Have you ever sat through a movie you thought was horrible and then realized, ‘well, I just wasted a couple hours I’ll never get back’? We could each probably list a variety of things we have pursued in our lives that turned out to amount to a hill or beans or worse. Understanding that hindsight is 20/20, as you look back on your life, what things would you do differently realizing what you know now was worthwhile or wasn’t? I realized years ago that me playing video games was not very helpful for me or my family and ate away hours with unproductive screen time. Sure I thought it was fun when I was young, but I also realized that me winning a game didn’t help me or anyone else in my life, and destroyed hours of the day in these vain pursuits. I’m sure you could make a list of many other things you spent time on that amounted to nothing, but what would you have done instead, knowing what you know now?
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Did your parents or teachers ever ask you, ‘What are you going to do with your life?’ Maybe you had no idea at the time, or maybe you had unrealistic expectations to be a professional athlete when you were still learning the sport. You may have even had modest expectations, but often life takes you on a different path than you originally planned. There are countless stories of athletes, musicians, politicians, or other celebrities who were to be the next big thing, but never amounted to much or ruined their careers by making some poor choices. Many lives have been ruined because of alcohol, drugs, infidelity, greed, and countless others selfish acts. You may know or be related to some lesser known folks who had similar experiences of not living up to their own or others’ expectations. Should we disregard or count someone out who messed up, or didn’t live up to the perfect example we set for them? There are people in prison right now who got caught doing something wrong and are paying a price for it, but should any of them get a second chance? Have you ever been given multiple chances to get things right that you have messed up before? I know I have. We may not fully trust those with a certain history, but we shouldn’t always count them out either.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8
So, as we have seen all through scripture, God often (all but once) used imperfect people to bring about His will here in this world. The disciples all had their flaws and their inability to grasp the message right in front of them was likely a testament to Jesus’ patience with them. I’ve heard some people say so and so should become a christian because they have a great following or a unique platform to share. But how often do we disregard the future potential in all those right around us because of our own selfishness and inattention? Even if we have failed in some pursuits, we can still redeem the time we have left by using it to benefit others more than ourselves, aka loving others. When we put the needs of others before our own, we tend to waste less time on the things that don’t really matter. Sure we still make mistakes from time to time, but we should learn from them and move on to better things next time. Whether you are 8 or 80 years old, there is still time to make your life count for something more than what it has so far. I need to be reminded of that every so often.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16:25
Yours in Christ,