The Riddle of Time

I have a riddle for you. What is more precious than gold but cannot be bought, earned, or saved?

Before answering, let me share with you the story of a nearly perfect day. This past Sunday was absolutely beautiful in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, moving from the high fifties as the sun came up to near eighty degrees and sunny by mid-afternoon. After waking up I took our two dogs for a long walk. Then I went to church and enjoyed a great sermon and worship service. Then we threw a kayak on our car and took the family to Lake Harriet (featured in the picture) and while my two kids kayaked, my wife Karin and I walked around the lake. We got back in time to watch the second-half of the Vikings game…and they won! After doing a few chores around the house, I took my daughter, a friend of hers, and our combined lot of three dogs to play fetch in and out of the currents of the St. Croix River. Then home for a supper of homemade pizza, a little reading, and bed.

As the day unfolded, I realized that having time makes all the difference between an impoverished and rich life. Actually, I realized that making time makes all the difference.

Truth be told, over the last year I can remember only a handful of days like this one. You see, I’m very fortunate in that I like to work, I’m goal-oriented, and I love what I do. All of which means that while I tend to get a lot done, it’s really easy for me to get so wrapped up in my work that I don’t make the time for the kind of perfect day we had on Sunday but that, quite frankly, is regularly available.

What I realized on Sunday is that time is the one thing that is so incredibly precious and yet can’t be bought, earned, or saved. It can only be received as a gift and spent wisely. We all get the same number of hours in a week. The question is simply how we spend them.

Not only that, but certain kinds of time – like the time spent with kids who are growing up way too fast – are limited. We have been in Minnesota now for twelve years, and that time feels like it has gone by in the blink of an eye. In less than half that time both our kids will be off to college and out of the house. So how many days like the one we had on Sunday are left to me? Actually, quite a few…if I spend my time wisely.

I’ve put this post in the category of “parenting” because that’s what I’m thinking about just now in relation to the time I have with my kids. But of course it could apply just as easily to spouses, partners, friends, parents, siblings, and all kind of other people who are special to us.

So what are your plans for the weekend? Odds are that with just a little thought and discipline, you could have a perfect day or two. All it takes is a willingness to receive the days ahead as gifts of God and spend them on the things that really matter.

Blessings on your efforts to do just that.