By Greg Quinn

November 8th, 2017

We each have 24 hours per day. That's all we get. Time is the great equalizer. No matter how rich or poor, the color of your skin, what you do, or how old or how young you are, we all have the same amount of time each day. 24 hours. 1440 minutes. So it's not so much of how much time we have, but what we do with it that makes the difference.

We all live busy lives it seems. We spend so much time in things that make little difference in our lives. 

We spend so much time making a living that we don't have a life. We spend so much time working that we no longer have time to play. We enjoy things of convenience so much that they take over much of our time.

And for what purpose? When we die, we leave it all behind. Almost all of it. We leave all our possessions, we take with us our eternal rewards (but that's another message). I've never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse.

Many of the things that are here today to give us more time seem to be some of the biggest time-wasters we have. I don't do Facebook or Twitter because they can become so time consuming. And, everything on the Internet is forever. I know people that spend countless hours each day on Facebook, posting pictures no one cares to see, discussing vacations no one cares about sharing, and making comments they later wish they could take back. Their concern is how many "friends" or "likes" they have. What could be done more productively with this time if so much of it wasn't on Facebook trying to impress people we don't even really know?

What do you have that you cannot leave? What have you lost you cannot get back?

I personally spend too much time working. I always have. I learned at an early age that productivity was important, and not to waste time. I considered that to mean a saying I heard, "work as much as possible, do as well as you can, make as much money as you can, and then one day, when you are old, you can enjoy the benefits of your efforts". There are several big problems with that philosophy. For one, we don't know how much time we have; we may never get old. God doesn't promise us tomorrow. Two, what do we sacrifice each day that we spend all our time working? What relationships have we sacrificed to make a buck? Three, when we get "old", we may not have the health to enjoy anything. Four, have you considered what is the "most important"; is it really to work as hard as you can, make as much as you can?

My brother Jeff is sick. Jeff and I fought all our childhood. We found anything we could to fight about. We even had our Dad make us fight before to try and escalate the end of the feud. We fought all the time. However, now that we are older, we appreciate each other and wish we had those days back to enjoy each other more instead of fighting all the time. But yesterday is gone. And we fear our time tomorrow is short. Wasted time; wasted opportunities. Boge and I kid Jeff about who gets what guns when he is gone. But the reality is, we'd rather have Jeff around than all the guns in the world. Time makes us review our priorities.

What a difference a moment makes.

James 4:14
14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

What do you really have that you cannot leave? Is there any possession you have that is so valuable that you would be lost without it? I didn't think so.

But, on the other hand, what have you lost that you cannot get back? Wow; this is a list! All of us, if we are honest with ourselves, could write a long list here.

I lost relationships with family because I worked too much. I lost time with my son because I was gone too much traveling for work. I spent more time cultivating promotions on my job than I did cultivating a relationship with my wife. I missed opportunities to be a blessing to others while chasing the almighty dollar. I spent too much time focusing on things of too little importance. The things I thought I "had to do" I really didn't have to do at all. I lost things I can never get back. 

What a difference a moment makes.

What is really the most value to you? The old mint High-Wall rifle? Your new Ford pickup? Your house? Your farm? The Purdy side-by-side? Your church? The old Colt SAA? Your family? Your health? Your tractor?

What have you lost that you cannot get back? The previous moment. Yesterday. What a difference a moment makes.

The Bible is the best source out there to teach us how to value the things that are important. We take with us only the things of value into the next life. Our works are like gold, silver, and precious stones. We take with us into the next life other souls whose lives we have influenced to join us in heaven. We choose our neighbors in heaven. Everything else the Bible teaches us is burned up. wood, hay, and stubble. works of selfish ambition.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

The most valuable thing you own today is priceless and cannot be replicated. This moment.

What a difference a moment makes.

The thing of most value to you is what you waste the most. Time.

What a difference a moment makes.

When we are near the end, we don't ask for another dollar. We ask for another minute. On our deathbed, we don't regret wasted money, but we regret wasted time. We are sorrowful for wasted opportunities, not wasted riches.

How would we act differently if we realized the most valuable thing we possess is this very moment, and the ones that will come in the tomorrows of our lives? You don't know how many of these you will have, so shouldn't you live each one as if it were maybe your last?

Tim McGraw sings a song, "Live Like You Were Dying". While not theological, it does drive home a significant point.

So what is our take-away? What do we do now?

Once you realize that the most important thing you have is this moment and as many as you may have that follows it, you may choose to live your life differently. Laugh more. Love more. Enjoy the little things more. Spend more time with family. Spend your money more wisely. Reestablish the relationship with your spouse. Work enough but less. Shoot the guns you've worked to collect. Don't put off that hunting trip with a friend. Go to more car shows. Sit in the deer stand and enjoy God's nature. Play with your grandson. Enjoy fishing on a quiet pond. Be an example to others. Wake up each day with a "thank you, God" for being able to open your eyes and breathe another breath. Witness to others about God. Share your testimony. Make new friends. Don't waste so much time on social media. Lay down the cell phone. Smell the flowers. Enjoy the moment. Value each moment of your life as if it were your last.

What a difference a moment makes.

I recently participated in a funeral of a dear friend. We served together at Grace Baptist Church in Manchester Tennessee for a number of years. Brother Don Vance was probably the most goofy, predictable, gullible, funniest man that I have ever known. All of us, including the Pastor, Brother Frank Bell, spent many hours picking on Don and making fun of him. It would take a book to tell the stories of our exploits together. But through it all, he laughed, he had a good spirit, he loved us all. I had been telling Don for the past few years that I'd come back to church there and we'd revisit old times. But time came and went. I worked too much, traveled too much, other things came up that were more important. I kept planning to go. I didn't go. Until I got a call about his funeral. Then I went. At that moment, and since that time, I have regretted that I didn't go back and spend some more time with Brother Don. I just thought I'd have tomorrow.

What is it they say, "time waits for no man"? Or, to put it another way, what a difference a moment makes.

We should use our time to achieve things of eternal importance, instead of using things to value time.

Today, perhaps we should think about people who were important to us in our past. Is their importance based on what they gave you in physical monetary gifts, or is their importance based on what they gave you with their time? Perhaps this teaches us that, if someone else impacted our lives with the time they shared with us, shouldn't we do the same for others?

We have at this moment the most precious gift that we could experience here on earth. This moment in time. There was never one like it. There will never be another like it. It can never be replicated. There are no "mulligans" or "do-overs" on time. Once it is gone, it is gone. So, what are you going to do with this moment? With this day? With tomorrow?

I would suggest that you cherish each moment as a God-given gift. Use your time to bless the lives of others. Use your time to develop stronger relationships with others and with God. Use your time and other resources to point other people to God. Then, when your time on earth is over, you will reap rewards in Heaven that are so far beyond our imagination. Because what is valued in Heaven is not our money or possessions, but how we spend our time.

It doesn't matter what you've got. It matters what you give. You have this moment. Use it wisely. Use it as if your future depends on it. Because it does.

What a difference a moment makes.

Greg Quinn