Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, the end of the summer and the beginning of another school year… time flies. Time… the one gift we all have in common… the one thing we all have equal amounts given to us. Time… we have all that we are going to ever get but something we never seem to have enough of. The Word of God exhorts us to redeem the time. We should be good stewards of all our resources especially our time. Once we spend our time, it is gone forever. We can not count on tomorrow. It may never come. We are to look to each day and make wise use of the time that God has now given us.
As these thoughts come to mind, I am fully aware of how much time I waste every day, every hour, every moment. How much time do I spend in prayer? How much time do I spend in the Word? How much time do I spend with those I love? How much time do I spend in front of the television, play computer games, read the newspaper, or waste away.
I have been extremely discouraged lately, it seems I never have “enough time” to get all the things done that I want to do. People just do not have “enough time” to give anymore. The truth is, we do have “enough time”. God has given us plenty of time. He has given us all the time that we will ever need. It comes down to priorities… do we use our time as God would have us? Ouch! Truth hurts! Bottom line… we all have “enough time”. It is how we choose to spend our time that shows us our hearts.
The issue of time was brought very close to my heart. My brother, Michael, was 26 years old and died in an accident in the mountains near Weaverville. My brother, Michael and I were very, very close. He had always struggled in his walk with the Lord. The week before his death, he came through Redding from Sacramento to visit. He was struggling again (here we go again, it seemed he was always struggling). He was very confused about the direction he should take in his life. He shared many personal, heart issues that, to my knowledge he had not shared with others. We played games and talked. Later, we listened to some of his favorite songs and then somehow the conversation turned to his reason for leaving Sacramento and why he was headed to Weaverville. He told me he did not know what he was going to do, but he knew one thing, he was going to get away from everything and everyone that was hounding him and seek God in prayer for answers.
The day before he died, he confessed his belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and he planned to go to church the next day. He died less than 24 hours later. Michael’s time on earth ended. Time, he did not know that he had so little time left — neither did I.
Up to this time, I had not experienced the death of a loved one yet, let alone the death of someone so very close and dear to my heart. With his death, God was a very real comfort to me. The Lord rekindled my passion and fire for to live a pure life pleasing to Him and to reflect the light of Christ in me. My deep passion and concern for lost or wandering souls deepened. Death is a reminder that we do not always have tomorrow. Death is a reminder that we need to always keep mindful to be faithful with the time we have and to redeem the time. When I last hugged my brother and told him I loved him… I did not know it was going to be the last time. I almost made excuses. His visit was unexpected. I was busy and had other plans. I thought, “I don’t have time.” That day I felt God’s urgency that I needed to take the time for my brother. Looking back, I am so glad I did. I almost missed a very precious moment and memory. I realize it was the Holy Spirit prompting me with the urgency and importance to drop all my plans. How many times, have I missed the Spirit’s quiet calls? I praise God that I did not miss that one. I had a chance to comfort and encourage my brother, tell him I loved him no matter what, I had a chance to put my arms around him and hug him — for the last time.
At the graveside services, the minister’s closing prayer had these words, “Thank you Lord for the gift of death”. I though to myself how morbid. He went on to say that the “gift of death” is a reminder to those of us who are alive that the time we have is a precious gift. Death reminds us to say, “I love you” to those we love and not put it off to tomorrow, for we may not have tomorrow. Death reminds us that “today is the day of salvation, now is the time”. How many people do I get a chance to comfort, encourage, or simply share a smile or a hug? How many times do I put off making a telephone call, or writing a letter, or saying those words of healing, hope and love to someone? Help me Lord to be obedient to your gently leading. Help me Lord, to take the time, to make the time, to redeem the time with everyone I meet.
(© August 1995 although first published in a local Christian newspaper, I have been reflecting on these thoughts again as April comes around once again. The month of my brother’s birthday. He would have been 42 years old and though “time” has eased some of the sharpness of the pain… I still find myself missing him, grieving him and I am once again reminded of the importance of family, friends and taking the time.)