“Hello, My Name Is…”
Hello, my name is Fred, and I was a time waster. I am not trying to mock addiction recovery groups, but why isn’t there a “Time Wasters Anonymous?” Really? If that isn’t one of the biggest oversights on the planet!
I was addicted. I would start wasting time and I couldn’t stop. Of course, to waste time, you have to hide it. You must look like you are doing something, so you can do more nothing. As a child I went to a Christian school where I had my own personal work space. The school was set up so that each student would work on their own studies while teachers monitored them. They made one mistake; they gave me school supplies. They may have looked like ordinary supplies to everyone else, but to me they were what dreams were made of—daydreams, that is! I had my pink eraser “hot rod,” complete with chrome rims (thumb tacks), and a sleek aerodynamic design. This thing could “burn rubber” (even if the rubber was pink). I had an ink pen with pocket clip that would support the glider wings (ruler) I would attach to it. And then, there was the pièce de résistance—the pencil rocket. I soon discovered that reversing the pencil topper and cutting a hole in it provided a wonderful fire burst out of the back of my “Empire No. 2” spaceship.
Unfortunately, this didn’t provide much time for school work. Teachers would try to crowd my schedule with the three R’s—reading, writing, and arithmetic. (And they said I was uneducated. If I made up the three R’s of education, at least 2 of them would actually start with “R.”) But as they urged me to use my time wisely, I pushed back. After all, I could stop anytime I wanted. But I didn’t. No matter how bad things got—detention, trips to the principal’s office, and parent conferences—I would not reform. It was my time, and I was going to waste it!
This carried on for a couple of years. My dad began to come to school often to confront me. I guess it was his way of an “intervention” for his time-wasting addict son. He said the same thing every time. I can still quote it. (What’s scary, is that when I do, I hear it in his voice. Which is odd, because my normal “inside-my-head” voice is Sean Connery. No offense, Dad.)
He would say, “You can waste trees and grow more trees. You can waste water and get more water. But when you waste time, you can never get it back.” Like my 8-year-old brain was going to comprehend the profoundness of that kind of wisdom! So, I continued on.
One day, I woke up. I realized who I was. I was the prodigal son. No, I didn’t run away from home. I just ran away from reality—on a daily basis. I was the younger son in the story of the prodigal son found in Luke 15. It bears that title because of the meaning of the word, prodigal. Growing up in church, I thought it mean rebellious or maybe runaway. But I was surprised to find out that it means wasteful. The wasteful son. That was me. Notice some statements in the story of the prodigal son:
And he said, A certain man had two sons:
And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
Most of us will not have their parents give them their inheritance while they are still alive. But God, our Heavenly Father, has given to all of us something of equal value—time. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” Our lives are made up of time. What we do with our time is what we do with our lives.
(More tomorrow… )