Claremore Daily Progress


June 26, 2010

You’ve Got 86,400 Seconds

CLAREMORE — “But your hearts must be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.” 1 Kings 8:61 (NIV)

I am in the latter half of my fifth decade. Recently, I told a friend that even if I had several hundred years to live, I would never be able to reach all of the goals that I have set for myself. I realize, however, that my goals may not be the same as God’s plans for my life, and I’m okay with that.

The following poem, often recited by Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, is about squeezing value out of the time God has given each of us.  We often forget, however, that our time on earth is a gift from our Heavenly Father. It is for our use, but it is limited to the number of days we live.

I’ve only just a minute,

Only sixty seconds in it.

Forced upon me, can’t refuse it,

Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it,

But it’s up to me to use it.

I must suffer if I lose it,

Give an account if I abuse it,

Just a tiny little minute,

But eternity is in it.

Born in 1894 to former slaves, Mays was inspired by Frederick Douglas, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Booker T. Washington.  He became a Baptist minister, earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, served as Dean of the Howard University School of Religion, was an advisor to several United States presidents, served as a member and as President of the Atlanta Board of Education, and was President of Morehouse College for 27 years. In addition to his own vast accomplishments, Mays was an inspiration and advisor to his students, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who referred to Dr. Mays as his “spiritual mentor.”

Dr. Mays, commenting on our mission, said, “All around you in this broken world, people are suffering. So many unmet needs exist that it can all seem overwhelming. But it’s not naïve to think that you can make a significant and lasting difference for the better. As a Christian, God calls you to do so, by representing Jesus in the world. God doesn’t intend for you to shrink back from the needs around you; He wants to use your life to help others. In fact, God has uniquely created you to meet certain needs and is hoping you’ll accept your mission.”

To accomplish our mission, we must imagine our day as a bank account. If we are credited each morning with $86,400, but it carries over no balance from day to day, and every evening cancels whatever amount we have failed to use during the day, we’d draw out every cent. Everyone has such a bank account but it is credited with time, 86,400 seconds every morning. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this time you have failed to invest to good purpose.

As each year passes, I feel the urgent need to invest my time wisely. Are you spending your 86,400 seconds carefully?

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