“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity…” Ephesians 5:15-16
I heard a story on the radio the other day. It was about a man who wanted to help his wife with some household chores. So, he watered her plants. One day, while he was watering, she came out and started laughing at him. When he asked what was so funny, she just said, “You are! You’re always joking around.” It took him a minute before he realized that he was actually watering a plastic plant. He didn’t tell her that while he was trying to make her smile, it wasn’t in the way she thought. He had, in fact, watered that same plant several times in the previous weeks.
The story made me think about my life. How much time do I waste worrying over things that are out of my control? How much time do I spend investing in things that don’t really matter? How much time do I spend watering fake flowers?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.
We think it shouldn’t be, but it is.
Things can look so agreeable, so appealing, so attractive. The job… the yardwork… the hobbies… They can all appear so good, and they can be, in their own way. Even flake flowers are beautiful.
But after days, and months, and years, sometimes we look up and realize that we have been wasting all of our time nurturing things that don’t need nourishment at all.
And then we regret. We regret not writing that note, not sending that text, not making that call. We regret all the times we failed to invest in relationships, the real flowers of our lives.
Over the past few months, I have, more than ever, pondered my life. I have a lot that I regret. But, I can tell you what I don’t. I don’t regret staying home with my children. I am so thankful that God gave me that opportunity. I don’t regret reading to my children. I have such good memories of our story times together. I don’t regret all the nights I cheered them on at the ball park. I don’t regret the time I spent with them. In fact, I wish I had spent more.
And there’s the rub. Because these days I find that I am spending less time than ever with the two boys I still have in the house, and it breaks my heart. I know they are growing up, and I know that life must go on. But I also know, now more than ever, that time is a precious commodity, and I don’t want to waste it on things that don’t matter.
Make no mistake. It goes beyond motherhood. God has given us a divine responsibility to be His hands and feet to the people around us—our spouses, our children, our family, our friends, our co-workers, even strangers. We are meant to be a witness to them of His love, His mercy, His grace. But how can we tell them about God’s love, if we don’t display it? How will they know God cares, if we don’t?
Relationships, like real flowers, require cultivating. They require time.
Life is short. We need to smell the roses. But we need to water them too. Let’s just make sure they aren’t the plastic kind.
How have people invested in your life recently? How can you invest in someone’s life today?