Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I have spent a fair amount of time and effort exploring various methods of living on a budget from just checking your net worth on a monthly basis to the full formal zero balance monthly budget. However, none of these options plan or track how you expend your most precious resource, time.

A child and an old man, a millionaire and the penniless are all given the same number of hours in a day.

Within limits, we all have the freedom to expend our time as we see fit. Life has its seasons, live them to the fullest. In your twenties it is time to conquer the world. It is time to get married and start a family. Live those years with the passion and strength of your youth. You won’t get another chance. As we enter our thirties we become men and women with responsibilities, not just to our children but to our larger communities, workplace, church, city, nation, world. It is time to shoulder those responsibilities that were only implicit in our earlier decisions.

The middle years pass by as a dream. Between the ages of forty and sixty, hopefully we will find mastery in who we are and what we do; even find a way to work less because we know more. Men and women become pillars of their community giving form and order to the world we inhabit. As the middle years wane, we discover we are not only are responsible for the next generation and the larger communities, but we find that we must take responsibility for the care of parents, as that generation declines before departing from the world.

At some point it becomes time to examine our life, not what we have accomplished, but our legacy, what we are leaving to better others and the world we inhabit. What fruit will our lives produce once we are gone? Plant good seed in good soil your harvest will be thirty, sixty, a hundred times what you have planted.

But what have you planted? Your harvest will consist of the same seeds that you planted forty, fifty, or even one hundred years before.

Lao Tse Quote:

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

We are spirit. We have a soul. We live in a body. I am a Christian. I have a particular understand of these words, but my understanding isn’t what is important. What is important is how you choose to nourish the different aspects of your life. If your checkbook and your credit card statement are window to your soul, what would the past years of a completely accurate cosmic day planner say about your life your values? I don’t think I want to look at mine. Personally, I am glad I have a Savior.

Let’s start with the body. You need to sleep, at least eight hours a day, for most of us. I neglected this important need for many years. If a 21st century urban American runs out of time, sleep will be the first sacrifice offered on the altar of something else. How much time do you spend on your diet? For most of my adult life I haven’t invested enough time in food. That sounds funny doesn’t it? But it is the truth. I have eaten too much fast food as well as too many questionable dinners that came out of a microwave. I am doing better but I still have a long way to go. Then there is exercise. Something else I neglected for twenty years or thereabouts. I am doing better in retirement. Finally, consider how much time you spend in a toxic environment. If your job is killing you, it is time to find a new job, really. I am not kidding.

Take some time to examine how you expend time to benefit your body. Are you allowing enough time to meet the needs of your body? If exercise and diet have not been a priority for too many years, it is time to reconsider your lifestyle while you still have a life.

I choose to define soul as mind, will, and emotions. Are you a lifetime learner or are you one of the 33% of Americans who never read a book after they graduate from high school? It doesn’t surprise me that only 15% of America’s prison population is literate. Invest in yourself. Learn a new skill. Take a class at the local community college. Are your habits contributing to your growth; to your value as a human being? It isn’t all about money. Learn how to dance. Learn how to paint a picture or take a photograph. Are you learning how to use your emotions to bless others, or are your emotions a curse? Spend the time necessary to understand yourself.

Sun Tzu Quote:

"It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle."

Is that all there is to life? I think somewhere in our hearts we know there is more than we can see or feel. Our five senses and our mind are limited often inadequate tools for the study of the cosmos and eternity. Somehow we just know there is something else that is hidden, invisible, just beyond our reach. How did all this stuff get here? What happened before the Big Bang? How do I discern good from evil? Spend some time contemplating the questions that can not be resolved outside of faith. There is a point where scientist, historian, or believer is best served by stating, “It is a mystery,” or “I don’t know.” That is the time to raise your hands and bless God who created heaven and earth and all the mysteries they contain. As you experience the transcendent, the beauty of the heavens; the touch of a lover; the joy of discovery in a child’s eyes, know that there is more to life than can be captured in a net of words. Stop. Become silent before your Creator. Do you invest your time studying and building treasures that we will carry into eternity?

If you have spent your money unwisely, you can always find a way to earn more. If you have spent your time unwisely, it can never be recovered.

Omar Khayyám Quote:

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Thanks Henry. Makes me think of all the ways we speak of time as money: pay attention, save time, waste time, spare time, and so on. May we have wisdom to know how best to spend time.