Today is the easiest time to make a difference
By Nathan Day Wilson
Recently my daughter reminded me of a phrase I used in a sermon a few years ago:”Four things you cannot recover in life: the stone after it is thrown; the word after it is said; the occasion after it is missed; the time after it is gone.”
I don’t know who wrote or spoke that idea originally. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me. And by this point, it’s more likely paraphrase than quote.
We all know that life is fragile. No matter how careful we are, how closely we watch what we eat, how faithfully we exercise or how regularly we use our seat belts, life is still fragile. Loved ones die. Jobs end. Illnesses strike. Marriages dissolve. Wars kill.
A well-known teacher reminded his followers that life is fragile when he said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
I’m glad Jesus, with those words from Matthew 6, didn’t only remind us that life is fragile. I’m glad he suggests that we have opportunities to use our ephemeral lives for something that will endure, something that will make a difference.
Isn’t that what we want? No one really expects to live forever, no matter how careful we are, but we want our lives to matter.
We can’t stand the thought that we are just taking up space on the planet, and we cannot even settle for a quiet comfortable life. We want our lives to count and to have impact. We want to have done a good job with life. We want to make a difference.
There’s one more line in that passage above from Matthew 6. In it, Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
In other words, think about what you are doing with your money. Money indicates how we invest our hearts, and thus how we choose to make a difference with our lives.
Want to know how you can tell where your heart is? Look at the ledger of your checkbook or the statement of your credit cards. They will tell you where your treasure is going and thus how you are investing your heart.
Want to know the values of a family, or a business, or a religious organization, or a country? Don’t ask what it values, just look at where it spends its money. Those are the actual values.
None of us can say, “Look, such and such has a big piece of my heart, but my money has to go other things right now. The future is uncertain. I had better hang onto as much as possible.”
Don’t you see? There is never going to be an easy time to make a difference. There is today.