To squander – to recklessly waste, misuse, throw away. To allow an opportunity to be lost – especially money or time.
The word doesn’t have happy, joyous connotations. I can think of times that I’ve squandered money – Like the time I thought it was a good idea to go all in on street hockey! I went out and bought everything needed to play street hockey! I had played it once and thought,
“Wow this is definitely for me!”
Yea, only that was not in Bucyrus…and because it wasn’t in Bucyrus I didn’t have anybody else to play with nor did I have a place to play. Can you take a guess as to what happened to my gear? I’m sure somebody who visited my garage sale is enjoying it for MUCH less than I paid for it.
But money is something that I can get more of. I don’t mean that flippantly and with no respect to the finances God has graciously given. In respect to time, I cannot make more time. I can go out and get another job and make more money. I can’t make more time.
Which brings me to today’s post. Do you know how it feels to squander time? To squander opportunities? If not let me take the opportunity to congratulate you. That’s quite an accomplishment. I cannot say the same. This vacation which started out rocky, smoothed out as a result of making the most of what is right in front of us. There were things out of my control, not any mistake of my own doing. It was what it was. Period. So I choose to make the most of it.
Tuesday morning was not so much like that. Nothing gigantic went wrong. There was no catastrophe. I just felt so much pressure to make the most of the time we had that I squandered some of the time we had.
Does that make any sense? Sounds redundant, but that’s what I did. I was so caught up in making the most of our time that I squandered opportunities to have fun in the process, to make memories, good memories, with my girls.
You know, each moment is a once in a lifetime moment. That moment that just passed by will never happen again. There’s no DVR, no rewind, no going back. Each moment that I couldn’t see past my own frustration was a moment I blew. Instead of simply saying,
“You know God, your gonna have to help me with this one.”
I chose to forget that there’s a God and remain frustrated. Brilliant right!?! <insert sarcasm here> I just didn’t ignore help from God – I plain didn’t ask. I effectively squandered both the moments and opportunities to grow in reliance on my great big God who could of very easily assisted me.
Each moment is one we get to choose to make the most of – irrespective of the circumstances on the outside. Each moment we get to choose to grow in relationship to God. I firmly believe that we are either growing closer to Him or moving away from Him. And moving away also includes doing nothing. In doing nothing, we squander opportunities.
Now there are times when we don’t know what to do, or what direction to go. Indeed it is foolhardy to move when we don’t know what direction. That’s fine. What’s not fine is not doing anything to discover that direction when we should be seeking God through prayer, studying scripture, or just plain sitting in His presence allowing Him to wash over.
My time with my girls grows shorter and shorter. Eventually I’ll see myself walking them down the isle as I give them away to another man. I certainly don’t want to waste the time I have now and make the most of now, the next moment in front of me.
I also don’t want to squander opportunities that I have to become closer to my God, to come to the point that I am aware at all times just how much I am reliant on Him. I want to be hungrier for Him and thirst for Him. And there will be times that He allows things to happen that calls me to a deeper reliance on Him. Some big, some small – Size being irrelevant. It’s what I choose to do in those moments that make those moments matter!
Paul writes in Ephesians and Colossians…
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Ephesians 5:15–16; Colossians 4:5
The word time and opportunity used in both verses is the same Greek word Kairos and means a fixed time, one that is limited and marked suitable for the current circumstances. In other words, this is a moment in time that may never present itself like this again. Make the most of it! Don’t let it go, don’t waste it with stuff that distracts. Don’t get so frustrated with things that don’t matter in regards to eternity.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Give it to God. Use this time as an opportunity to grow in reliance to Him with thanksgiving! Look at this passage. It’s like a recipe.
- Be anxious for nothing. In every circumstance, good or bad, big or small.
- In everything by praying and supplication. Supplication is earnestly begging and pleading! (Imagine one of my girls begging for the next American Girl doll.) It is a deep asking. We don’t go to God asking for a want like that. We however indeed are to go to God asking for what we need like that! Knowing what to ask for is sometimes tricky. We may want resolution for a circumstance when what we need is peace in the circumstance. Easy to say – harder to do.
- With thanksgiving. Be thankful in the fact that we can present our requests to a God that cares. Be thankful in that through whatever circumstances you are facing, you are making the most of them by growing closer to God as you find yourself in prayer and in His presence. It’s not easy to be thankful for circumstances that are unfavorable. And I could sit and dwell on them. And the more I dwell on the negative, the more I sit and stew on circumstances, the less I am focused on the One that can actually DO SOMETHING about my circumstances. Not only that, the more I dwell on the negative or even what MIGHT happen, the more I will FEEL worn out as a result of taking myself through the emotional ride. What I choose to think (dwell) indeed DIRECTLY EFFECTS WHAT I FEEL. Yes I know I typed that in all caps. It’s that important! And that’s why thanksgiving is so important to this verse.Now please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying don’t think about negative situations. If we don’t think about them and consider resolutions, we are effectively sweeping them under the rug. Indeed there is a fine line between thinking about things and dwelling on things. Paul stated that…
Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Paul says to dwell on things that are worthy of praise. But you know what – last time I checked, doing this when things aren’t going well can seem impossible. But I think that’s part of what Paul is saying. Look at verse 11.
Phil. 4:11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
That’s not easy to do when a family member is suffering or when the checking account is down to change. And yes its not so easy to do when vacation plans don’t go the way you expected.
- And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The result of the recipe above is peace. Peace that blows the logic side of the brain. It’s a peace that just cannot be understood. You don’t know how it works. You just know that it is very real and very present. The circumstances did not change, but something INSIDE OF YOU DID. This guards our hearts. What would our hearts need guarded against? Good question! Take a moment and think about either past circumstances or current ones that have been most unfavorable. They are a breeding ground (when we dwell wrongly) for bitterness, resentment, unthankfulness, stubbornness, and ultimately, a heart that becomes harder instead of heart that becomes softer. Jesus spent a lot of time teaching about the heart perspective. Outward actions show little whereas heart changes make the difference.For example, Jesus says that if a man looks at a woman lustfully he has committed adultery with her in his heart. And that if his eyes continue to cause him to sin in this manner that it would be better for him to gouge out his eyes than for his whole body to burn in hell. Jesus isn’t condoning self mutilation. And in fact, even if the man gouged out both eyes, that’s NOT GOING TO FIX THE PROBLEM. Lust in the heart will still be present. A heart change is required, one that relinquishes all rights over to the Holy Spirit to have His way with us.When we follow this recipe that Paul describes the result is peace – peace before, peace during, and peace after. It’s a peace that guards our hearts from becoming bitter.
This post traveled way far from the Diller family vacation experience but that’s OK. The point for myself and for you is this. Let’s not squander the moments in front of us, but rather make the most of them. Each is a chance to grow closer to each other and ultimately to grow closer to God. Don’t dwell wrongly on the circumstances. Instead take those opportunities to present them to God. Entrust them to God that He will indeed guard our hearts with peace as we follow Paul’s recipe.