Optimizing our time on Earth will bring joy, happiness

January 19, 2013 

James 4:13-15 reminds us that life is short. Life is fragile. All we really have is today and this moment. We have no promise of a tomorrow, whether we are young or old.

But we do have a promise of eternal life after this life ends. This is the great hope of all Christians.

It is the comfort of the soul for those grieving lost loved ones. For some who have seen glimpses of the hereafter in dreams, visions or near-death experiences, they know that eternal life exists. That assurance brings great comfort and peace of mind when tragedies occur.

Paul advises us in Ephesians 5:14-17 to wake up, make the most of our time here on earth, and discover what the will of the Lord is because the days are evil.

I think this is good advice as we begin a new year. But how do we go about making the most of our time?

Maybe you've wondered, "Why was I born? What is my purpose in life? Does God have a plan for my life? Or is life just what happens to you while you're busy making other plans?"

If you do not know that God has a purpose and plan for your life, you probably haven't put much effort into discovering what it is.

Many arrive in their latter years like old, discouraged King Solomon saying all life is vanity and striving after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14). "I work and work but still don't have enough. I'm so unhappy. God isn't blessing me. Is this all there is? What's the point of it all?"

Money, power, possessions, respect and fame will not make us happy. How many who have achieved these are truly content?

I believe that the key to happiness and self-fulfillment is discovering God's plan for your life. Then, as you follow His plan, you will discover your God-given gifts, talents and creativity. Using these is what will bring joy and purpose into your life.

The truth is we don't have all the time in the world. Life is finite. We need to make the most of our time, starting today. Is there is something you have wanted to do -- maybe for years -- but have put off doing? It's not too late to start.

What have you been putting off doing? Something that will improve your health? Or your relationships? Signing up for classes to explore your own creativity? Making the time to write that book or get back into your artwork?

Take the first step to unbury some of those gifts and talents lying dormant within. Pick up the phone and make inquiries. Energy will flow back into your life the minute you begin to use what God gave you and walk in His direction for your life.

Time is too precious a gift to waste. We don't want to arrive at the end of our lives quoting John Greenleaf Whittier: "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'it might have been.'"

We want to leave this life and step into our eternal lives quoting the apostle Paul:

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, (the plan God had for me), I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

The Rev Anne Barber, pastor of My Father's House, 7215 U.S. 301 N., Ellenton, is the author of "As Lambs to the Slaughter" and "The Builder" in ebook stores.

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