The Value Of Time
Our days are like beautiful summer fields which God gives to us. The minutes are blooming flowers and silvery blades of grass gently swaying to the rhythm of the breeze. The hours are trees with their rich foliage, or morning vines with their blossom-prophesies of rich color clusters. All are blessed possibilities of the days and hours and minutes which come to us by God’s own hand.
But what did you do with yesterday? What are you doing with your time today? Every moment God gives us has in it a possibility of beauty as well as something to be accounted for. Are you using your time for God?
The trouble with too many Christians is that they have become satisfied with themselves as they are. They have attained a small measure of peace, holiness, faith, joy, or knowledge of Christ, and no longer hunger for what is possible. But the ideal Christian life is one of insatiable thirst, of quenchless yearning, of divine discontent, courted by visions of new life, new joy, new attainments.
With all of the infinite possibilities of spiritual life spread out before you, do not settle for a little patch of dusty ground at the foot of some mountain, sitting their in restful content. Climb the mountain, and view creation from the summit.
We are apt to interpret “providence” according to our own desires. When we want to do a certain thing, it is very easy to find “providence” that favors our preference. We must be careful when interpreting the meaning of events. We are not to enter every door that is opened to us. Many doors are opened by the world which are not opportunities which God gives. God’s voice in providence never contradicts the voice of his word.
Whatever God calls us to we should cheerfully answer, “Yes, Lord, I am ready.” That is not hard to say when the path is easy, lined with flowers, and there are no mountains to climb. But sometimes the way leads through thorns, boulders block the road, and floods wash out bridges. Sometimes the road calls for sacrifice, or even bearing a cross. Still the answer is the same, “Yes, Lord, I am ready.”
We ought to be able to trust God even when our eyes can see no blessing or good in the way which he is taking us. Every path God places us on eventually will lead to a rich joy.
What Friends Do
We will never know how much we owe to our true friends - how much they add to our joy or what they do toward the formation and enrichment of our character. We do not know what beautiful touches on the canvass of our soul will be left there by the life of a friend. In every life there will be a silver thread woven into our fabric by the friendship over many days. How important are friends with good lives, otherwise the fabric of our life becomes stained and the threads soiled.
All days come to us filled with opportunities. There are opportunities for gaining knowledge. There are opportunities for growing in character, becoming stronger, truer, nobler, and more Christ-like. There are opportunities for doing heroic things for Christ, and for performing gentle ministries of love, sympathy, and kindness in Christ’s name.
Opportunities come to everyone, they come continually — during the most ordinary of days and in the most common of places. The problem is that too many people just watch as they pass by.
We should never keep track of who offends us and how often we forgive. When someone has hurt us, irritated or insulted us, we should remember that the wrongs we have done toward God are infinitely greater, and that his love has freely forgiven us. Should we not be willing to forgive those around us their petty little wrongs toward us?
“Forgive us our debts as we forgive…” God wants us always to remember that we ourselves need forgiveness, and that if we would be like him we must forgive as he does.
Leaving All To God
As we go through life we learn more and more to doubt our own wishing and choosing as we see how little really comes from our own ways and plans. We eventually learn not to try and choose, but let God do it. No doubt we often miss heavenly blessings because we do not have the faith to take them as they come disguised as pain or sorrow. Sometimes God even allows us to have what our willful selves want, just to teach us that our way is not the best. Then eventually we learn to simply thank God for being God, and not daring to ask for anything at all, rather accept what comes and be grateful that God thinks of us and knows who we are.
There is an old story about a man who was cheered for one hour each day when a stream of sunshine came into his prison cell. Using an old nail and a stone he found on the floor, he carved a crude image of Christ upon his cross where the sun would gently fall upon it. In this way he mastered his misfortune and made a blessing of it.
Whatever the calamity or the disaster that builds dungeon walls around your life, never let despair lay its chilly hand upon you. Never yield to the gloom. Never let darkness into your soul. There is no dungeon so deep and dark that down into its chilly gloom the rays of God’s love cannot stream. In those rays carve some new beauty on your soul. Carve on the wall of your heart the image of Christ. Master your misfortune and make it yield a blessing to you.
When calamity is conquered it becomes your helper, and leaves beauty on your soul. But when trouble masters you, it will leave an ineffaceable scar upon your life.
Think of all the magnificent powers God has put into your life. He has given you a mind to think, to reason, to imagine, to roam among the stars, to wander the boarders of infinity, and even to climb the stairs of faith to the gates of heaven. He has given you a heart to feel, to suffer, to rejoice, and to love. He has placed into your being the possibility for noble achievements and attaining difficult goals.
Isn’t it a shame that so many, born with so much, are content to spend life stuck wandering on the ground without ever reaching up?