Imagine that tomorrow morning I deposit into your bank account $86,400. This money is all yours to do with as you please, no strings attached. Now, not only am I going to deposit this amount into your account tomorrow, I’m going to do the same thing every day next week. That is a combined $604,800 that will be waiting for you.
But I’m not finished. I’m going to make this daily deposit into your account every day for the next year (you are really using your imagination now). At the conclusion of twelve months you will have received more than $31.5 million. What if I told you that you have in your possession, today, something even more valuable than $31 million. I wonder if you would believe me. You see, every day that you awake to draw air into your lungs, you receive that deposit of sorts, though it’s not measured in dollars. It’s measured in seconds.
Every day contains 86,400 seconds; every week more than 600,000; and every year more than 31 million. They are yours to spend as you please. The only catch is this: When each day is over, and after each week passes, and when the calendar turns, your “funds” expire. They have to be spent with urgency, for tomorrow your account will reset. And because it will reset, and because we can only spend those precious seconds we have today, what we do with those seconds matters a great deal. We know this. No preacher behind a pulpit or columnist at a keyboard has to tell us this. Yet, maybe we do need to be reminded.
Because there is always the temptation, as Frederick Buechner said, “To believe that we have all the time in the world, whereas the truth of it is we do not…For each of us there comes a point of no return, a point from which we no longer have life enough left to go back and start over.”
We seemed to have celebrated New Year’s Day 2012 just last week. Now that year, with all its promise, joy, heartache, dread, and transition is gone. And before we can catch our breath from the race that was, we lurch forward into another January and another year. The real danger for us all is to come around twelve months from now and be exactly where we were twelve months ago.
Still stuck in a job we loathe. Still planning to take that big chance, or make that big move. Still at odds with the long-estranged loved one with whom we hope to one day reconcile. Still tripping over the same addiction, still trapped in that same poisonous relationship, still struck in the same soul-sucking routine.
Time is far too short to live like this, and deep in our hearts, we know it. We know that there is an unmerciful ruthlessness to time that demands we spend what we have – all we have – while today is still called today. Because today we still have opportunity. We still have time. We cannot, then, put off until tomorrow, next week, or next year what must and can only be done while there are still seconds in our banks.
The majestic Erma Bombeck, who cannot be improved upon, provides a summary on this point. She wrote, “I have learned that silver tarnishes when it isn’t used, perfume turns to alcohol, candles melt in the attic over the summer, and ideas that are saved for a dry week often become dated. When I am asked to give an accounting of my life to a higher court, it will be like this: ‘So, empty your pockets. What have you got left of your life? Any dreams that were unfulfilled? Any unused talent that we gave you when you were born that you still have left? Any unsaid compliments or bits of love that you haven’t spread around?’ And, I will answer, ‘I have nothing left to return. I spent everything you gave me. I’m as naked as the day I was born.’” Amen.
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.