In accordance with our time keeping system, each new day that the Lord allows us to stay here on earth brings with it a deposit into our life account of 24 hours of time. That is an equivalent of 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds of time for us to spend. How we spend the time that we have been given is strictly our choice, however, regardless of how we interpret the amount of the deposit, as hours, minutes, or seconds, there is one condition that must be met, and that is the entire deposit must be spent today. There can be no residual funds. At the end of the day when the Accountant balances the books, the balance in our account should be zero, and the next day a new deposit of 24 hours of time will be posted to our account.
So, what is this “time” that we speak of? Is it literal or is it merely figurative? Is it something that is tangible that we can reach out and grab and hold onto, or do we only sense that it is there and that it is constantly ticking away? Albert Einstein is quoted as having said, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Harvey MacKay, a business person, columnist, and author of such best sellers as “Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt,” described time as follows: “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”
It is interesting to note that even though the same daily amount of time is deposited into each of our personal life accounts, there are still some people who feel that somehow their account must have been robbed or the deposit of time into the accounts of others is larger than their own. When asked to do something, these are they who constantly reply with, “If I only had the time!” or “I don’t have time!”
If everyone has been given the same amount of time to spend each day, how can anyone possibly say, “I don’t have the time”? It is all a matter of setting priorities and managing the time that we have been given.
We are all guilty at one time or another of putting all of our efforts into accomplishing trivial things in life instead of focusing on the overall bigger picture. As a result, we end up spending a lot of our valuable time on the things that matter least, and very little time on the things that matter most. Oftentimes we busy ourselves each hour of the day with things that we feel need to be accomplished, however, in all of our efforts of being busy, perhaps we need to pause for just a moment and ask ourselves the question, “What have I really accomplished?’ Sometimes we may be surprised to find that we really haven’t accomplished as much as we thought, or in some cases perhaps we really haven’t accomplished anything at all. We were just busy. Someone once gave this wise counsel, “Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”
The Scriptures teach us that setting priorities and managing our time is to our great advantage. In Psalm 39:4 we hear the Psalmist exclaim, “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am.” Then in Psalm 90:9-12 he gives us this gentle reminder:
|9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.
10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:15-17 gave us this counsel: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
Each of our days are filled with many activities. It is those activities that are the steps toward achieving the most of what God wants us to do for Him. And so, setting priorities and managing our time all revolves around our being able to manage our daily activities and not allowing our daily activities to manage us. We are taught in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 that there is a time and a purpose for all things:
|1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
I will close my remarks on this matter by citing an example from the pages of Scripture that beautifully illustrate the importance of wisely investing the time that we have been given and the end results of managing our time poorly and having our priorities set in the wrong order. I invite you to turn with me to Luke 14:16-24. As we read these words, think of how this example can be applied to our own lives.
|16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
There is perhaps much more that I could say about this matter – if I only had the time! For now, I will leave these thoughts with you humbly in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
I want to share some of personal memories and reflections of my dear beloved mother, Frances Mae Harmon Brown (24 September 1937 – 12 June 1997), who was indeed the best and most positive influence for good in my life. She was my first and best school teacher in the school of life. I love her and miss her very much. She passed away after a battle with breast cancer while I was still on active duty in the United States Navy serving in the far away country of Iceland. The subtitle of my remarks is “The Debt of Love I Owe.”
Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.
I would like to personalize the latter part of verse 48 and use as my subject for this treatise, “My Mother Knew It”.
David O. McKay, 9th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently referred to as the “Mormon” Church by the media and others), said,
My mother was a very special person to me. Not only was she my mother, but she was also a very dear and true friend. For 38 and a half wonderful years we shared a very special and unique relationship as mother and son. We shared joy and laughter, heartaches and tears, good times, and bad times. We talked about and shared our dreams and hopes for brighter tomorrows. Together we enjoyed the blessings of life.
On 12 June 1997 just before the noon day hour, my family and I bid farewell to my mother for a season. It is hard to believe that 16 years have now come and gone. Those years have come and gone, but the memories of her unfailing love still linger near. There is rarely a day that goes by that I do not think of her.
