Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Next Time"

“Next time when I go through high school, I’ll take advantage of that opportunity.”

“Next time I’m a college freshman, I’ll lay a better groundwork of study habits.”

One problem with those thoughts – there’s not going to be a next time. As a new 21-year-old, I’ve passed that phase of life…and I won’t be going through it again. Nevertheless, the number of times I think to myself “next time around, I’ll get it right,” is rather amusing. I keep remembering after I’ve thought it that my high school/childhood days are over – there is no going back to do it again.

No, I don’t think those thoughts because I believe in some sort of re-incarnation. It’s just that I have this idea in the back of my head that I’ll get another chance at life…that I’ll be able to change how I’ve lived. But life doesn’t work that way.

The thought popped into my head today. As I reflected on this silly tendency, I realized that if nothing else it’s a great reminder of the importance of stewardship. It’s true – we only get once opportunity to live our lives. Once a minute is gone, it’s gone. We’ll never get back that hour, week, month. Every moment is a precious commodity that doesn’t come with a second chance.

I struggle with the practical application of this concept sometimes. There are times I want to kick back and doing something mindless for recreation – watch a show from my favorite TV series, play a little computer game, read a fictional book for fun. But at other times I can’t help but question the wisdom of doing that – that’s two hours I wasted on something with no eternal value whatsoever…and the time slipped away so fast.

I don’t believe we always have to do something that’s considered “spiritual” like read the Bible, sing worship songs, or pray. But it’s also important to remember that we can never get back those moments we spend on more trivial matters. Once they are used, they’re gone – forever.

But there is an available next time…“Next time I have a free evening, I’ll choose to call a friend instead of staring at my computer screen.” “Next time I have 30 minutes between meetings I’ll get ahead on my homework so I don’t have to freak out as much.” Those are the moments we still have control over – let’s choose to use them wisely.