Tuesday, February 24, 2009

3900 Saturdays

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
James 4:14

As the above verse mentions, our days are numbered. We are all "terminal."

So...we need to make the most of our time here.

We all have choices in how we do that. Some of us will choose to make the most of our time on our task list at work and we might even work long hours to make things happen. Some will make the most of their time in chasing selfish desires and pleasure. Others of us will choose to sow into the lives of others and make this place a better place just for being here. Many of us will be somewhere in between these places.

No matter where you are, this story which was shared with Mac Anderson, author of Charging the Human Battery, will inspire you:

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday morning. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work.

Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it:
I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about “a thousand marbles.” I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.

“Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It’s too bad you missed your daughter’s dance recital,” he continued; “Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my own priorities.” And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”

“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.

“Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I’m getting to the important part.

It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail,” he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear.”

Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.
There’s nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.

"It was nice to meet you Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band."

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.” “What brought this on?” she asked with a smile.

“Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”

Carpe Diem!


sharilyn said...

excellent. thanks for sharing!! sometimes i feel as though i endure the week and wish it away for the weekend--how about if we had a jar of marbles for every workday we'd wished away! hmmm. great food for thought!

by the way, i heard you guys were dumped on with snow again last weekend (my home state is MI, and that's where most of my family lives)... hope you're able to enjoy the beauty of it even though there's been so much this year!! : )

Jim Lange said...

Sharilyn, thanks for the note and the encouragement! We only got about 3-4 inches so that was pretty manageable. It was beautiful...but I am ready for spring!

Sam Van Eman said...

Hi, Jim. David Rupert had this post featured over at HighCallingBlogs.com

Jim Lange said...

Sam, thanks for the heads up--I appreciate it!

Jean said...

Thanks for the reminder.

Our days on this earth are just grains of sand, aren't they?

Eternity, timelessness, might just be one of the most incredible things about heaven.

Grace & Peace,

Jim Lange said...

Jean, you are right...in fact the book of James tells us that our lives are a mist that appears for a little while then vanishes. I sure wish I could remember this when I am having a tough day...Oh well, I am a work in progress! Take care!

Crystal Waring said...

I love the blog post. I'm one of those people who has always been aware of passing time. I did the math too (funny enough) except I used 80 years, grains of rice, and days instead of satudays. I wrote a poem about it called 'Uncle Time' based on a particular uncle (fictional unfortunately) that took it as his personal responsibility to keep his siblings, neices and nephews always aware that their moments are valuable and fleeting. I'd love for you to read it.


Thanks for the sweet story.

Jennifer said...

I followed the link here from High Calling Blogs. Great post, Jim. None of us knows how many marbles we have in the jar, but what might the world look like if we behaved like we had just one left?

Jim Lange said...

Crystal and Jennifer, thanks for checking in. Yes, this is a great reminder that our time here is very short and we need to make the most of it. I need to be reminded of this at least daily!

AdelaniAderemi said...

This is inspirational and very instructive. Old Moses prayed: teach us to number our days that we may apply our mind to wisdom.

Jim Lange said...

You are right. Moses was a pretty smart fella--we probably ought to listen to what he had to say.