My mother played many significant roles in my life. She was my doctor and nurse when I was ill. She was my lawyer when I found myself in difficult situations, always defending me to the end. She was my counselor, always offering words of advice and comfort. She was my first Sunday school teacher. At an early age she taught me to have a deep and sincere love, appreciation, and respect for the Word of God. She was the first to teach me of the love that my Savior has for me and that I should show my love for Him by being obedient to His commandments.
There were always several copies of the Bible in our home and my mother enjoyed reading the Scriptures on a daily basis. The last gift that I ever gave her was a study Bible that she asked for while we were shopping in a Christian bookstore. She read and studied from that Bible daily and took it to Church with her when she was able to attend. I now have that Bible and several of the other Bibles that my mother read and studied from in my library at home, complete with all of her handwritten notes and bookmarks just as she had left them. When she was too sick or weak to read the Scriptures for herself, she would have my younger sister read the Scriptures to her or listen to them on cassette tape or CD. For her, there was never a reason for not including the scriptures as a part of her daily life.
It was President Abraham Lincoln who once said, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” I am inclined to agree with him. Mothers are indeed remarkable people and they have more of an influence on their children’s lives then they may ever realize. They are truly the heartbeat of the home. I am eternally grateful for the influence that my mother had on my life. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Men are what their mothers made them.” If that is true, and I believe it is, than I owe a sincere debt of gratitude to my loving mother who was instrumental in molding and shaping me into the person that I am today. She was my very first school teacher in the school of life. There are so many things that she taught me, some of which I no doubt took for granted when I was growing up , but now as an adult, I can look back and understand more fully the things that she was trying to teach me and with a heart full of love I can say, “Thank you mom for everything.”
I would like to take just a few moments to share with you seven life lessons that my mother taught me. These are in no particular order.
Lesson #1: Seek ye first the kingdom of God
In Matthew 6:33 – 34 we read these words,
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for tomorrow, for the morrow shall take thoughts for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Throughout her humble life my mother never owned a lot of worldly possessions. She realized that true happiness was not based on the abundance of “things” that a person possesses. She realized that the richest people on earth are not necessarily those with expensive houses, fancy cars, or bank accounts that are large enough to afford them the opportunity to have almost anything that they desire. But rather, the richest people on earth are those who fix their focus on the goal of some day returning to their Father in Heaven to hear Him say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” My mother realized that the richest people on earth are the ones whose treasures are laid up for them in Heaven. She realized that if she kept her focus towards Heaven, one day she would have more than she could have ever desired here on earth. I believe that she fully understood the words that we read in Matthew 6:19 – 21,
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Lesson #2: In everything give thanks
My mother was not a complainer. She learned to be content in whatever situation she found herself in and would often make mention of the fact that things could be worse. Even during her illness she never complained, but rather took time each day to thank our Heavenly Father for allowing her to see one more day. She realized that no matter how bad we may think our situations or circumstances in life are, there is always someone, somewhere, who is a lot worse off than we are. She believed that instead of complaining about every little thing, we should take more time to thank our Heavenly Father for the many blessings that He has bestowed upon us. She also realized, and taught her four children well, that we should not only be thankful for the large blessings that we obtain, but we should also be thankful for the small ones as well—in everything give thanks.
Lesson #3: Ye are the light of the world
I can remember my mother saying on many occasions, “First impressions make lasting impressions.” She taught her children that most of the time the way that someone perceives you when they first meet you is the image that will stick with them. We tell a lot about ourselves by the way that we present ourselves. If the first impression that someone gets about us is that we are egotistical and self-centered, they may have a tendency to want to avoid us. If on the other hand, the first impression that someone gets about us is that we are genuine, friendly and “down to earth”, they will tend to want to be friends with us and take an interest in the things that we do.
