By Martin E. Willoughby, Jr.
My family and I recently enjoyed some time off together on spring break. I confess that I don’t vacation easily. I lean towards being a workaholic, and it takes effort to simply relax and enjoy the moment. However, this was special time, as I knew that my days of having spring break with our immediate family were limited. With my oldest child, Ally, being a sophomore in high school, I knew that having family trips like this would be fewer and farther between.
When my wife Nicki and I were new parents, I remember an older couple encouraging us to savor our days with our children because it will be gone all too soon. While we knew their words to be true, we were knee deep in diapers and all that comes with being parents of young children. As time went by and our children grew older, we were encouraged to have a jar full of marbles that represented how many weekends we had with our children Ally (15), and Trey (10) before they went off to college. These and other reminders have taught me the value of a day.
Depending on your age and stage of life, sometimes life can creep by and other times it flies. The days and weeks blur into months and years. It leads one to ask the question, “Where has the time gone?” Moses gave us perspective in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I have read about people who calculate their life expectancy and have a clock running on their desk to show them the time they have left. While extreme, this points us to Moses’ wisdom in valuing the time we have.
It is easy to discard the value of a day. Think about the last time you reached into your wallet and pulled out a dollar and left it in a tip jar. It was likely not a make or break financial decision. However, if you reached into your wallet and all you had was a hundred dollar bill, you would likely think very carefully about whether to use that. Our days can easily be like dollar bills that we use without much thought.
Our days here on earth have purpose and meaning. For the Christian, this is not an extended vacation hanging out until heaven. While life is certainly to be enjoyed, we live in a world of spiritual warfare. There are life and death battles with eternal consequences going on all around us if our eyes are open. To live a life without regret requires that we take stock and value our days. The time we have with family members and friends is priceless. However, it is easy to lose sight of that in the mundane challenges that face us in life. I think that the evil one wants us to devalue our days. We are lulled into deferring the important things to “some day” or “one day.”
I used to buy into what I call the “deferred life” program. However, when I experienced the loss of many friends and family way before their time, I vowed to number my days and make the most of them. It is not easy. There is always the pressure of the tyranny of the urgent. How do we keep perspective? Perhaps we consider the saying, “You have to go slow in order to go fast.”
In order to make the most of our days, we can take the occasional time out and re-center ourselves in Christ in order to live a life of significance.