Not many of the young men I coach are familiar with the name Gayle Sayers. At one time, and perhaps still today, some football commentators consider him one of the best – or even the very best – running back ever to play the game. “Numbers,” as they say, “don’t lie.” He was good – great even, by any standard. But like many of us, he suffered in his life too. In 1968, he had a potentially career ending knee injury and went through a season of great discouragement. At that time, Don Klosterman, an ex-quarterback then general manager for the Houston Oilers, sent him a note:
“God has given me this day to do as I will I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important because I am trading a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever leaving behind something I traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss…Good, not evil…Success, not failure…In order that I should never forget The price I paid for it.”
Words like those make you want to invest your life, not simply spend it. And they remind me of an extremely important biblical principle. In Ephesians 5:15, Paul writes to the Church, telling us to,
“Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
Being careful to make the most of every day is of critical importance to living the Christian life well. As Christians, we have no business “killing” time, or simply wasting it. Because the days are evil, as our verse above says, we must make the most of every moment. The world needs Christians to be an antidote to the brokenness all around us by investing our days – trading them, for things that are gainful, good and a success. We must make the most of them.
How do we do at this critical aspect of our calling? Did we make the most of yesterday? Are we making the most of today? Klosterman’s poem suggests an apt question to help us consider this: “What did we buy with our lives yesterday?” Did we purchase another twenty-four hours of conflict in our homes and relationships, ethical compromises in the office, and mind-numbing distraction in front of our televisions and computers? Or did we pursue the filling of the Holy Spirit through spending time with God, did we encourage others in their walk with the Lord, and were we cultivating gratitude as we sought to do whatever we did as if we were doing it for God himself? (Col. 3:23). A second line of questions is like it: how will we make the most of today – what will we trade it for?