My mother found this to be especially true in her own daily life and always made an effort to make a good lasting impression on all whom she met. In fact, because of the life that she lived and because of the example that she set, even her co-workers would lovingly refer to her as “Mom” whenever they would see her. In her humble efforts to live a life that was pleasing unto the Lord, she understood that she might have been the only Scriptures that some people would ever read. And so her desire was to paint a loving portrait of the Savior through the life that she lived. She fully understood the words of Matthew 5:14-16,
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
It is because of my mother’s loving example that I make an effort in my daily life to let my “light so shine before men” that they may see the light of Christ through me.
Lesson #4: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
Throughout her humble life my mother always tried to give everyone that she would come in contact with the respect that she felt was due to them. Her genuine love for people was not based on such seemingly important things as age, color of skin, religious beliefs, culture, or national origin. As far as she was concerned each individual was a person of worth – a special son or daughter of our Heavenly Father. She always had a kind word to say to everyone she met. She truly understood the meaning behind the words of 1 John 4:11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” Even if someone would hurt her in some way either through words or deeds, she would always continue to love that person or persons all the same. I can never recall a time when my mother ever said that she hated someone for the things that they had done. She believed that if you do not want people to hate you, then you must not hate them. If you want people to love you, then you must show love and kindness towards them. We should treat others the same way that we would like them to treat us. If we would but adhere to this important lesson and take it to heart, we would find that our relationships with our fellowman would be more joyous, peaceful, and harmonious.
Lesson #5: Lean not unto your own understanding
In the highly technological society in which we live, it sometimes becomes extremely easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day routine of things that we lose focus of what is really important and what is not. Everyone seems to be tremendously busy these days. There is always a plane to catch, a class to get to, a report to finish, another meeting to attend, and on and on our “To Do” lists continue to grow. Before long, if we are not careful, our “To Do” lists begin to control us instead of us controlling them. As a result we often times become frustrated and can not understand why we never seem to accomplish all of the things that we want to accomplish.
I personally believe that the reason we become so frustrated is because our priorities are not in order. Those things that we should focus on the most, we focus on the least. We attempt to solve all of our own problems, our own way, only to find that our way is not necessarily the best way. I know in my own personal live that whenever I try to do things my way and according to my agenda, I often miss the mark. I lose focus of the big picture.
We are taught in Proverbs 3:5-6 to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” I have learned that whenever I align my priorities with the teachings of the Scriptures and learn to do things God’s way instead of my own way, I am able to accomplish more, and usually in less time. I have also learned that I don’t need to understand the “why” behind everything that happens in life. All I need to do is trust in the Lord and acknowledge Him in all things and He will direct my footsteps along life’s pathways.
Lesson #6: Do justly and love mercy
My mother taught her children that they should always show kindness toward everyone that they meet. She also taught them to have just and fair dealings with all men. We are never to take advantage of people for our own personal gain, but we are to treat everyone with fairness and equality. Along those same lines, she taught them to have love and compassion for their fellowman. We are to be willing to help those in need. We are never to be judgmental of other people, but rather we should try “walking a mile in their shoes” before making any rash decisions about their character. She taught her children to always be merciful and understanding just as our Father in Heaven is merciful and understanding toward us.
Lesson #7: Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord
One final lesson that I wish to share that my mother taught her children is to never think more highly of yourself than you ought. We should never become boastful or proud. We should remember the words found in Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” We should never place ourselves on a pedestal thinking that we are better than others. Nor should be brag about our accomplishments and achievements in life but rather, we should always be mindful of the words we read in Proverbs 27:2, “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” And above all, we are to remember to “Humble yourslves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10).
My mother’s favorite Bible verses were Psalm 37:1-9. These verses put all seven of these life lessons into one nice neat little package.
In closing, may I give a few words of counsel to all sons and daughters, both young and old. Honor your mothers, cherish them, respect them, protect them, and LOVE them. Do not take them for granted. Your mother is a choice daughter of our Heavenly Father and as such, she deserves all the honor and respect that is due her. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed to be seen with her. When asked by anyone who she is, she is your mother, the very one who gave you life. Do not use your mother as the subject of your cruel, unkind jokes or remarks. Do not allow your friends or associates to speak disparagingly about her either. Always remember that mothers are an eternal blessing from the Lord. Don’t ever forget that important truth. I can boldly testify to you that there is not one single person in the entire world exactly like your dear mother. Therefore, I say again, honor them, cherish them, respect them, protect them, and most of all LOVE them.
