from theDesk of…
by Dave Hudson, Lt. Colonel –
I love movie quotes; one of my favorites comes from the movie Tombstone. Wyatt Earp is saying goodbye to Doc Holliday, who is on his deathbed. Struggling to find the appropriate words, he simply says, “Thanks, Doc, for always being there.” What a strong statement! We see the value of the relationship and the importance of the friendship these two men had for one another.
We live in a world of demands, distractions and multiple priorities. It seems as though each time we accomplish a task, there are two more waiting to be done. Time, by far, has become our most precious commodity. We schedule, maneuver and use every time management tool we know, but there is still not enough time. Modern science has discovered many things; however, adding to the 24 hours allotted to each day has not been one of them.
To make things more challenging, we judge by others on how much is accomplished within those 24 hours. So we focus, grit our teeth and bear down to get the job done. Days are often summarized by the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland when he says, “I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!”
In our hurrying about to get the job done, if we are not careful, the people we encounter simply become one of our tasks that need accomplishing. The time given to our relationships becomes something to be checked off the to-do list. Rather than being there, we are anywhere else but there. How often have you been asked by someone, “How are you doing?” but they were not interested in your answer? How many times have you been in conversations when you were thinking about everything but what the person was saying? I am embarrassed to think of how often I am guilty of not being there.
One of the many things I admire so much about Jesus is that he never seemed to be in a hurry. He always made time for people. He never saw a person as a task to be accomplished—but someone to be valued. He always made time to be there. His name, Emmanuel, literally means, God with us. Though his actions, and even in his name, God teaches us the importance of being present and living in the moment.
Scripture is filled with examples of the importance of the ministry of presence. King David said, in Psalm 23, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are with me.” Moses, when giving final instructions to an intimidated Joshua, said, “Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”
Think back; who has had the most influence on your life? I am willing to bet that it is someone who spent time with you. They did not look at you as a check off a list, but as someone to be valued. They took a break from their busy schedule, and gave you some of their allotted 24 hours, and made you feel valued.
Allow me to be philosophical for a moment. I wonder at the end of life how many people regret not being able to accomplish more tasks; I think few. Rather, people toward the end of life, I believe, tend to regret neglected relationships. People wished that they had spent more time in relationships and practiced the ministry of presence.
As you go through your 24 hours today, I encourage you to take a moment, look and actually see those around you, and be there. Save yourself some future regrets and make a positive difference in someone.