Life is full of “what if” moments–those moments when you stand back a look at a situation, whether good or bad, and imagine how things might have gone if you had done things differently. Without question, these moments are usually pointless, as they only serve to waste time and cause eventual depression. “What if” moments are not productive, unless, of course, you make them so.
A mere seven hours ago I drove towards the main building on campus, preparing to lead evening vespers, only to realize that I had left my Bible by the door at home. After apprehending it, I crossed paths with Sir Julien, who informed me that there was some anxious anticipation that I had not yet arrived inside. I made my way inside to hear the lively, almost frighteningly so, songs of worship, and pulled out my Bible, and glanced at a card with notes I had jotted down earlier in church, preparing to speak that evening. A mere 20 minutes earlier I had been sound asleep, but awakened and roused quickly, knowing the time limit. Now I heard the call for opening song and saw everyone stand.
“I might have prepared better,” I thought to myself. The notes were basic. Five passages, one illustration, and two Bible stories. On a wing and a prayer, I walked toward the front, bumbled over an introduction, and offered opening prayer.
Appeal time. I recapped the points on friendship, and called for all those willing to have an unashamed relationship with God to stand. Most did. I exhaled softly and offered a closing prayer. As I made my way towards the back, some of the kids approached me, stating that they enjoyed and appreciated the message. Moments later, several staff members commended me for bringing such a timely message. I smiled and gave glory to God, knowing I really hadn’t done anything.
The evening waxed late, I made my way home, warmed up a snack, and retreated to the small confines of my room. Tired, but not sleepy, I pulled up a random movie online that looked amusing enough, and leaned back to pass the time. Now here I am, taking stock of the day.
What if, I say, what if I had taken the time to ensure that my heart and mind were fully prepared to present the message? What if I had determined to pray and not faint? What if I neglected the sleep before preaching and engaged it afterward instead of wasting my time with some foolishness through the middle of the night? Could not the Spirit have moved more freely? Would not the effects have been more powerful?
Were this an occasional occurrence, I would have naught for which to abase myself, but timelessly, consistently, I find myself to be an unfaithful steward of the most costly commodity–one that cannot be bought or sold, made nor destroyed, only used or wasted–time. One of my favorite authors made a statement that if we would but make the Word of God the object of our focus, we would find no need to look for further revelation and inspiration.
And now begin the hours of Sunday, a day upon which most men in my country find able time to waste–3 to 6 hours, if not 9–Football Sunday. Now I determine to engage myself thusly, that I no longer leave the “what if” moment unimproved, but rather embrace the Word for a solid hour to see if the world becomes less tasteful and more wasteful. And then, a day before, how much better suited may I be to rightly deal the Word of truth, in word, in conversation, in deed? Time will tell.
Next time, do yourself a favor. Make your next “what if” moment a productive one.