To all the mothers of the world, it is my sincere heartfelt prayer that the Lord will bless you and sustain you. May our Heavenly Father’s choicest blessings always be yours, and May each of your days be blessed with the love and joy that you are so deserving of. May He grant you the wisdom and discernment that you need today and in the days ahead to be the mother that He has called you to be. And, it is also my prayer, that your sons and daughters may now and forevermore arise to call you blessed.
It is always easier to view another person’s life, and to oftentimes make rash judgments about that person, as an outsider looking in. From where we sit and the view which we have, we unfortunately only get the tip of the iceberg as far as really getting to know the person, and only a thimble full, if that, of knowing what makes that person the way that they are.
Every person’s life is uniquely different. We cannot make unmerited judgments about a person, or adequately vocalize our opinions about how we think that person should be living their life, when we do not know, nor fully understand all the ramifications and consequences that govern and surround that person’s life.
We have no God-given right to assume anything about a person until we have at least taken the time to get to know that person. In getting to know that person we may need to close our mouths and open our ears and listen to what that person has to say realizing that his or her life experiences are not necessarily comparable to our own. In other words there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent. There is a time to be the voice in a conversation and a time to be the attentive listening ears. There is a time to be the teacher and impart knowledge, and there is a time to be the student who is taught and takes careful notes.
In order to gain even a miniscule amount of understanding another person’s life we need to try walking a mile in their shoes, and view the world through their eyes, and then perhaps we will not be so quick to make undue judgments or formulate absurd opinions about that person.
We must learn to respect and treat everyone as we would want to be treated and respected. If we would not want other people to make hasty judgments or formulate undue opinions about us, then we should not do so to them.
~ Keith Lionel Brown
Time is a precious commodity. Whether we are married, single, widowed, divorced, or single parents, there are things in all of our lives that can put great demands on our time. No single station in life dictates that one person is any busier than another. By the same token, just because a person’s station in life is not comparable to that of another, it does not suggest that person just sits idle with nothing to do; neither does it offer up his or her time for others to take for granted and consume because they assume that he has nothing else to do.
Each of us has a life to live, and in the course of that life there are things that continuously vie for our time. Regardless of our station in life, our life circumstances often dictate how our time gets divided in any given day. It is not for any of us to make the decision that what a person is doing or has to do is of any less importance than anything that we are doing or have to do. In fact, it is selfish on our part to want to take up a large part of a person’s time without taking into consideration that person may already be involved in something else or has something that he needs to get done.
As with all things in life, having respect for others is an amiable quality to have. Each of us are given 24 hours in a day to carry out the tasks at hand. There are some days when the load that we carry will be light, and other days when we feel pressed and heavy burdened to get everything done that needs to be done. And so, regardless of our station in life, each of us finds that our time is valuable. Therefore, if we want people to respect our time, we need to reciprocate by having respect for their time.
There are some people who always seem to feel that everybody else should be doing more and giving more of their time while even the small things that they could do to help lighten the load often go by the wayside because they always seem to have some excuse about why they cannot do something, or are always exclaiming that they simply don’t have the time to get involved with helping to do anything.
These same people are quick to rush in, and seem to have absolutely no problem, with placing the lion’s share of the load on another person’s shoulders, or mandating how much time they feel that a person should be willing to give to carry out a task at hand, yet they are never willing to take a portion of that load to help make the burden lighter, or part with some of their own precious time to help do the task.
Why is this? I have come to the foregone conclusion that some people feel that as long as they can get everyone else to shoulder the load and do all the work, then they don’t have to do anything except sit back and watch the work being done. The sad commentary on it all is that often those who are not willing to do anything to help are usually the first ones who want to take all the credit for a job when it is finished.
