Time by Doug Meister, Sr. Minister

Time by Doug Meister, Sr. Minister

Yesterday was one of those days when you are reminded of the realities of life and also the end of life. By the time you read this, a number of things will have taken place in the life of our congregation, that point to how the lifespan of persons as well as congregations depends on their use of time.

On Saturday, we will have said our farewells to Reverend Thurmond Coleman, Jr.. We knew him as “T” and as a wonderful addition to our church family. When he provided leadership in worship, he did it with enthusiasm, a sense of humor and a nod to his Baptist heritage. We will miss him greatly.

On Sunday, we will dedicate the stone placed in the cemetery area in honor of Lee Harris and his work in developing our cemetery. We will dedicate two plaques in memory of Agape Circle members, Margarett Ann Phillips and Sally Marcus as well as two butterflies in memory of Bonnie Circle members, Clara Cook and Judy Moore. Completing our time in the garden and cemetery will be the inurnment of Elaine Campbell’s ashes. It will be a sad day, but also a joyful day for we know that these loved people are secure in the presence of God. We miss them all greatly.

It makes me think of some of the words of the ancient Roman philosopher, Seneca. In his work, On the Shortness of Life, he reminds us that “time” is the most valuable asset that we possess. He goes on to tell us that the length of life is not as important as the way that time is lived. Here are a few of Seneca’s own words.

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.” “People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.” “Everyone hustles his life along, and is troubled by a longing for the future and weariness of the present. But the man who … organizes every day as though it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the next day… Nothing can be taken from this life…” “The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” So you must not think a man has lived long because he has white hair and wrinkles: he has not lived long, just existed long.” “Nobody works out the value of time: men use it lavishly as if it cost nothing… We have to be more careful in preserving what will cease at an unknown point.”

Now, it’s time to celebrate an ending and an unknown, but exciting future for JCC!