Scott Pattison ~ The Gift of Time

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I find myself very thankful for many gifts and experiences this year. The one I find most intriguing, as I reflect, is the gift of time. It is something we all have. It is something we all can give. It is something that is wonderful to receive, as well as give. Yet it is something that can easily be taken from us, or that we can hoard. It is something we can squander, or something we can strategically invest.

As I age, I find myself wishing I had better invested my time in some areas, and so glad I invested in other areas. There is a part of me that would love to go back to the “younger me” and instruct myself as to how better invest the daily allotment of each 24 hours over this past half-century of life. Regardless of how I have spent, squandered, or invested my time, I still have the wonderful gift of this set of 24 hours. Regardless of how I spent “yesterday,” I still have today. I can waste today by regretting yesterday or yearning for tomorrow. I can spend the day selfishly on myself or investing in others. Even when people, like employers, regulate a section of our time, we still choose how we will use it. As a Christian, our relationship with God has placed a call on how we will use our time. Will we use it for ourselves, or for Kingdom purposes?

While we look to buy or make gifts to be wrapped and given this season, don’t forget that each day is a Christmas present. God created, Christ died and arose for our redemption, and the Holy Spirit sustains and empowers our lives, so that we may fully be who God created and redeemed us to be. Each day is given for us to unwrap. Some days will be wonderful gifts, others may seem like garbage wrapped in tinsel – but each day is our day to unwrap, invest, and grow in. I have found that when I talk with people who have been given a limited amount of time to live on planet earth, these moments become amazingly more precious than before the diagnosis. Nothing changed, but the filter “your time is limited” has now been added. I find that in those circumstances I adjust to embrace my time more carefully – until things (even good things) start stealing my time again.

As we come to the close of one year, and the start of another, I invite you to reflect on how you spend your gift of the 24 hours given afresh each morning. Some days will crawl with mind-numbing slowness, and others will zip with the speed of light (literally). Some days we will want to speed by, while others we wish we could slow, so that we could savor them a bit more. Yet, each day comes, and each second, minute, and hour pass at the same pace as yesterday. So how will you invest it? Who are you investing it with? To what end? Gayle Sayers (one of the best running backs in history) wrote a book entitled, “I Am Third.” That was his filter in investing his time as a Christian. Sayers’s credo is, “the Lord is first, my friends are second, and I am third.”

How will you unwrap your gift of time? Invest wisely, forgive yourself frequently, and enjoy the moments regularly!

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Rev. Scott Pattison is lead pastor of Trinity Church UM in Kendallville, Indiana.

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