BY LAURA OVERCASH |
J.R.R Tolkien wrote, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” His quote reminds me of a video that made its rounds on the Internet a few years back, The Time You Have In Jelly Beans.
In this powerful, two and a half minutes video, the average American lifespan is represented by 28,835 jellybeans. Time is slowly subtracted by category, one bean at a time. From sleeping, to working, to eating – life is clearly put into perceptive as the jellybeans vanish pretty quickly. Once all the standard life activities are deducted, only a small amount to time remains.
The average American could expect to live 78.6 years. However, life can end at any moment. The Bible tells us “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). God knows exactly when, where, and how we will die. God knows absolutely everything about us (Psalm 139:1-6).
So, what are you going to do with the time you have left? What if you only had one day left? As Christians, our time on earth should be used wisely by investing our time in the things we are called to do as believers. We should use our time and energy to pursue God’s purpose. We should be obedient, stay faithful, and renew our commitment to serve God each and every day.
There are so many ways to use our time for Him. As I outlined the content for this blog, I thought about ten different ways to share your faith in 30-seconds or what talents could you use to spend your time wisely. I even considered focusing on Jesus’ last day on earth and his extraordinary final ‘jellybean’.
It became clear, as I watched the blinking cursor on my computer screen – what do all these potential topics have in common – LOVE!!! “Love’ is an act that only takes a few moments to express. The Bible tells each of us are born with distinct talents and gifts that set us apart and one of those talents could be ‘love’. Jesus died on the cross because he ‘loved’ us.
God gave us the ability to love through him. We can be an example of his goodness, by loving everyone around us. We can love in so many ways with little to no effort whatsoever. We can love by investing a few moments in the people around us – talking to a friend that needs a listening ear, providing a hug to someone who needs a moment of comfort, sharing a meal with a person battling loneliness or just being a mentor to someone whose life God is working on.
Love is as easy as offering help where its needed – no matter how small, an act of kindness is never meaningless. All God-given talents are filled with opportunities to love. Cooking a meal, sewing a prayer quilt, planning a community outreach event, or just pinning a sentimental note on a get well soon card. Yes, some folks have talents that offer the ability to produce a physical product. However, many have the gift of prayer – the gift to talk to God one-on-one. Prayer is underrating as a talent, but it is oh so important. Lifting those up around you in prayer is a selfless unspoken act of love.
Love is investing in the people around you. It’s so easy to forget that church is not a building, but instead, is a church going out into the world and sharing God and his powerful, never-ending love with those around you. Investing in those around you is part of God’s plan. Friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances are all obvious groups of people you influence.
Never underestimate the love you can share with the woman sitting next to you on the airplane, the cashier at the pharmacy, the Fed-Ex delivery guy, or the receptionist at the doctor’s office. A short moment of interaction may be the only reason God placed you in their lives on a particular day. Each moment or encounter is another opportunity to help other connect (or possibly reconnect with God).
As John 15:12 says “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” And we are commanded to “Do everything in love” in 1 Corinthians 16:14. According to the New International Version, Accordance 6.9.2, the command “love one another” appears eleven times in the Bible, all in the New Testament.
Even if you only have one jellybean left – do something wonderful with it. Love intentionally, love for the Lord, and do all things in love.
About the Author
Laura Overcash is a member at Friedberg Moravian Church in Winston-Salem where she services on the Multimedia Team, Communication Team, and recently served as chair of the Board of Christian Education. She works as a Director of Marketing for a local orthodontic consulting firm. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband, traveling, blogging, and volunteering with many local non-profits.