There was a God-fearing young man who was trying to give his life some meaning and importance. He decided to be the one man that emptied the ocean. He took his bucket and began grabbing bucketfuls of ocean water and emptying them up past the beach line. As he scurried back and forth people tried to talk with him…but he was much too busy with emptying the ocean to talk with family and friends. God even tried to get his attention, but he was too busy to notice. As the years went by, he found he wasn’t bothered so much with people or with God trying to interrupt his important work. He was able to go faster and faster…doubling and tripling the number of buckets he could empty in a day. More years passed and finally one day he stopped long enough to look at his work. To his crushing disappointment the ocean looked the same. He had spent his life on a meaningless task that cost him everything, all his family and friends, even his relationship with God. Now, as he looked out on the ocean, he was simply a lonely old man at the end of his life.
Life is kind of tricky that way. What seems so doggoned important at the moment (more important than God or family or friends) can end up being meaningless… except for the impact it has on the really important matters of life. We can get so caught up with the grand importance of what we are doing, that we miss out on the truly important things of life. How sad it would be to arrive at the end of our lives and feel it was worthless. God didn’t give us the gift of life to have it be spent in a meaningless way. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).
A second story from a kind lady also points out another aspect of living life to its fullest:
A friend of mine opened his wife’s underwear drawer and picked up a silk paper wrapped package: “This”, he said, “isn’t any ordinary package.” He unwrapped the box and stared at both the silk paper and the box. “She got this the first time we went to New York, 8 or 9 years ago. She has never put it on. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is it.” He got near the bed and placed the gift box next to the other clothing he was taking to the funeral house, his wife had just died. He turned to me and said:
“Never save something for a special occasion. Every day in your life is a special occasion”.
I still think those words changed my life. Now I read more and clean less. I sit on the porch without worrying about anything. I spend more time with my family, and less at work. I understood that life should be a source of experiences to be lived up, not survived through. I no longer keep anything. I use crystal glasses every day. I’ll wear new clothes to go to the supermarket, if I feel like it. I don’t save my special perfume for special occasions; I use it whenever I want to. The words “Someday…” and “One Day…” are fading away from my dictionary. If it’s worth seeing, listening to or doing, I want to see, listen or do it now.
What would my friend’s wife have done if she knew she wouldn’t be there the next morning? First, she would have sought out God in prayer. I think she might have called her relatives and closest friends. She might call old friends to make peace over past quarrels. I’d like to think she would go out for Chinese, her favorite food. It’s these things that I would regret not doing, if I knew my time had come.
I would regret it, because I would no longer see those friends. Letters… letters that I wanted to write “One of these days” wouldn’t be written. I would regret and feel sad, because I didn’t say to my husband, brothers and sons, not times enough at least, how much I love them.
Now, I try not to delay, postpone or keep anything that could bring laughter and joy into our lives. And, on each morning, I say to myself that this is a special day. Each day, each hour, each minute, is special. “One of this days” is far away…or might never come…Today you have the gift of life!!
“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions.” (Psalm 39:4-8)
May you serve the Lord today as if it were the very first day you ever served Him and may you serve the Lord today as if it were your last day on this earth. God’s richest blessings be yours throughout this day; it is a gift from Him!!!