It will usually happen at least once a year, and if you’re fortunate to have several friends, it most likely will appear in the form of a two-word greeting that you hear several times on a single day: “Happy Birthday!”
Frank W. Boreham, an Aussie who died in 1959, had an interesting view on the significance of birthdays. He said, “Birthdays are mere records of time, not registers of distance. They tell me how long I have been on the road, not how far I have traveled.”
Boreham’s words are a challenge to live a life of dedication and discipline like the one Paul spoke of in I Corinthians 9:23-27:
Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
How much time has passed since you first met Jesus, and how far have you traveled in your Christian walk? If you’re still at the starting blocks, it’s time to start running. If you’ve stumbled along the way, it’s time to get up and go again.
I encourage you to make the most of your time as you “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).”
Quintus Horatius Flaccus was a poet who lived during the reign of Caesar Augustus, and he’s credited with saying: Exegi monumentum aere perennius. This phrase is found after the final poem in Horaces third book, and it means: I have made a monument more lasting than bronze.
Horace seems to have been pleased with his poetic powers and the many lines of lyrics he had written. Notoriety, however, begins to fade about as quickly as bronze starts to tarnish.
The words of Horace make me wonder: What in this world enjoys a life of longevity? Are there monumental moments that last beyond the tick of a clock?
The memory of some actions are more lasting than bronze, and I have this on good authority; Jesus confirms it: “By pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she has prepared Me for burial. I assure you: Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what Mary has done will also be told in memory of her (Matthew 26:6-13).”
The kind, compassion-filled, and sacrificial act of Mary was a monumental moment that’s been recounted a countless number of times. Notice what Mary did:
- She looked for an opportunity to honor Jesus (Mary recognized Jesus as Lord, but Judas saw Him as a ladder to help achieve his selfish ambitions).
- She gave of herself (To wipe the dusty and dirty feet of Jesus with her hair was an act of devotion and reverence).
- She paid the price (The ointment she used came from the Himalayan mountains and the cost was equal to the average man’s annual salary).
How do you use your moments in time to build monumental memories? Do the actions of Mary’s suggest why she anointed Jesus? Could it be that Mary wanted Jesus to know how much she valued Him?
Monumental moments are born when people perceive they are valued. As Solomon said, “Perfume and incense make the heart glad, but the sweetness of a friend is a fragrant forest (Proverbs 27:9).”
What can you do to sweeten the sense of value among you, your family, and your friends?
The craziness of March Madness was on full display this past week. Several upset-minded teams played the role of Cinderella as they danced their way to victory.
On Friday, the Panthers of Northern Iowa wore the silver sneakers and defeated the University of Texas with a dramatic half-court buzzer beater. On Sunday, however, the magic was gone and UNI lost to Texas A&M.
I’m not sure how many bible scholars play for UNI, but I do know they learned something about eternity—it never ends. With a 12-point lead and just 44 seconds left to play, UNI was already tasting victory.
Those final 44 seconds turned into an eternity of mishaps. With Matt Bohannon on the bench with a knee injury, UNI discovered the weak link in their lineup—no other player could fill his shoes.
The Panthers agonized for 44 seconds as Texas A&M intercepted one inbound pass after another, and their 12-point lead vanished. Evidently the Panthers Fairy God Mother had left the stadium 45 seconds earlier, and she wasn’t present when this Cinderella took a nasty fall.
The Panthers loss reminds us that a team is only as strong as its weakest link—the same is true for churches. This is why Paul encouraged Christians to help bear the burdens of fellow believer; to lift each other up in prayer; and to live a harmonious life in a coordinated effort to grow one another:
We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching and the jockeying of men who are expert in the craft presentation of lies. But we are meant to hold firmly to the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ, the head. For it is from the head that the whole body, as a harmonious structure knit together by the joints with which it is provided, grows by the proper functioning of individual parts to its full maturity in love (Ephesians 4:14-16 ~The Message).
As an individual part of the chain, are you properly functioning? If not, you just might be the weak link.
In January of 2015, Ford sold 54,370 trucks. According to estimates by Ford, the company will be able to build more than 700,000 F-150s annually through the combined production of the Dearborn and Kansas City factories.
This is good news, because the average American eats close to two truckloads of food each year. Based on the weight of the food, you will have to fill the bed of a ½ ton truck twice a year for every person living in your house.
Based on food consumption data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American will annually consume about:
- 630 pounds of milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream per year. Of this number, cheese accounts for about 31 pounds and ice cream for 17 pounds.
- 195 pounds of meat
- 250 eggs
- 200 pounds of wheat and other grains. Of this number, 53 pounds is bread.
- 280 pounds of fruit
- 428 pounds of vegetables.
There’s another truth about the eating habits of the average American—most have more concerne for what fills their plate than that which fills their soul. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
The “bread” from God is not measured by calories; it’s measured by the clock. Paul said to redeem the time and to, “be very careful how you live—not as unwise but as wise, redeeming the time, and taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil. For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is (Ephesians 5:15-17).
This is bread that’s needed by the truckload. How often do you backup to the Bible for a load of fresh bread, or do you back away and grow stale?
Time is an interesting commodity of life. While it doesn’t cost you anything, it’s still priceless. It’s something that you can use to your advantage, but you’ll never be able to own it. Time has a unique life cycle: As soon as it is born it dies, and once you lose it, you will never find it again.
Perhaps this is why Paul spoke to Christians at both Ephesus and Colossae about the importance of “redeeming the time” or as it says in The Voice: “Make the most of every living and breathing moment…”
Here are a couple of suggestions to help you make the most of life’s precious moments:
- Before you ever get out of bed, pledge to walk in step with God; and, pray: “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths (Psalm 25:4).”
- When you find yourself waiting in a line, line up your thoughts; and, pray: “Guide my steps in the ways of Your word, and do not let any sin control me (Psalm 119:133.”
- Whenever you check the time, take a second to check-in with God. Make Psalm 55:17 a habit: “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.”
It was Henry van Dyke who said: “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”
I say: “Time is just right when it’s justly redeemed for God’s glory.”
How focused is your focus? This might seem like a strange question, but it’s one that calls attention to a survey that considers a person’s attention span. Studies have found that the attention span of individuals has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to a mere 8 seconds in 2013.
Are you still focused? It has probably take you 8 to 10 seconds to read what I’ve written so far, so I want to make sure I have your attention before I hit you with this next finding: The attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds. That’s right, a goldfish has a longer attention span than most people.
There seems to be a correlation between the proliferation of external stimuli and the deterioration of an individual’s attention span. Cell phones, iPads, iPhones, big screen TVs and video games play a large in role in small spans of attention.
To make sure the Ephesians were giving appropriate consideration to his admonition, Paul encouraged them to: “Pay careful attention to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is (5:15-17).”
Can you stay focused for another 8 seconds and “pay careful attention” to 8 characteristics of a worthy walk (Romans 12:9-16)?
• Love without hypocrisy
• Abhor evil
• Cling to good
• Be kind
• Be fervent in spirit
• Rejoice in hope
• Be steadfast in prayer
• Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
If you live your life within the confines of a fishbowl, 9 seconds might be a healthy attention span. I suggest, however, that each of the 8 items above is worthy of more than just a goldfish’s concentration of 8 seconds. How about 10 seconds? Can you focus on each of them for 10 seconds a piece and consider their role in living the life defined as a “worthy walk?”
Give it a try—you’re better than a goldfish!