through Publix the other
day, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could just take a pill and poof!
be twenty pounds lighter.”
I went on my first diet at
fifteen. I lost twenty-five pounds in a month. Now, I’d be lucky to
lose one pound using the same method. Our bodies change with time. We
don’t seem to want to grasp that concept, but they do. If I’m going on
fifty, why do I want to look like I’m going on fifteen? Or worse, feel
like I’m supposed to look like I’m going on fifteen?
Beauty is a time-honored
tradition. We all love beauty. But we’ve put beauty in such a narrow
box. Thin. Tall. Without wrinkles. Without gray.
Anyway, I’ve dieted only a few
times in my life. I’m not one to say I’ve “tried them all” and they
don’t work. Most diets do work. It’s people who don’t.
Dieting, like most things in
life, requires discipline. Isn’t discipline such an
ugly word? I mean, it starts with “dis.”
We spend a lot of time focused
on the outside: How we look. How others perceive us. But beauty or
looks is one thing we cannot take with us into the next life. There
will be no accounting for what we did with our hair, weight, or gym
However, Scripture tells us we
will give account for every idle word. For the talents (money) given to
us, and what we did with our time.
We can take it with us, or send
it on ahead. This life is merely an internship for the next. Jesus
speaks of our being rulers over cities. How do we earn that privilege?
My guess is what we did with our time, money, and words.
We seem to own these values.
Hold them close to the chest. My time. My money. My words. We want to
do with them what we want when we want. But Jesus tells us, “Watch out,
you’ll give account.”
See what He says in Matthew
store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust
destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for
yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth nor rust destroys, and where
thieves do not break in or steal; where your treasure is, there your
heart will be also.
Wow, where your treasure is,
you’ll find your heart. Pretty serious. What can we tell about one
another from our treasures?
While we should be wise and
prudent, save, and even invest, we cannot put our faith in our bank
accounts, our 401Ks. I’d rather give to God than to the bank.
Proverbs 19:17 says, “One who is
gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD. He will repay him for his
good deed” (NASB).
We are not going to owe God. He
will take care of us.
So, what are you doing with your
We have many demands on our time
today. But I have a sneaking suspicion our ancestors could make the
same claim. What they lacked in option, the made up for in labor. It
took our great-grandmothers a day to do the laundry. It takes me a few
Travel, work, and play are all
eased by technology. We have more disposable time than any other
generation. But what are we doing with those precious hours?
Paul writes to the Ephesians:
“[Make] the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16
Doesn’t seem to leave much to
interpretation. If we don’t manage our time, someone or something will.
Paul’s reference to evil might indicate that if we are not making the
most of our time, evil might try to take over.
What we do with our days
matters. What are we giving ourselves to? Show me a man’s weekly
schedule and I’ll tell you what he values and loves.
are you doing with your
time? Even the most abstract person can create some kind of schedule to
maximize her time. Don’t be run by the tyranny of the urgent.
Driving home from work one day,
a trucker cut me off. I swore at him. And the moment the words left my
mouth, the condemnation I placed on him flew in my own face like hot
coals. You never saw a woman repent and shout blessings so fast.
God spoke and the world was
created. Words mean things. They matter. They count. I can’t tell you
how many times I’ve prayed for young people who were emotionally and
mentally locked down because of negative words and lies spoken over
You know what I mean. “You’re
stupid.” “You’ll never amount to anything.” And we wonder why they
Jesus said in Luke 12:2, “But
there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that
will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will
be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms
will be proclaimed upon the housetops” (NASB).
I’ve said something I never want
repeated, let alone shouted from housetops.
James 3:8 tell us, “But no one
can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison”
We must watch our words. The
Lord spoke to me once so clearly, “You cannot tear down what I’m trying
to build up.”
I realized, even with some
teasing, I cannot wound for the sake of fun. I cannot think some of my
words are frivolous and idle, while others are deep and powerful,
according to what and when I want. No, all of my words count all of the
I want to be on God’s team,
working to build up and not tear down His beloved.
Take stock. What are you doing
with your money, time, and words? Are you unable to tithe or give but
pay a $90 cable bill? Get rid of cable. It’s going to get burned up
when you give account.
Are you too tired to get up for
prayer, or attend corporate prayer meetings? Get rid of distractions.
Go to bed earlier. Step off of a committee or project. Prayer will
endure. But will the other things you’re doing? Even the good? Is it
the enemy of the best?
Are you using your words to
build up? Are your words defensive and about presenting your case
rather than encouragement and understanding? How can you reflect the
heart of Jesus for your family and friends through your words? In the
end, when you give account for your idle words, will being right and
vindicated matter more than being humble and encouraging?
Let’s do as Paul says: Be wise,
for the days are evil.