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Stepping Stones: Time Embezzles Purpose and Peace

Stepping Stones: Time Embezzles Purpose and Peace
November 19, 2011 Lighthouse Network

Transformational Thought

When I was directing a psychiatric unit in our community hospital, one of my responsibilities was to perform psychiatric consultations to other areas of the hospital. One time I was called to the ICU to help determine whether an older man was competent. He wanted to stop all treatment, and it seemed death would be only days away if treatment were stopped.

He was hooked up to so many machines, some keeping him alive … others taking measurements. There was one machine he watched frequently. After asking him why, he told me that it was the machine that monitored his heartbeat. I asked innocently what would happen if his heart stopped. The answer I expected was “An electrical shock triggers my heart to start beating again,” or “Nurses and doctors come running.” Instead, he said, “There’s a little speaker on the back of the machine and it will say ‘Good-bye.’”

While he was just trying to be funny, his comment affected me. It jolted me into the reality that his life was almost over … and that before I knew it, a speaker on the back of some machine would be telling me it’s time to say “Good-bye.”

In Psalm 90:12 Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days right, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Thinking and knowing that our days are truly numbered should help us keep an eternal perspective, which in turn should help us make decisions and choices ranked by eternal values.

Unfortunately, I am often surprised by how much time I invest in the minutiae of this life. I act as if the hours in a week are endless when I engage in some of these activities. Now, please hear me say, we all need some pursuits that are just in-the-moment, not necessarily of eternal impact, activities that refresh and entertain us. But, really look at the number of these activities compared to the most important ones, those that build our relationship with God and each other.

Satan certainly throws many distractions our way and the world system gets us thinking these distractions are more life-sustaining and fulfilling than the activities God wants us to pursue. Once in this trap, you might have to chew off a big part of yourself to save your soul. Our identity, purpose, peace, and joy get sucked out of us while we’re trapped.

Today, start keeping a journal or daytimer to document the activities of your day. Put a (+) next to activities that help you engage God or others in a positive way. Put a (–) if they keep you from engaging with God or others. Begin thinking about time as an embezzler, covertly sneaking in to steal days, weeks, and even years from you. Try to remember to use each day for your God as if it were your last … for all too soon the little speaker will say, “Good-bye.” Your decision, choose well.

Prayer
Dear God, I thank You, Father, for this day and every day of life You give me. I know that each day is a gift from You. Help me, Lord, to live with eternity always in view. I know sometimes the activities you have in my schedule seem burdensome or tiring to me. But strengthen me to see them as You do and to take part in them. By following Your will, I will be lifted up, and enjoy peace and fulfillment that are indescribable in a devotional. I pray in the name of the One who gave His every minute for mankind and me, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!

The Truth
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
James 4:14

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