No. 1044



Have you noticed, as I have, that everyone wants a little of your time? The famous Scottish essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) once said, “Time is the illimitable, silent, never-resting thing … rolling, rushing on, swift, silent, like an all-embracing ocean tide, on which we and all the universe swim.”
In reality, time is the most precious thing we have. Once it’s gone, it is gone forever and can never be replaced. And to add still another dimension to validate the value of our time, God in his mercy never tells us exactly how much time we have to spend on this small planet that we call Earth.
The reason I have shared these thoughts with you is because of something a friend sent me the other day that helped me realize the true value of my time. After I share the following, hopefully it will cause you to think about your life, your time and whether or not you are using it wisely and making the most of it. To be sure, we only have one chance to make a difference in this world, and it is also our own choice to determine what is most important to us.
What this friend sent me is something I will call a “fable” about Alexander the Great. It begins: On his deathbed, Alexander summoned his army generals and told them his three ultimate wishes. No. 1 – The best doctors should carry his coffin. No. 2 – The wealth he had accumulated (money, gold, precious stones) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery. No. 3 – His hands should be let loose, so they hang outside the coffin for all to see.
With this, one of his generals asked Alexander to explain. Here is his response:
To his first wish, “I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that in the face of death, even the best doctors have no power to heal.”
To his second wish, “I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, will stay on earth.”
To his third wish, “I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted and that is: TIME. We do not take to our grave any material wealth. TIME is our most precious treasure because it is limited. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time. When we give someone our time we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life! The best present we can give to our family and friends is our time.”
They say an honest confession is good for the soul and I will confess that my priorities have been wrong in some areas of my life. In most ways I have been successful, but I have failed in other ways, and this is especially true when it comes to my children. If I had it to do over, given what I know now, I would certainly change my priorities with respect to my time in order to spend more time with them, and especially with my grandchildren.
One the things I truly admire about my wife Janis, who I recently married, is the great relationship she has with her children and grandchildren. We see those who live nearby often, and she keeps in touch regularly by telephone and Facebook with those who live in other states. She has promised to help me in this area, and I know she will.
Here I am reminded of something I heard a while back: In the history of the human race there is no record of someone ever saying on their death bed that they wish they had spent more time at work. While I have no way of knowing, could your situation be similar to mine with regards to your time and your family? You may rest assured … The Clock is Ticking.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)