Thursday, December 6, 2007

The March of Time

I hate jokes about women who guard their exact ages like matters of national security, and I never intend to join that crowd. However, now that my body is sending subtle reminders the big 4-0 is only fifteen months away, there are a few items from the youth package I would rather like to have back: the endless stamina; the freedom to ignore "watch what you eat" and "exercise daily" warnings without obvious consequence; and most of all, the semiconscious delusion that this will continue forever, that your body will somehow be exempt from wearing out.

Some people refuse outright to let go of that hope--often to their own detriment. We've all heard of--or known personally--the forty-five-year-old who tries to recapture his youth by dressing in the latest teenage fashions or by deciding that "till death do us part" can make an exception for a new relationship that makes him feel twenty again. Less spectacular, but equally as sad in eventual retrospect, is the person who decides that the best way to deal with the passing of years is simply to ignore either the future ("there's plenty of time to do something significant") or the present ("I was dying to finish school.... I was dying to get married.... I was dying for a promotion.... I was dying to retire.... And now, I am dying--without ever having lived").

Such attitudes are certainly typical of immature youth. It's a rare person under thirty who gives serious attention to Paul's admonition, "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:15-16, NIV). Many of us never learn that lesson--none of us ever master it completely. How many opportunities to do good do we squander, because "I can do it later" or "I want to enjoy myself first" or "there are more important things to worry about right now"? But lost opportunities, like lost years, never return.

Not that we should waste the present grieving over the mistakes of the past--Christ's blood is sufficient for sins of omission as well. Nor, if we have passed our physical prime living for ourselves, should we conclude we are now useless for the Lord's work. If He had nothing left for us to do on earth, we would already be in heaven.

However old or young, frail or vigorous, you are at the moment--are you ready to start "making the most of every opportunity" now?

Tick-tock,
Tick-tock,
Ever forward moves the clock.
Minutes lost are gone forever;
Hours slide by, returning never.
Tick-tock,
Tick-tock,
Ever forward moves the clock.

Midnight,
Morning,
Days slip by with little warning.
Wasted weeks stretch into decades,
Leave life's chances strewn in wreckage.
Midnight,
Morning,
Days slip by with little warning.

Take heed,
Christian,
Turn your ear to God and listen.
"Use the time I give you wisely:
Squander it and you despise Me."
Take heed,
Christian,
Turn your ear to God and listen.

1 comment:

Mona said...

Great advice, and I love the poem!

Mona Follis