Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.
Gas prices are back up in our area. Though I'm a big proponent of foot traffic, I admit that most of the time I do use my car to get places. The other day when I stopped at the gas station, it was one of those times where the tank is so empty that that it takes a half gallon more than the stated capacity of the entire gas tank before it fills up. I was driving on fumes!
Even for my little hatchback, the cost was nearly $50! Yet I still paid it, barely even thinking about the trips that emptied that tank or the ones that will empty this one. I've gotten into the habit of filling my car when it's out of gas, and just continuing on my way, no matter the cost. Then I continue driving anywhere and everywhere, and repeat it all over again. Do you do the same?
But as the gasoline was pumping, I paused and wondered...
Would I make the same driving choices if I had to get my wallet out and pay for a little gas every time I got into my car?
Driving across town to grab takeout: $2.15
Going to the grocery store in the morning: $1.50
Going again in the afternoon when you forgot Nutella: $1.50
Roundtrip to the gym because you now feel guilty about eating a jar of Nutella: $3.08
How would it change your choices if you had to pay a few dollars every time you got into your car?
The costs add up. And we don't even think about it.
If we did, two things would happen. First, we'd realize how there is a cost to every action. And second, we would notice that they add up really, really quickly.
In life, we have choices about what we will do or not do (to some extent). Yet the average person spends almost no time reflecting on if each choice is worth the cost.
And without this reflection, they miss opportunities to use the unique resources God has given them (time, money, energy, love) to experience God's gift of life and build God's kingdom.
A harshly critical word said about another person costs our spirits a great deal. An hour scrolling mindlessly on a phone costs energy and relational connection with the people around us. Time spent on curating an instagram-worthy life and appearance limits one's ability to be focused on others. Even good things, if they're not the right things, can take a lot out of us and limit our capacity to prioritize what Jesus is leading us toward. We need God's wisdom to make these choices.
We each have a finite amount of energy, a finite amount of mental space, and a finite amount of relational capacity each day. And we have a finite amount of days on this side of eternity.
Everything has a cost. The efforts that move us toward relationships, service, joy, beauty, rest, and redemption are well worth it. The trips that lead us toward anger, frustration, obligation, bitterness, and selfishness will always leave us back at empty.
If you thought carefully about all that, what would you choose to do or not to do today, so that you didn't spend gas money on all the wrong trips?
Jesus, give me wisdom and courage to make the most of my moments today, not wasting the resources you've given me.