Friday, August 01, 2008

Little Dash

“All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”--Gandalf from Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

How do we decide what to do with the time given to us? Far too often, we take the time given us for granted and behave as though we have all the time in the world to do the things we should do, and what we hope to do. Many times we are dealt a hand that leads us on a path we never thought we would take, or maybe even more correctly, a path we never wanted to take. So, the things we hoped for in life, dreamed of in life never happen, or sometimes begin and are ended for reasons we can not understand, and often find difficult to accept and live with. When our dreams are shattered, when the carpet is pulled out from under us we far too often have a hard time letting go and moving on. So, what do we do, and how do we cope?

We can take one of two paths when we are faced with obstacles in our life path. First, we can weep, and moan and groan, and throw ourselves one big pity party. We can sit and dwell on the past, feel sorry for ourselves, and convince ourselves to quit and give up, for if we have failed, what is the point of trying? I don’t recall who said it now, but, it is a great quote, “failure is not falling down. Failure is falling down and not trying to get up again”. When we fail, there is usually one reason we do fail, and that is our relying on ourselves and totally leaving God out of the picture. We begin to think of ourselves more and more, and rely on ourselves more and more, and too often, we forget that it is not we who are responsible for what we have and have become, but, it is God. We become responsible for who we are and what we have become when we leave God out altogether. That doesn’t mean we should just give God the credit when we have time or when we think of it, but, it means we should thank God each and every day, and even several times a day.

You say you are too busy? You don’t have the time? Why do you not have the time for God, when He has time for you every day, all day? When we don’t take time for God, then what we are saying is, that we and our self centeredness are more important than God is. We have forgotten the formula for a happy, complete, and total life. That formula is to always place God first, others second, and ourselves last. When we place ourselves first, before God and before our brothers and sisters, then we are not making wise use of the time given to us. We are throwing away the time and the life that God has given us, and we are wasting our time and our life by worshipping at the altar of self and self indulgence. When we place ourselves first, when we become more important than God, when we become more important than our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors and our friends, then in essence, we have made ourselves god.

I am reminded of a true story related to me by a man who frequents the neighborhood store where I once worked. He was telling me how his church was cleaning up around the church cemetery, and he and his three sons were helping in the project. His youngest son is nine years old, and he was amazed at some of the dates on the various headstones and monuments. His father was explaining to him that the church had been there a long time, so there would be a lot of dates from long ago. The boy stood there looking at one of the old headstones, and said to his taken aback father, “but, you know dad, the important part is not when someone is born or when they died. The important part is that little dash in between”.

So, what are we…you and I…going to do with “that little dash in between”? Do we work for God and for others, or do we wallow in self-pity, selfishness, and indifference? I think I want my “little dash” to have meant something. How about you?

© Copyright 2008 Steve Smith. All rights reserved.


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