It’s a New Year – and a perfect time to consider just how we want to spend the time we have been given. And make no mistake, friends, time is a precious gift. As it turns out, in this lifetime, time is the only commodity that we can never recover – once it’s gone, there is no retreiving it. It is gone forever. When we hold that perspective on the value of time, the desire to make the most of it beomes a priority for many of us.
So, how is it possible to “make the most” of time? I think is has a lot to do with not wasting it; attempting to fill our days with significant accomplishments and forward progress towards stated goals. But does that mean we must fill in every moment of the day with productive activity? Does it mean that if we are not busy all of our waking hours, we are not valuing the irresplaceable, non-recoverable, once-in-a-lifetime gift of time? The answer to that is: Not necessarily!
While I agree with the notion that time is too precious to be wasted, the proper question to be addressed is, how do we define what “wasting time” really means? Is it a waste of time to rest when we are tired? Do we truly function at our optimum levels of productivity when we neglect to properly perform ‘self-care?’ One of the classes I took in seminary was titled “Avoiding Clergy Burnout.” The main focus of this class was self-care, presuming that without caring for self, there is a strong possibility that one would have nothing left to give to others; would not be in a place that it would be possibe to render care, when needed, to someone else.
It is much like the safety announcement on an airplane that says, “If the cabin pressure changes. . .put on your own mask first, before assisting others.” Clearly, there is a necessity to have strength, courage self-confidence and energy to be able to properly care for, aid, and assist another during their time of need.
And what is the sourse of all our strength? As Matt Maher, the composer of the song, “Lord, I Need You” says, the ‘need love’ that we all experience in our very souls is that love for God that comes out of the recognition that, in our most challenging, dark and desparate times of this life, it is essential that we come, at last, to that place of complete surrender to Him!
Now, is it just me – or do we all see the logic of this simple concept? – In our deepest times of need, it is God, and God alone, Who is our only source of comfort, strength, courage and hope for the immediate, urgent needs of this life, as well as for the long-term needs we all face on our journeys through this life – and our eternal life, when we leave this time and place.
God holds us all in His loving grasp, showing us the way to make the most of our precious gift of time. It begins with a yielding to His direction. Our challenge in valuing the time we have been given is to notice His grasp and to recall the message of the Gospel of what God has done for us and our total reliance on His love to save us.
C.S. Lewis in his book, “The Four Loves,” said there is a type of love that we never mature out of – and it’s called the ‘need love’ that is basically the love we have for God that comes out of our point of need. Recognizing this need, and that it is not something we will ever grow out of, is a bit uncomfortable for many of us in the 21st century American culture. We tend to place great importance on our self reliance and self sufficiency. Yet the freedom, hope and reassurance we gain in submitting to God’s control, more than makes up for our fear of what we only imagine we may lose if we release this notion that we need to rely on our own understanding – our own sufficiency.
God doesn’t need our surrender. We need to surrender as we acknowledge Him and receive His love – as we trust in Him alone! There is no greater way to prepare to receive the gift of a new year.
It is our prayer for you, that as you receive this gift and consider how to “make the most of it,” you will also accept the total need you have on the One Who has given you this gift – and seek to give to Him the gift of your complete surrender. . . And, by God’s will for you, have a blessed, joyful and peaceful. . . Happy New Year!