It’s about time
by Paul Bollwahn, Lt. Colonel –
I learned recently that a “typical” 35-year-old will have 500 discretionary days on average to “live” as s/he pleases. That is, if one takes away time spent for eating, sleeping, working, community and necessary life transactions, the time left is available to spend at one’s own discretion. Five hundred days is rather short indeed for one to accomplish personal goals (that is only 12,000 hours). “Lord, teach us to number our days and apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:1-4, 10, 12).
Isn’t it awesome, on the other hand, to realize that time has been allotted to us to accommodate our making a difference. With proper preparation, life need not be long to accomplish “life changing” influence. Jesus’ ministry, making a world of difference and impacting the remaining future of humankind, was a little over three years—even counting his discourse as a 12-year-old.
It might be that some sense of awareness of these “discretionary” days is intimidating. This may give rise to a myth that stifles many an idealistic young person—that is, to impact the world, I must be completely learned and experienced. Jesus’ ministry taught us that we impact our world every day in many ways. Granted, we are of greater impact some days than others. But, realizing that time, as God’s word describes, “is but a vapor,” we are challenged to use every opportunity for good. We must not allow pettiness, short-term gratification or cheapness to eclipse our gifted inspiration that the world, our world, our neighborhood needs from us so intently. We are, “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). To someone that is important!
It is also myth that life cut short is without profound impact and that momentary connections are not momentously significant. God quantifies even the feeblest of our genuine efforts. He can expand the life impact of a transitory connection. As St. Paul instructed, one plants, another waters, and God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).
We are all accountable to our allotment of time. How we utilize our allotment makes the difference.
Isn’t it strange that princes and kings,
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
And common people like you and me
Are builders of eternity.
To each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, a book of rules;
And each must make, ere time is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.
– R.L. Sharpe