Prior to leaving home, it's not unusual to plan the details of trips to the city days or even weeks in advance to insure that you make the best use of your time.
This visit was no different. One day was spent with family casually enjoying meals together and walking through areas of the city we had not previously visited. The second day included a more extensive tour of the area and a professional basketball game. The third day was dedicated to visiting some of the most scenic parts of the city, taking in a play, dinner, and a movie. Of course, each outing has been documented with photographs and involved at least some time spent simply watching people.
It was during those walks through the city that I was reminded of these words of Jesus:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10, NIV).
As I sat in the middle of one of the most famous spots of the city, Times Square, enjoying the experience of a beautiful autumn day, I thanked God for the life He has given me, and I asked myself what makes this trip so special?
That is when I was reminded of at least three thoughts that had been floating around in my head that helped create fertile soil for this "abundant life" experience:
- There's so little time.
- There's so much to see and do.
- I may never have this same opportunity.
My pondering progressed as I considered how the quality of life in general might be improved if the same three attitudes that had dominated my thinking during this mini-vacation were applied to each new day. I have concluded that it would drastically change the way I live. It might do the same for you.
Suppose we start each new day telling ourselves, "There's so little time." We cannot waste time on things that do not matter. We must get busy with the things that do matter. We don't have time to waste with our "foolish and stupid arguments" (2 Timothy 2:23). We don't have time to waste making sure we get our way. We don't have time to waste worrying about all the things we cannot do anything about. We must stop waiting for that apology that may never come. There's so little time. It's time to enjoy what God has given us, enjoy His blessings, enjoy His creation, and enjoy each other.
"There's so much to see and do." God has created a wonderful world and He wants us to experience it, enjoy it, and marvel at it. "This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24 RSV). He wants us to keep our eyes open to what He is doing in us, around us, for us, about us, with us, and with those we know and love. He wants us to be busy with telling His story and sharing His glory. There is too much to see and do to sit around wishing we had something enjoyable to do. It's time to get busy.
"We may never have this same opportunity." There are some things that we do only once in our lifetime. Some conversations will take place only once. Encounters with some people will only happen one time. Many opportunities will pass our way only once. We will have only one opportunity to make a life-giving connection with some people. We will have only one opportunity to tell some people what God has done for us. We may have only one opportunity to ask certain people if they know God. The opportunities to be with our children and express our love for them, share our dreams for them, and help them develop their own vision for life, will come quickly and be gone. We may have only one opportunity to teach them to be kind, to be loving, to share, and to care for other people. It is true that we may never have this same opportunity again. We need to take advantage of it while we can. "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time ..." (Ephesians 4:15-16 RSV).
Today starts a new day, a new week, a new part of your life, and it gives us a new opportunity to live life to the fullest ... to live abundantly. Will you? There's so little time. There is so much to see and do. We may never have this opportunity again. Think it. Share it. Live it. Enjoy it.