Time is precious and remember, you only get one dash.
June 7, 2017, 5:00 AM

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:13-17


Today I am going to ask you to something a little strange.  Before we dig into this passage, I want you to get out a piece of paper. Write on the year you were born, then put a dash and finally write 20_ _.  Obviously, you can’t fill in the blanks, but we’ll get to that in a moment.  Now, stop and look at the sheet in front of you. Life is all about the dash, this little mark is what is put on our tombstone between the date of our birth and the date of our death.  For some, the time between is longer than others. But, regardless we all have a dash.


We love to celebrate the day on the left. As parents, we feel the pressure to go overboard with our children’s birthday parties. People go all out to honor that moment a loved one came into the world. When that day rolls around every year, we eat cake, blow out candles and receive gifts. For as much fanfare is given to that day of one’s life, many of us hate and avoid giving any thought to the date on the right. We might not know when, but the other side of the dash is coming one day too. Yet, people go about their daily business as if they are going to live forever.


Eventually, numbers will take up the space where the blanks reside for the right hand date. We don’t like to hear or think about it, but those numbers are inevitable. This shouldn’t come as any surprise to us.  Once again, look at that sheet of paper. Is there anything you can control on the left hand corner? NO. Now, what about the right hand side, do you have any control over that? NO. But, there is one thing that is written down that you can control. It’s the dash. It’s right now. It’s the years between when you graced this world and when you depart.


The dash represents your life and the time you’ve been given by God to make an impact. It’s the moments you’ve been given to encourage others, make an impact, leave your mark and build a legacy that will last after you are gone. It’s all about the dash. What are you going to do with your dash? What will you do with the time you’ve been given? If, up to this point, you’ve been making much of your own story, don’t worry. There is still time to rewrite your story as long as you drop your pen and allow God to be the author of the tale He is telling. Don’t wait.


Time is precious and remember, you only get one dash. This truth is echoed in today’s passage in James where the author describes the brevity of life.  Coming to grips with the brevity of life should cause two different reactions to erupt within us: reflection and action. How are you going to seize the day that you’ve been given today? How can you encourage someone today? What conversations have you been putting off that need to take place? How will you reflect the love of Christ to others today?


It is important that we steward our dash well. How? By making every day count, cherishing every moment and leveraging the time we’ve been given. But, let’s take it a step further. What will your friends and family say about you at your funeral? What will they say about what was important to you? What do you want your legacy to be? But, keep going with this thought process, to the most important question. What will Jesus say to you about how you invested your short dash for the sake of making His name known? So, I’ll ask you one more time: what are you doing with your dash?


This is my Prayer: Father God, open the eyes of my heart and help me to number this day and to make it count. Lord help to be reminded of the dash and realize that You are asking me to do something with the days I’ve been given. I want my dash to be meaningful.  Jesus I want my dash to make an impact, but not for my glory. Instead I want my dash to reflect the greatness of who You are.  In Your name, Jesus. Amen.