; at the other extreme is the person who so tightly manages their time that they don’t have any time to simply enjoy the things of this life. Neither of these extremes is healthy.

Majoring in the minor stuff of life is way to easy… it is the path of least resistance… and highly addictive. Computer games and mindless television programs are but two that come quickly to mind. On the other hand, trying to major only on the major issues of life can be wrong as well. Ron, a civil engineer, was so time management sensitive that he monitored how he spent every 5-minute segment of his life… a little two tightly wound if you ask me and he was my brother!

The Rev. Dr. Ernie Smith stands as my shining example of someone who didn’t squander his life. A small example from his life, I asked Ernie what book he was presently reading. He laughed and shared, “Well, Jimmy, it depends were I am sitting. I have a book on my office desk. I have a book in my briefcase for when I travel. I have a book on my nightstand. I have a book in the family room. At the present time I have about 15 books in the process of being read. There is a book within reach no matter where I am sitting.”

Dr. Smith thought the mind too precious to squander on ideal stuff. He died before the advent of the Internet and 900 TV channels… and way before the Kindle. I wander how he would have reacted to all this stuff that is available to lure us into squandering our life. He probably would have loved the Kindle, but he didn’t like carrying things in his hands. He wanted his hands free to help people around him. “Besides,” he said while watching me play with our son, “you cannot hung your kids or touch others if you have something in your hands.” He was a great hugger!

The other individual is a prolific religious leader and writer. His office doesn’t have a chair in it. “Too tempting to simply sit down and waste time.” He was standing at his desk before that idea became popular. When asked why, he responded: “Much quicker to get to my library (which was massive) when I am writing. Besides it keeps the mind alert and the body in shape.” Oh, by the way, he did take time to enjoy basketball. He loved basketball as much as my Florida bishop loves baseball. He shared once, “After all I do have Duke basketball to cheer for.”

Having a hobby or a pastime activity is important. It is called the rhythm of life. Ron did have a pastime once, sailing, but over time his time management style got the best of him until sailing became a distant memory and his life became work focused. He did enjoy watching his sons play sports, but that too faded away as he drove himself to accomplish things in his field.

God has given us a precious life. He has populated it with precious people. He has placed in our hands precious resources. And he expects us to manage it all well… not squandering one moment of it.

Gracious God help me to live this life while I am still alive!

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