I first heard the term “burning daylight” in the movie “The Cowboy's” with John Wayne. I understood what it meant then and I do now, however I now see the concept of “wasting time” in a new spectrum.
So much is happening today, it is easy to get distracted. Recently I wasted far too much time and effort writing an answer to some idiot in Massachusetts who wants to ban all semiautomatic firearms using a recent shooting in Virginia Beach, VA as an excuse. No, I will not reference these things in more detail because it is all a total waste of time. THAT is my point!
At this writing there is so much static in the air it is almost to thick to cut, much less see or hear through. The “Russian thing” hovers still. Meanwhile China, Russia, Iran and who knows who else is on the table for war. Our borders are a joke. Our elections are laughable. If that is not enough, every day brings a new “crisis” to light. None of this is worth a second – or even a first thought. What is worthy of your time?
Quite likely I just lost most of my audience. Some day they will wish they'd stuck around.
If you are still here good. Whether you need affirmation or are seeking something to set you above the fray – my prayer is the next few paragraphs will satisfy your hunger.
The short video linked here demonstrates zooming out from a point on earth to space.
Think of the starting point as all the things on your mind these days. As the entire earth comes into view – think of this as part – just part – of God's point of view. It is so easy for each of us to get wrapped up in our own little dramas but these pale in comparison to the big picture. Every story – EVERY story you see on the news, on the internet, at home, at the office is somebody's little drama. When we get zoned into one of these, we lose the big picture. So what's the big picture?
You may have realized I am getting on in years. While I'm not at “retirement age”, I can see it on the horizon. Much of my life on this earth is past. As it has been over two thousand years since my Lord Jesus the Messiah walked this earth, many lives lived here since then have passed. Yet in light of eternity – all of our lives combined are nothing. Eternity is that big. How do our little dramas compare? Hardly a droplet.
In light of all of this I've asked myself how can I make the best of the rest of my time on this earth? Certainly not working to ensure candidate X wins the next election. Saving the planet? Please. No, the best use of my remaining time here would be to offer as many people as I can the opportunity to gain eternal life. However even this “goal” is far too ambitious. The fact of the matter is – I need not offer anything to anybody. Here's the deal:
What you believe or do not believe is entirely up to you. It is not my nor anyone's “job” to daunt you, haunt you or persuade you to believe otherwise. It's just not. All I can do is hold forth – tell – the truth as I see and understand it. I'll be the first to admit I don't have it all down pat. After over forty years of learning and studying, I still learn something new every single day. What I can say is I've gained a perspective unique to me. This in and of itself is nothing special either. You could say the same thing about yourself or anybody for that matter. So... judge for yourself. Do my words have a ring of truth to them? Do I sometimes make sense?
As for myself, I have no idea how effective I can or will be. All I can do is resolve to open up – write and speak what I know and pray that what I say is blessed by my Heavenly Father. Without Him, I am nothing. I have nothing. I am worth less than nothing. Recently, I read something that brought clarity to a lot of things.
It was an old book about a man who bought a farm and began working it after reading and dreaming about it for years. His studies convinced him anyone could learn to grow things. In part, his theory was based on something we all know, but few of us give much thought to: a single seed will produce a significant amount of fruit – or grain or nuts, the principle is the same – we will call it all “fruit”.
Now I have a “brown thumb” as I cannot grow much of anything, but I can grow tomatoes and peppers with some regularity. My own issue is not so much as I am ignorant but I have difficulty paying attention to my plants. I get distracted easily and, by the time I turn back to them, they are lost. Thus, my failures are not the plant's fault but my own. Getting back to the main idea here, this principle of bearing fruit was laid out by Jesus in a parable:
Matthew 13:3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;
4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:
6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Notice the sower did not take great care with his sowing. He just tossed the seeds out there and some of them grew! Seriously, I can relate to this sower's style. He paid no attention to the quality of the ground. Apparently he didn't prepare it in any way. No mention was made of the quality of the seed itself. I doubt if farmers in that day gave it much thought. Nor was anything said about caring for the plants when the began to grow. Nothing is said about watering, nor about weeding. The fact that thorns choked some suggests no weeding was done. With all that some of that seed bore fruit! Back to my own example, even some of the plants I have tried to grow, while nearly dying from neglect, managed to grow some fruit.
So here I am, sowing what seed I can. Though I promise my “seed” is carefully selected so it is the best I can offer, I cannot guarantee perfection.
1 Corinthians 3:7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
Yet another reference to planting. In these verses a distinction is made between one who plants – not sows – and one who waters. However it is God who gives the increase in both cases. The “increase” is, of course, the fruit.
All of this is to say, I am resolved to ignore the little dramas presented to me every day. None of it is worth what little time I have left on this earth. Mind you, even if I've only lived half my life thus far – that half has gone far too fast. My desire is to make the most of whatever I have left to spend whether it be one hour or one hundred years.
This does not mean I plan on turning into one of those “in-your-face” relentless Christians. For one thing I do not think that is necessary, but most of all – it's not me. If my understanding of scripture is any indication, I can think of two figures in particular – Paul and Apollos. My sense is Apollos was a bold man – a “supersalesman” in a sense. It certainly takes a lot of strength of character to learn of the baptism of the Messiah and go forth spreading the word. On other other hand, I see Paul as more of an opportunist. He would follow procedures and seek out proper places to teach. Apollos would preach from a street corner whereas Paul would seek invite to the local synagogue. As for myself, while I have no problem speaking to groups, my own preference is via the written word or one on one.
In closing, I urge each one of you who has stayed with me this far to take stock. How are you “burning daylight”? This is not to say you need to spend every moment of your life speaking God's Word to someone. God gave us lives to enjoy His creation. By all means enjoy it. Meanwhile, consider all the little dramas that snare you every day. Are they worth your time? Are they worth your effort? If not, walk away. Praise God instead.