I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
“Life’s too short to dance with ugly women.” Such was the motto emblazoned on the cap of a tow truck driver in Texarkana, Texas in the summer of 1992. I’d seen lots of things on ball caps before…allegiance to a favorite team, preference for a particular beverage, or memorialization of a vacation destination, but nothing like this bit of advice. Unfortunately, we met the man wearing this hat under disappointing circumstances. My husband had completed a challenging year of seminary and I had survived my second year of teaching high school sophomores. Our reward was to be a road trip out to Washington D.C. to visit my sister-in-law and her family. As we set out on our cross country trip from Fairview, Texas at the crack of dawn, the CD player in our car blared “The Great Adventure,” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Having saddled up our horses to blaze a trail, we were stopped dead in our tracks before crossing over into Arkansas.
A horrendous clattering came from the engine of our car, and suddenly our Honda Civic came to a complete halt. We coasted to the side of the road, flagged down a friendly passerby, and hitched a ride to the nearest mechanic. We had the car towed in, and the mechanic described a grim situation to us. Turns out a broken timing belt causes major issues with the engine. We decided our best option was to spend every dime we had saved to have the car towed all the way back home, and eventually have the engine rebuilt. And that was when we met our wise friend with the ball cap.
He was a friendly fellow, and was more than agreeable to drive us four hours back home with the condition that he could bring his wife along. By this point, it was already late in the day, so he understandably wanted company for the ride back home. The driver and his wife, who were both healthy-sized folks, sat on either side of my husband and me in the tiny cab of the truck. We had no hope of escaping the cheerful conversation they offered the whole ride home.“Why wouldn’t they be happy,” I reasoned to myself, “They’re earning a hefty fee at our expense.” As a pouty twenty-four-year-old, I didn’t feel like talking or being friendly. But that didn’t deter our new acquaintances. They chatted and regaled us with stories the whole drive home. I realize now that I could have used the time better by listening and learning from those who had journeyed farther than I had at that point in my life. I don’t remember now much of what the tow truck driver and his wife said to us that night, but I have since reflected on the general sentiment of the slogan on his ball cap. Life’s too short.
A person’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Life’s too short to fail to pursue big dreams. My older son will graduate from law school next month. That was a big dream for him. Many late nights and early mornings went into pursuing his dream. I have watched him work hard to obtain this goal, all the while stretching his mind in ways he might have once thought impossible. I can’t wait to see how God uses the fulfillment of this dream for His kingdom purposes. Perhaps you and I have big dreams, too. What’s stopping us from pursuing them? God promises to be faithful in helping us leverage the gifts He has given us to advance His work here on earth if we let Him determine our steps.
Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Psalm 90:12
Life’s too short to neglect to live with intentionality. I am convinced that many of us go about our daily lives just living moment to moment, not really thinking intentionally about what comes next. Jesus Himself was only on earth for thirty-three years, completing his world-changing, death-defeating ministry in the last three. While nothing we will ever do compares to what he came to accomplish, we should think intentionally about how God would have us use the time He has given us here on earth. We would be wise to have our hearts tuned to Him daily in order to pursue His perfect plan for our lives. I know I’m guilty of wasting way too much time on things that will vanish in an instant. I pray for a heart that would seek after that which will last for eternity.
I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. John 13:34
Life’s too short to neglect to express love to other people. I take my loved ones for granted as I hurry through life, knowing they will be there when I finish whatever “urgent” task is staring me down at the moment. Truth is, none of us can be certain when God will call us to our eternal home. What if we took the time each day to make sure the precious ones God has placed in our lives know we love them? A phone call, a text, a handwritten note, or even an unexpected act of kindness goes a long way. It takes time to give of ourselves, but we each have the same 1,440 minutes each day. We just need to choose wisely how to spend it.
Life’s too short to… You fill in the blank. Our friend with the ball cap wisdom really made me think. Life’s definitely too short to disregard the chance encounters God places in our paths. If I could go back, I’d ask the tow truck driver why he chose the slogan he so proudly wore on the front of his cap. Where did he find his joy? What other advice would he give to a pouty twenty-four-year-old riding in the cab of his truck? When we really think about it, life on this earth really is very short. But what about eternity? If we place our faith in Christ, we have an eternity to become the person God wants us to be.