Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Time Passes, No Matter What

Bethany Arrives Today
Our daughter arrives today to be with us for a week during Thanksgiving. It’s always special to have here back at home.

Precious Time
The following is an article written by Charles Reese of the Orlando Sentinel. I recommend it highly as very much worth your time.

Spending Your Precious Time Wisely
by Charles Reese

When each human being is born, God opens a checking account in their name and makes a single deposit. The currency is more valuable than gold or platinum. It’s TIME!

Now this celestial life account operates quite differently from human checking accounts. There is only one deposit. The account holder can draw on it, in fact that person must draw on it, but you cannot add to it. No deposits are allowed. No interest is paid.

The most intriguing thing about it is that we are never allowed to know the balance in our accounts! We can write checks on it until one day we are notified that our balance is zero and our account is closed.

Time also differs from human currency, like dollars. When we buy something with money, we can take it back and receive a refund. When we spend time there is no refund, no exchange or credit. Whatever we spend our time on, we are stuck with that credit or debit forever. The hours spent watching television, for example, cannot be reclaimed and relived. We have paid units of life for the view, and for better or worse that’s what we get—memories of sitcoms or ballgames.

Money can be invested and the earnings increase and grow. However, you can’t grow time and more time. It doesn’t matter what we do, we cannot increase the balance of our life’s account, no, not even by a single second. We can only draw it down. Even if we do nothing but sit in a corner and stare out a window, we are spending time units and drawing down our balance. Contrary to popular and profitable misconceptions, we cannot manage or save time. No matter what we do it flows away at the same steady, inexorable rate. All we can do is choose what activities we will pursue during the flow of our time units. We can control ourselves, but not God-given time.

Time units do share one thing in common with money. If we have one billion dollars, then money becomes insignificant. This psychological phenomenon has a name in economics 101, but I can’t recall it. It just means that the more we have of something, the less valuable each individual unit seems. And, “seems” is the key word here, because we are talking about perceptions, not reality.

When we are young and imagine that we have a large balance in our life account, then time doesn’t seem all that valuable. We perceive that we have so much of it, we don’t think twice about idling it away or even wish fretfully that it would pass more quickly.

It’s only later, when our account has been drawn down a good bit and when we have seen other people’s accounts closed, that in retrospect we sometimes regret the choices we have made in our lives.

The samurai, that stern warrior class that ruled Japan for centuries, had a solution for the problem of discounting the value of time. The samurai would begin his day meditating on his own death. He would even visualize all the ways he could die on that very day.

Now that may sound to you like a morbid thing to do, but it’s really a jolly good idea. This crazy materialistic world is obsessed with planning, whether it’s daily plans, weekly plans, five-year plans, or retirement plans. The tricky thing about plans is that they lead you to assume that you will be around to complete them, though in fact, at any given moment, we don’t know if the balance in our life account is five minutes or five years.

Visualizing our own death to start the day will clear away the false assumption that we have all the time in the world. It would help us appreciate the day we have. It would motivate us to decide what is really important TODAY and what isn’t.

It’s a vivid reminder that sharing money is far less generous than sharing time because money is replenishable, but time is not.

Funny thing is, children know this while most of us adults don’t.

Tennessee Granddaddy Says:
I hope you like that article on time. It made me think about those verses in Ecclesiastes:

7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.

7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

Quote of the Day
Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.
~E.P. Powell

Joke of the Day

An elderly man in North Carolina had owned a large farm for several years. He had a large pond in the back, fixed up really nice, along with some picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some apple and peach trees. The pond was properly shaped and fixed up for swimming when it was built.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over. He grabbed a five gallon bucket to bring back some fruit.

As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing. When he came closer, he realized it was a bunch of wild, young boys skinny-dipping in his pond. He made the boys aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end.

One of the boys shouted to him, "Hey, old man, we're going to swim in your pond whether you like it or not! You would have to call the police before we would come out."

The old man frowned and replied, "I didn't come down here to make you get out of the pond." Holding the bucket up he said, "I'm here to feed the alligator."

(Old men can think pretty fast.)

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