Friday, March 8, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Time

Reflections on Time
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

Key Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12:1 and 1 Timothy 4:12

While traveling home on a plane recently, I listened to a playlist from the 80s. I can’t escape the fact that that was my era of preferred music.

The song “Time Keeps on Slipping Into the Future” by Jackson Browne came on. That song was soon followed by Teddy Pendergrass singing “Wake Up Everybody”. Can you hear them? While grooving to “my tunes” and feeling nostalgic, I realized that I don’t live there anymore. Time has slipped into the future.

I thought about where life had taken me. I thought about what I have seen, what I have done, what I have achieved and acquired. Time has treated me pretty well. But, time is not up yet. There is still life to be lived, work to be done, people to help, things to do and places to go.

I looked out of my window to the sky, not for inspiration, but just to see the sky and the clouds. The tracker said that we were moving at about 350 miles per hour. I thought, my how time flies.

As I peered out of the window at the tops of puffy white clouds and blue sky around us, the verse from Ecclesiastes 12:1 leapt into my mind. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them”. It occurred to me right then, that I am younger right now than I will ever be. I need to value this time, cherish my freedom and invest my health and substance in things and people who matter. You do too.

Yes, we are younger than we will ever be, but we still have ideas and goals that are noble and meaningful. Some friends may say “Why now? You are retired already and old”. Immediately, another verse of scripture popped into my mind. “Let no man despise thy youth…”. “We are younger than we’ll ever be. Don’t despise our youth or allow anyone else to do so!
 “Why not? Why not now? Why not me? Why not us?”

James Allen wrote in his book As A Man Thinketh, the following paragraph. “All achievements, whether in the business, intellectual, or spiritual world, are the result of definitely directed thought, are governed by the same law and are of the same method; the only difference lies in the object of attainment."

How we think influences what we believe and what we can achieve. I subscribe to optimism and recommend it to you. Whatever your station or circumstance in life, you can choose optimism or pessimism. One strengthens and ennobles, the other enfeebles. 

Remember that God is infinite, omnipotent and all knowing. Enthusiasm is the abode of divinity. It is where impossibilities are made kinetic and improbabilities are realized. You are younger now than you will ever be. What will you do? Where will you go? Who will you help? 

I close with an old poem about momentum, possibility, and enthusiasm:
Tis The Set Of The Sail – Or – One Ship Sails East
But to every mind there openeth,
A way, and way, and away,
A high soul climbs the highway,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats, 
The rest drift to and fro. 

But to every man there openeth, 
A high way and a low, 
And every mind decideth, 
The way his soul shall go. 

One ship sails East, 
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow, 
'Tis the set of the sails 
And not the gales, 
That tells the way we go. 

Like the winds of the sea 
Are the waves of time, 
As we journey along through life, 
'Tis the set of the soul, 
That determines the goal, 
And not the calm or the strife. 

Author Bio:

Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Columbia Union College (WAU) in Takoma Park, Maryland. He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees–a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

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