Using the Time We Have

I did something earlier this week that I have been needing to do for quite some time: I cleaned out my contacts. The amount of numbers that I had in my phone was well over 500. I do not talk to 500 people. I have told myself, countless times, that I needed to delete the contacts with whom I no longer have a relationship. I don’t mean that negatively. Over the years, I have lived in 5 cities, went to multiple schools, volunteered at multiple camps, and worked multiple jobs. All of that creates a lot of contacts that I no longer need to contact.

Going through the list and deciding which ones should go and which ones should stay was like taking a stroll down memory lane. Admittedly, several names had fallen out of my memory. Likely, I only needed those numbers for temporary, specific reasons. Many of them, on the other hand, made me think about the individual and my memories with them— some of whom I haven’t seen in over a decade. That sentence makes me feel old. 

I would say that the vast majority were folks that I had met in ministry over the years. As I flashed back to my time with them and smiled, I began to think, “I hope that they saw the love of Christ through me.” I’m sure that the answers would be mixed. Hopefully, more than not would say yes, but I haven’t always let that be the main priority in my life.

We all have come across a lot of people in our lifetimes. The truth is that we will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. People will come and go; we will come and go. Some of those whom we are closest with right now will become just a memory down the line. I hope that doesn’t sound too depressing. That is just the way of life. We will move, get new jobs, get new priorities, become busy, and our relationships will change because of that. So, it is imperative that we use the time that we have now to love those with whom we spend our time.

Thinking about all of that reminded me of 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. That’s what we are called to do. If we are ever to err in our faith, let us make the mistake of loving others too much, too deeply, and too fully. Everybody that we come across is desperately in need of the love of God. Many of them are only ever going to receive it from others being the vessel in which God delivers it to them. If we are loving people to the best of our ability and relying on the Holy Spirit to take us beyond that, then we will fulfill the duty that Lord has given us. 

I have shared this story before, but I am going to do so again. It’s one of my favorites.

There is a church tradition which says that when John (the disciple) was evidently an old man in Ephesus, he had to be carried to the church in the arms of his disciples. At these meetings, he was accustomed to saying no more than, “Little children, love one another!” After a time, the disciples, wearied at always hearing the same words, asked, “Master, why do you always say this?” “It is the Lord’s command,” was his reply. “And if this alone is done, it is enough!”

We are to love one another with all that we have, all the time. There is no guarantee how much time we will have with one another. Life circumstances can be changed in a mere moment. We may not get as much time with people as we would like. Our best friends may soon become our best memories. That’s why we need to take advantage of the here and now. We need to love all whom we encounter with the love of Christ. If we do that, it will be enough. Hopefully, someday down the line, we will look back at the time that we spent with an individual and say, “Yeah, I loved them like Jesus.” If we do that, then we can be assured that we have done what we were called to do.

If you liked this, then I think that you’ll enjoy my book. You can buy it by going here. Also, I have started a His Kingdom/ Our Good podcast. It’s available on Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, and Anchor.

Published by smith1626

I am the Director of Youth Ministries at St. John United Methodist Church in Scott Depot, WV. Mostly, I am a sinner saved by amazing grace.

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