Giving Time


Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. — Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life

Rick Warren is spot on when he says time is our most precious gift. Money comes and goes (too often it seems to go!), but time is finite and cannot be regained, reinvented, or recaptured. Time is the Creator’s precious gift to us, so how we choose to spend our time also says something about our understanding of this gift with which we have been entrusted.

Remember those Mastercard commercials that illustrated the priceless nature of spending time on relationships? They ended with “For everything else, there’s Mastercard.” Being generous with time is foundational to cultivating and nurturing relationships. The gift of time is critical to keeping a marriage or partnership strong. Time spent with children is love made visible. Time invested in strengthening one’s faith life and spiritual relationships is of eternal importance.

We have no way of knowing how much time we have left to live on this earth–how long this phase of our eternal journey will last. Therefore, steward time wisely. Give it generously. Treat it with the care it deserves. Do with your time what really matters. Don’t squander and fritter it away on frivolous activities.

Here are seven suggestions for how to be generous with your time:

1. Call someone you love who lives in another town or state. Really listen to them. Don’t have an agenda. Don’t set a time limit. Let that person know how much you care even though you can’t be there in person.

2. Devote an entire evening or day to your partner. Put away the work. Take a digital sabbatical. Talk. Laugh. Love.

3. Have a “date night” with your child. Even if you would really rather not go to Chuck-e-Cheese or play yet one more game of hide-and-go-seek do it. Be there. Be fully present. These are the kinds of things your children will remember more than what was under the Christmas tree from Toys-r-Us.

4. Go to worship regularly. Make this a priority for spending your time. Not only are you giving God your best, you are setting an example for others and walking the walk.

5. Invite friends over for a meal. You don’t have to do anything extravagant; just get together. Try a potluck or progressive dinner.

6. Give time to your favorite charity. Work in the soup kitchen or food pantry. Play with the dogs and cats in the animal shelter. Visit the elderly in your local nursing home. Be a Big Brother or Big Sister. Do something for others.

7. Read a book. It’s a vacation for your mind. Reading isn’t your thing? then do something for yourself other than veg out in front of the television. Go for a hike. Ride horse. Plant flowers. Work out at the gym. You matter, too. If you don’t take care of your physical and emotional health, you won’t be much good at giving time to others.

Thanks for taking time to read this post. This is my gift to you. Time is precious. Thanks for spending some of yours with me. Blessings on the journey!

Photo: kojotomoto, Creative Commons

Monday Musings

Whew! What a week! Today I’ve finally had time to collect my thoughts and breathe a little. It isn’t that I haven’t been thankful or practicing thanks-living for the past two days, it is simply that I’ve been running like a hamster in a wheel. Life has been on the fast and furious track, both literally and emotionally, hurtling through time and space at a blurry, disconcerting pace.

Last week was a tough one in many ways. Both my spouse and I dealt with hurt and pain among friends, family, and our parishes. Deaths, bad health diagnoses, and suffering lapped at our hearts and clouded our days, plus we were balancing busy, hectic schedules and multiple priorities. It ended up being one of those weeks where we simply got lost in the living, too busy to be present in each precious moment. Life is like that sometimes. No one said it was a 24/7/365 picnic.

Today, however, the sun is shining, and a new week fills the horizon with potential and opportunity. My challenge this week is to avoid filling each moment with “busyness” and “doing.” To live from a place of thankfulness, one must be aware of the day as it’s passing. To that end, I have set these goals for the week:

  1. to find time to exercise and meditate at least six out of seven days,
  2. to make sure I give my spouse and children quality time — not the end of day leftovers,
  3. to move through all activities with purpose, focusing on one thing at a time, and
  4. to consciously practice thanks-living by telling at least one person each day in a call, in person, or by e-mail or snail mail how thankful I am for their presence in my life.

If I truly believe each day is a precious gift, then I must spend my life giving thanks for the gift and using it wisely. To do otherwise is to deny both gift and giver.

How about you? How will you give thanks for the gift of life, each precious day, hour, and minute of it?

Photos by pfly and Hamed Saber used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!