I’ve been writing for a week now about goals, productivity and such. Wanna know the motivation behind my preoccupation with these subjects? It comes from the Bible. A couple of verses immediately come to mind.
The first reads, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalms 90:12, NIV). The word number means to give weight, or we might say to attach the correct value to. So the Psalmist is saying that it is only when we realize the true value in each day of life that we begin to become wise in heart. Here’s that same verse in a couple of different translations.
Teach us to use wisely all the time we have (CEV).
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom (NLT).
I am also struck by Ephesians 5:15-16. “So then, be very careful [as opposed to “careless”]how you live. Don’t live like foolish people but like wise people [people who know how valuable life/time is]. Make the most of your opportunities [rather than taking them for granted or shrugging them off completely] because these are evil days [that will suck all the virtue out of our lives if we don’t take action by being proactive]” (GW).
Years ago, I saw Shindler’s List, a movie based on a true story about Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who lived during World War II and is credited with saving the lives of over 1000 Jews. In the beginning of the movie, Schindler is an opportunistic man who is driven by making money. He gains the favor of the powers that be and staffs his business with hard-working Jews (whom he does not have to pay). Because they are of use to Schindler, their lives are consequently spared. As the story unfolds, Schindler grows a conscience and begins to create jobs for more Jews in order to save their lives. Then he goes even beyond that and “purchases” Jews in order to save them. At the end of the movie, the tide has turned and Schindler himself is in danger of losing his life. The multitude of Jews who he has saved pool their very limited resources and craft a gold ring for him and present it to him as he is fleeing for his life. Here is a clip from the movie as they are presenting him the ring (please watch!):
As I watch Schindler’s reaction, I am deeply moved by his statement, “I could have done more…” I have a feeling that we may all feel that way when we stand before God one day. That is what I think of when I read the verse, “…be very careful how you live… Make the most of your opportunities…” Redeem the time.