Suppose you have a friend who was unimaginably generous in addition to being incredibly wealthy. This friend wanted to share their treasure with you, but in addition to their other qualities, they were also remarkably wise. They knew that giving you too much at once would probably not be a good idea so instead they shared with you on a regular basis, a very regular basis—as in each day.
Just to be clear, I’m talking about every day of every week of every month of every year. No days off for any reason. (In addition to their other qualities, your benefactor is also extremely reliable and consistent). Christmas, the Fourth of July, your Aunt Ruby’s birthday, it didn’t make any difference, the gift was always there. Now that in itself would be pretty incredible, but I want to go in a different direction.
I want you to try to think about what your response would be to all of this. My guess is that at first you would be absolutely overwhelmed. You would look forward to each day and work hard to find new ways to express your gratitude to your friend. You would enjoy their gift and it would enrich your life.
But after a while things would change. You would, of course, still appreciate the gift, but it would become a struggle not to take it for granted or allow it to become routine. You could maintain your gratitude but it would require some real discipline on your part. If you failed to do this, then you would become dull to the process. Your gifts would pile up, and they wouldn’t be received or used in the way they were intended. And, you would have in some sense failed your benefactor.
The above is a very real scenario. Your friend is God and the treasure He gives is that 24 hour period we call a day.
Days are kind of interesting when you take the time to think about them. They are the smallest natural unit of time. They were the first thing God created (Genesis 1:3-5). In some ways, each day is a little lifetime. They have a beginning, a middle, and an end. They are filled with good, not so good, and lot of stuff in between. They present us with opportunities to take advantage of or ignore, decisions to make, and people to interact with. And despite movies like It’s a Wonderful Life, Back to the Future, or Groundhog’s Day, they move in just one direction—forward. Once a day is gone it is never coming back.
Days are important if for no other reason than that they are the stuff that life is measured by. God gives us life one day at a time—no more, no less. And it’s our job not to take life for granted but to take it as it is granted. How do we do this? How do we avoid neurotically counting our days and instead make them count?
I guess the short answer would be to give each day to Jesus. God gave them to us and if we’re smart, we’ll give them right back in the sense that we recognize they are from Him and should be used for Him. So that’s the wandering generality, but what are the meaningful specifics? What exactly are we to go about doing in giving the day back to Him?