Is it just me, or does life seem to speed up? The older I get, the faster my days seem to slip through my fingers. Add to that the fast-paced lifestyle of the Western world, and we’ve created the perfect storm of stress, worry, hurry, and meaningless activities. We focus so much on tomorrow and what we need to do to get there, that we forget to live “in the moment”. Before we know it, we look back with regret at lost years and missed opportunities.
The timeless truth of the Bible prompts us to pause and reprioritize:
Ephesians 5:15-17: Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Colossians 4:5-6: Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Solomon, at the end of his life, realizing the meaninglessness of the dreams he chased, and the regretful choices he made, stated in his book, Ecclesiastes:
Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun. (Eccl. 9:9)
Why do we have such a hard time slowing down and focusing on what’s truly important? In our daily rat race, we tend to be no different than the priest and the Levite in Jesus’ story, who walked right past the man who was attacked and beaten by robbers on the way to Jericho and left for dead (and whom the Good Samaritan saved). They were in a hurry, they had more important things to do, they didn’t want to “dirty” themselves with the messy task of helping someone in desperate need, and they chose to stay in their own self-centered world instead of finding meaning beyond themselves. Instead of slowing down and “living in the moment”. Instead of “making the most of every opportunity”.
We get so caught up in our little world that we forget to think about what’s truly important. We start taking for granted the loved ones, friends, jobs, and conveniences, and we fail to meet every minute of the day with gratitude and intentionality. We often don’t even think about all the blessings and wonderful people God has placed into our lives, until we no longer have them. We have a tendency to ignore, or even complain about things, situations, or people – until God takes them away. Then, in hindsight, we regret not giving them more attention, not living more intentionally. I think we can all look back at our lives and cringe at some foolish choices we’ve made, opportunities we’ve missed, bridges we’ve burned.
According to the Bible, making the most of every opportunity, and knowing what the Lord’s will is, is considered “wise”. Especially toward those who do not know Jesus personally. According to the Bible, we are also encouraged to slow down and enjoy the people God has placed into our lives. And according to Jesus, He wants to give us “abundant life” (John 10:10), a life so bursting full of joy and fulfillment that it overflows and floods the lives of everyone around us.
May we stop and refocus our lives on what’s truly important. May we live wisely, always making the most of every opportunity, becoming “rivers of living water” to those around us (John 7:38), so we can glorify God through the choices we make, and so we can look back at our lives without regret.