After a full morning of errand-running and busyness, the resulting bags and boxes hauled inside from the trunk of my car, I plop my purse down on the kitchen table, push aside this morning’s cold half-cup of coffee, and ease myself down into a chair. Taking a deep breath, I relish a much-needed reprieve from the rush. I retrieve my cell phone from my open purse, meaning to text my daughter. Said purse, tips over, resulting in a cascade of receipts that falls to the table: artifacts of where I’ve been for the morning, what I’ve spent my resources on.
What a lineup, these papers. My receipts that show the path I’ve traveled, the places I’ve stopped, the usefulness of my outing. One of my receipts shows I’ve bought food for my family, one shows a trip to Target. Maybe a few not-totally necessary purchases there. I browse through the pile. Hmmm. Practical stops are more prevalent that Starbucks breaks, so that’s good. This crumpled collection of paper outlines my spending: what’s of value and what isn’t, what will benefit my home, myself, my family, vs. the frivolous things I could be spending money on. It’s a paper trail, quite literally.
What if life was like that? What if each activity I did during the course of my morning, my day, my week, my life came with a receipt? Something concrete I could look at to gauge how productive I’d been, what impact I had on my family and loved ones, how I used my words, how I reached out to people around me in Kroger. For me, I must admit that some day’s receipts would show the life-equivalent of hours spent buying and consuming cotton candy. Ugh. Scrolling through social media as my default time filler, bingeing on Netflix on a day I am perfectly capable of working in the house, writing, or having coffee with a friend: fluff. Spinning my wheels on a project, procrastinating when I should just get it done: empty. I cringe to think of the pile of receipts that I could be amassing, and what they would show about my life.
Here’s the thing. I get one shot at this life. So do you. And we get to choose how we spend ourselves, how we spend our time, our energy, our resources. Yes, many of us work full time, many have young families at home, many have both. I realize (as a gal who was in that boat not so long ago) that not all of our time is your own, but think about the time you DO have. God has made you steward of many things in this world. Time is a big one. God calls us to enact wisdom as we choose how to use our time.
Think about the receipts that would be generated by how you spend yourself. A tangible reminder like that would definitely make me pause and think about the more God-honoring use of my most precious resource.
Take inventory of your hours. Where are your spending yourself? Your time? Your resources? What will be on the pile of receipts that cascade out of your purse at the end of the day? Make sure it’s worthwhile.
What would my receipts show? What would yours show? Are we redeeming our time? Are we using it the best way?
So teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
Conduct yourself with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Colossians 4:5
“Dost thou love life? Then to not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” -Benjamin Franklin