As the old adage says, “Many hands make light work!” If we are not willing to use our hands as “working” hands to help get the job done, then we should not use our lips to sing praises and accolades unto ourselves when the job is done either. The man, who steals the credit for something that he had no part in bringing to fruition, is no better than the thief who breaks in and steals those things which he has not expanded any labor to get.
I further humbly submit that instead of always expecting some people to do more and to give more of their time, we need to learn to be thankful and appreciative of the things that they do, and be willing to give them a much-needed respite and take upon ourselves some of their load, and free up some of their time to do some of the things which they may have been unable to otherwise do.
FIRESIDE CHAT – Saturday Morning, 7 Sept. 2013
The Value of Our Time
Hello and welcome! Come join me by the fire for my weekly fireside chat. During the course of these brief fireside discussions, I will share some of my random thoughts about varied subjects of interest. Many of these chats will contain knowledge that I have obtained from the many lessons that I have learned on my journey in life. I invite you to share your comments, in a civil tone – both negative and positive. Please note that all derogatory comments will be deleted. Thanks for joining me. It is great to have you here!
Time is a precious commodity. Whether we are married, single, widowed, divorced, or single parents, there are things in all of our lives that can put great demands on our time. No single station in life dictates that one person is any more busier than another. By the same token, just because a person’s station in life is not comparable to that of another, it does not suggest that that person just sits idle with nothing to do; neither does it offer up his time for others to take for granted and consume because they assume that he has nothing else to do.
Each of us has a life to live, and in the course of that life there are things that continuously vie for our time. Regardless of our station in life, our life circumstances often dictate how our time gets divided in any given day. It is not for any of us to make the decision that what a person is doing or has to do is of any less importance than anything that we are doing or have to do. In fact, it is selfish on our part to want to take up a large portion of a person’s time without taking into consideration that that person may already be involved in something else or has something that he needs to get done.
As with all things in life, having respect for others is an amiable quality to possess. Each of us are given 24 hours in a day to accomplish the tasks at hand. There are some days when the load that we carry will be light, and there are other days when we feel pressed and heavy burdened to get everything done that needs to be done. And so, regardless of our station in life, each of us finds that our time is valuable. Therefore, if we want people to respect our time, we need to reciprocate by having respect for their time.
One day at a time–this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering. – unknown
I probably should keep some writing pads and writing utensils next to my bed as I sleep. Sometimes in the middle of the night and in the early morning hours I awaken with thoughts for a message or story that I want to write, or just a simple thought that I would like to share.
I sometimes like to sit and reflect upon some of the life lessons that I have learned from my journey through life thus far. In that time of reflection, I cannot help put step back into the pages of time, if but for a brief moment, to recall some of the things from even a far distant past that have brought me to the place where I am at this moment in time. In my humble recollection of days gone by, there are things that I could have done, possibly should have done, and a vast variety of things that I can now definitely improve upon as I continue to move forward in my life.
The past may be a nice place for one to visit, and there is nothing wrong in and of itself in taking time to reflect upon the past; however, we can find ourselves running into danger when we decide to set up our tents and dwell in lands that we have long since vacated, and probably should allow to remain vacated as far as our lives are concerned. As a result, we can become solemn, depressed, and complacent and may never have the desire to press forward to travel the road that is right before us.
As a further consequence of wanting to dwell in the lands of the past, over the sands of time, we may lose all sight and vision of those things that are yet to come. However, spending too much time dwelling in the land of the future, just like spending too much time in the lands of the past, can also present some problems along the way. Our focus and attention needs to be on what we have in front of us which is the here and now.
Sometime ago I shared a few thoughts that I wrote concerning the words “yesterday”, “today”, and “tomorrow”. In closing I would like to repeat those brief thoughts once again if I may.
Today is yesterday’s tomorrow. Tomorrow will become yesterday’s today. Yesterday has already come and gone and has now taken its place amongst the annals of history. Tomorrow is a part of the future that is yet to be revealed. What we have been given is today which is called the present. And why is it called the present? It is called the present because it is a gift from God.
This is the moment! May we learn from the days of yesterday, cherish today, and may God grant us many more tomorrows.