You know what really annoys me?
People who waste my time.
Like that driver who goes ten under the speed limit. Or the dentist who continues chatting with another patient thirty minutes in to my appointment. Sometimes (okay, most of the time), it’s my own family. How long, O Lord, am I going to have to stand by the door while my children search for their shoes and coats?
I know the psalmists were talking about more serious matters when they asked, “How long?” I don’t mean to make light of their pain. Too many things waste whole years, even decades, of our lives. Why do people get stuck working jobs that don’t use their full potential or living in places they don’t like? Why do they get stuck in marriages that are more harmful than helpful and where they give away their “best years” to someone who doesn’t really love them the way You do? Why do we get stuck in patterns of sin we can’t seem to shake? It all wastes so much time!
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:13-17, ESV)
You mean to tell me it’s arrogant to think my time belongs to me? It’s boasting to think my own plans are better than Yours? It’s making myself out to be overly important when I act like those years of my life were more than a vanishing mist?
To be honest, Jesus, that doesn’t sound very nice. You can’t possibly know what it’s like to have your time wasted like that.
Okay, I know…except for that time you just sat by a well, waiting, so that you could minister to a Samaritan woman even though you were tired and hungry…and that time you waited around for two whole days after you heard Lazarus was ill so that God’s true glory would be seen… and that time you stepped out of heaven for thirty-plus years so You could save us from our sins.
But You were doing God the Father’s work! You were busy serving Him! Your time on earth doesn’t even remotely seem like a waste. Of course, you did spend three decades growing and preparing for those three years of amazing ministry...
I think I get the point. Not every year is meant for trading and making a profit. Not every year is even meant for performing amazing acts of service. Maybe 2019 will be one of those years. Or maybe it will be a year of exciting projects and new beginnings.
It really doesn’t matter, does it? As long as it’s your year and your time, it can’t be wasted.
Jesus, Your days were written in Your Father’s book: “When Christ came into the world, he said…, ‘Behold I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” (Hebrews 10:5, 7, ESV)
And my days are in that same book: “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me.” (Psalm 139:16, ESV, emphasis added)
I want to do Your will, Jesus, even if it means seeing You in the time I thought was wasted.
Even if it means standing by the door waiting for that last shoe.
How has Jesus used time that seemed wasted in your life? Leave a comment below!
Know someone who would be encouraged by this? Please share!
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