Full days


Imag­ine if you could go back in time and re­live any mo­ment in your life. What de­ci­sions would you make dif­fer­ently? What spe­cific mo­ments would you en­joy again? With whom would you spend more time?

I re­cently watched a movie called About Time, where the men

1 of a cer­tain fam­ily had the abil­ity to go back in time to cor­rect mis­takes or re­play mo­ments in their lives. I’m sure at times all of us wish we could have this abil­ity. We could right any wrongs, change un­wise de­ci­sions, or take our prover­bial foot out of our mouth when we had said or done some­thing awk­ward. We could also learn more about in­ter­est­ing peo­ple and top­ics and have mul­ti­ple tries to find out what works and what doesn’t.

Un­for­tu­nately, we only get one chance to live through each day, and some­times we for­get how price­less each day is. We al­low the daily prob­lems and stress to crowd out the won­der­ful bless­ings we have—friend­ships, fam­ily, ex­pe­ri­ences, and the fact that we’re cre­at­ing mem­o­ries we can keep for­ever.

Of­ten, what we value is a mat­ter of per­spec­tive. Lake Vic­to­ria in Uganda is a big, beau­ti­ful fresh­wa­ter lake that flows into the Nile River. My fam­ily, friends, and I have gone swim­ming, boat­ing, and jet ski­ing there. Since water in Uganda is abun­dant, the soil is very rich, and fruit and veg­eta­bles grow wild. Some friends of ours were from Libya, where petrol costs less than water. They said that if you drove a scooter in Libya, you could fill up for free, as pay­ment for such a small amount of petrol wasn’t even worth the pa­per and ink for the re­ceipt. How­ever, a sup­ply of fresh water like Lake Vic­to­ria as­tounded them. To them, water was worth far more than petrol!

They won­dered why Uganda wasn’t a richer coun­try with mas­sive agri­cul­tural ex­ports in place. The fact is, Ugan­dans have all they need and aren’t all that mo­ti­vated to find ways to grow even more for ex­por­ta­tion. They don’t even need to stock food for a long win­ter, as they en­joy sum­mer weather all year round.

We of­ten don’t ap­pre­ci­ate some­thing when it’s al­ways avail­able or when we have an abun­dance of it. For many of us, things like elec­tric­ity or run­ning water can be so com­mon that it’s hard to imag­ine spend­ing even a few hours with­out it, much less longer!

This re­flec­tion made me think about time. It’s some­thing you don’t re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate un­til you don’t have any. It’s when work or life crowd our sched­ule, or when sick­ness or ac­ci­dents threaten to take our life away com­pletely that we fi­nally pay at­ten­tion to how pre­cious our time here is.

In About Time, the fa­ther ad­vises his son to live ev­ery day twice. He sug­gests that he live it the first time with all the ten­sion and wor­ries that stop him from notic­ing how sweet the world could be, and the sec­ond time tak­ing time to stop and no­tice—to love the peo­ple around him and en­joy all the beau­ti­ful things.

Of course, we don’t have the lux­ury of trav­el­ing back in time, but we can live each day the first time around as if we had cho­sen to come back and make note of all the won­der­ful things in it.

I don’t know who orig­i­nally came up with the fol­low­ing anal­ogy, but it’s a great re­minder of how valu­able our time on earth is. Sup­pose your bank ac­count was cred­ited $86,400 ev­ery day, but with the catch that you couldn’t save any of this money. Ev­ery evening, the bank would can­cel what­ever part of that amount you had failed to use dur­ing the day.

The fact of the mat­ter is that ev­ery morn­ing, we’re cred­ited with 86,400 sec­onds, 1,440 min­utes, or 24 hours. Ev­ery night, the bank of time writes off as lost what­ever time you failed to in­vest. It car­ries no bal­ances. It al­lows no over­drafts. Each day, the bank of time opens a new ac­count with you, and each night, it burns up the records of the day. If you fail to use the day’s de­posit, you must take the loss.

You might think: I’ll take 86,400 in cur­rency rather than in sec­onds, please. But how valu­able do you think that money would be if you’ve got no time to spend it?

Je­sus told a short story about a rich fool who stored up all his wealth in barns, and when they couldn’t hold any more, he de­cided to build big­ger barns to keep it all for him­self. It so hap­pened that he died that very night and re­al­ized he couldn’t take any­thing with him!

2 As Mother Teresa said, “Yes­ter­day is gone. To­mor­row has not yet come. We have only to­day. Let us be­gin.”

Teach us to use wisely all the time we have. —Psalm 90:12 CEV

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