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Sand Through an Hourglass

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” Ephesians 5:15-16

The thief has struck again.  Without anyone noticing a thief has been stealing from us all.  It happens every day and no one does anything to stop it because they can’t.  Slowly and almost without notice the thief takes from us.  Who is this thief?  It is time itself…the calendar.

The day of the year with the most daylight hours is around June 21st.  It is known as the summer equinox.  On that day the tilt of the earth allows the northern hemisphere to be closest to the sun allowing the maximum amount of daylight hours.  On June 21st sunrise occurs at 5:32 am in our town.  Fourteen hours and forty-six minutes later it sets at 8:19 pm.  From that time forward, slowly, and surely the amount of daylight hours began to recede.

You ask, “How much?”  Well, today the sun will rise at 6:35 am and will set at 7:00 pm.  If you do the math, you will discover that will give us 12 hours and 25 minutes of daylight.  Amazingly you will find that the thief has taken over two hours of daylight from us.  And each passing day he will take another few minutes.  Finally, someday in the near future, we will get up and wonder why it is still dark, or why the sun is setting so early.  The answer is the daylight thief. Like sand through an hourglass, he steals away the day.

I find all this pretty fascinating.  As the days and weeks march by, it reminds us that fall is coming.  Before long the leaves will be changing colors and falling to the ground.  Soon our thoughts will turn to cooler temperatures, beautiful mums, and Thanksgiving.  On December 21 the process will all reverse.  We will begin to gain back those precious minutes of daylight and it will remind us of the promise that spring is on its way.

The amazing part of all of this is how subtly it all happens. It is true of the calendar and the hours of daylight we experience, and it is true of so many small things in our lives.  We take in a few too many calories and before long we wonder why our clothes are tighter.  Humidity?  I mean they do call it the air you can wear.  We miss a few days of exercise and wonder why our energy level suddenly drops.  We miss a few days talking with our Dearest Father and wonder why He feels like a stranger. We miss our time with the Book and find ourselves bumbling our way through life. Sigh.  It is all too familiar and all too predictable.

The secret, I believe, is to be aware.  I have an Apple watch that tells me more than I need or want to know.  One of the things it tells me is the time of the sunrise and sunset.  A few days ago, the sun was setting at 7:45 pm and I knew that meant before long it would be setting at 7:00 pm.  Sure enough, it is.  Whether it is exercise or calories or prayer or reading the Book, if we pay attention, we will have fewer surprises and consequences.  I like what Moses said.  He wrote, “Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.”  You know, wisdom to watch what we eat and how much we exercise.  Wisdom to stop and talk to God and read His Book.  Yup…good, good advice.

Paul, one of the writers of the New Testament, put it another way.  He said we should make the most of everyday, not living as someone who is foolish but as someone who is wise.  He goes on to say we should do this because the days are evil—or full of difficulties and challenges.

The fact is we all get 1440 minutes a day—no more, no less. The hours of daylight may change, but time has been set for eternity.  1440 opportunities to make the most of life, to get it right.  And, because we are imperfect humans, we can use some of those minutes to talk to our Dearest Father about our warts and failures.  We can snuggle up close as He whispers assurances of love and forgiveness.  We can just rest and know…that He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne