“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” – Colossians 4: 2-6 (emphasis mine)
We’re getting closer to the weekend! Along with the recognition of this particular time of the week- there is usually a barrage of cheers, sighs of relief, and often-times hopes of laziness on many people’s part. Is that you? Do you see the end of the week (or any other day for that matter) as just another day to “get through” so that you can enjoy yourself or do you see it as another opportunity to grab onto something that you may have overlooked or simply ignored yesterday?
I don’t always feel like “seizing the day”. With 2 kids you never know what things will come up: colds, a 2 year old’s sporadic sleep schedule, soccer games, interruptions for discipline, usually ending with late nights trying to get too much accomplished. Spirits have a tendency to be a bit low when life steps in. Isn’t it amazing how much little things can influence our attitudes in the day-to-day; ex. sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, not drinking enough water, little aggravations, annoying situations, etc? This is life… there’s no denying it or trying to get around it- even as Christians, this stuff is going to happen and it’s going to affect our behavior (regardless of whether it should or not). Jesus does not expect us to be perfect- but he does expect us to give our ALL to Him and repent when we fall short of that goal.
It’s our job to do our best and take care of ourselves as well as the responsibilities we have so that we can take on the day with an attitude of grace and thankfulness. This is no easy task; take it from someone who has had an “attitude” since I was a toddler! However, I know that in order for me to live my days- and inevitably, my life- with no regrets, I have to realize that emotions are fleeting, sleep will come again, and it’s up to me how I live out today. My family depends greatly upon my heart and attitude- while the man has the responsibility of being the head of the home, the woman is most definitely the heart. I don’t want to feel bad tonight about how I chose to behave today simply because I have “good” excuses.
This translates into our lifespan as well- are we waking up each morning with the intent to serve, to love, to meet someone’s need, to show people how they can be saved? Are we living as though SOMEONE bought and paid for our very lives so that we can do His work? Are we showing the people around us what a believer in Christ really looks like in the way we carry and present ourselves to the world?
Read this short poem by Helen Hunt Jackson- who, lying on her sickbed, penned this letter of regret, only 4 days before her death:
The Brevity of Our Opportunity
Father, I scarcely dare to pray,
So clear I see, now it is done,
That I have wasted half my day,
and left my work but just begun.
So clear I see that things I thought,
Were right or harmless were a sin;
So clear I see that I have sought,
Unconscious, selfish aims to win.
So clear I see that I have hurt
The souls I might have help’d to save,
That I have slothful been, inert,
Deaf to the class Thy leaders gave.
In outskirts of Thy Kingdom vast,
Father, the humblest spot give me;
Set me the lowliest task Thou hast,
Let me repentant, work for Thee.
May we never have to look back over our lives and regret our lack of service to Christ. We will always regret mistakes made, opportunities missed, and relationships injured; we are human. Yet, Jesus forgave these things and so should we. I believe, however, that there would be a much greater level of regret if we choose to live this life in pleasure/success-seeking than in going about the work Jesus commanded us to do in response to His grace and forgiveness of our very souls.
Precious Father, Thank You for every opportunity that You give to us. You have given such grace simply by giving us another morning to wake up and do the work You’ve called us to. Forgive us where we’ve missed the mark and selfishly lived out our days, trying to attain something that was never meant for us. Help us always to seek Your will, to work by Your strength, and to keep a guard on our hearts and tongues that others will see You in us. We love You and praise You- live through us today. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.