Wandering the neighborhoods of Santiago, Chile afforded some fantastic little memories. It was 1995 and the image above is still one of my favorites of all-time. The game board picture was the photo I didn’t intend. Only in this last week as I have been scanning in slides from all my long ago trips was I reminded of the whole story. I wanted something else, but the missed opportunity reminds me that every moment is precious.
Walking across the street I witnessed this scene and wanted to get a closer look. But I didn’t want to be obvious, so I walked to the end of the block and came back along the other side of the street. When I got there those three men were gone…nowhere to be seen. It was a mystery to me. I wanted the close-up of these guys playing whatever game it was. But all that was left was evidence of one guy dominating the other. It is a wonderful image full of ethos, but not the one I originally had in mind. In the end probably better. But in a just a few moments walking to the end of the block and back, what I wanted to capture was gone.
There are dozens of moments like this for us each day. Hoping to say something to someone and letting the opportunity pass. Seeing something you want to take a photo of and it’s gone later (or worse, it’s been torn down). Giving a gift that could be encouraging and forgetting. We take some of those occasions for sure, but we miss many of them as well. I want to encourage you to take initiative to do those things that you heart cries out to do. I love a New Testament sentence that encourages this pattern, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) Making the most of your moments displays the characteristic of wisdom, and enriches others lives as well as your own.
A song by Chris Rice called The Power of a Moment also calls me to live wisely:
I get so distracted by my bigger schemes
Show me the importance of the simple things
Like a word, a seed, a thorn, a nail
And a cup of cold water
You know the number of my days
So come paint Your pictures on the canvas in my head
And come write Your wisdom on my heart
And teach me the power of a moment
This challenges me to think differently in two ways. First is that I easily get distracted and forget the important thing that could be right in front of me…and I miss the opportunity to be a blessing to someone. Second is considering that life flashes by so quickly that if we miss those moments, we may never get them back again…so make the most of every moment. I think that is wise living. Wise living is an encouragement to others around you. It gives a cup of cold water to someone parched and in need. Wise living also helps you live out the purpose of your own life. We are meant to not just live for ourselves and what we want to get out of life. Life is most meaningful when we aren’t self-focused and give of ourselves to others.
So, don’t wait. Take every opportunity to encourage and give of yourself…every moment matters! What you find when you do take those occasions to invest in others will enrich your life many times over.
What about you?
What things distract you from what is really important?
What encouraging word can you pass along to someone today?