Waste Not, Want Not
I was hit by a spiritual insight today while I was doing my morning “get ready for work the best you can before having your coffee” routine. Or maybe I was hallucinating, But when shaved, I used three times more shave cream that I have been using, but I used half of the normal amount of toothpaste. Why? Well, I’ve been almost out of shave cream for a while and had been hording it. Yesterday I went by Big Lots and bought a couple of big cans; I even splurged on Edge Gel rather than saving $1 on the store brand. But while I was there, I forgot to buy toothpaste so I'm still running low on the Colgate and in rationing mode on that. (Have you ever noticed that on toothpaste commercials they always put about half a tube on their brush and it’s always in a perfect giant squiggle? Why is that?) Here’s my insight. When you have plenty of something, you don’t mind wasting it. All the while I was shaving and brushing my teeth, I had the water running in the sink. Well, I need water for the 2.5 seconds it takes to rinse the razor or the toothbrush, but I often leave it running and waste a lot. Why? Key, it’s water! There’s plenty! But in some places in the world (and in our country), any rational person would not think to do that because there’s not plenty of water. I think I have plenty, so I waste some of it.
Why do you and I waste so much time? Maybe it’s because we think we have plenty! I saw a review of a video game for my iPhone that listed the genre as “time-waster!” They have a whole category of games made to waste time. You know, you pull and pull out your phone and suddenly an hour is gone? Do we really need that? Isn’t that what Facebook is for? We waste time because we think we have so much of it.
The Bible assures us that we don’t have time to waste. All kinds of texts remind us of this fact. James says that life is like a vapor, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (Jam 4:14). Job uses this fact to encourage God to act quickly, “Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath” (Job 7:7). The lament of the Psalmist was that “For my days vanish like smoke” (Psa 103:3). Maybe the classic statement of is in Psalm 39:4-5
Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.
We do not plenty of time, so we’d better not waste any! We’d better be using our time wisely to server God and to bless others. Before we know it, we will run out of time, and you can’t run to Big Lots and get more! Now excuse me while I run get some toothpaste. I might want to make some giant squiggles.