For a while, I loved watching the introduction; the imagery and sounds of which come readily to mind over twenty years later. Still probably showing in some areas over 50 years after it first came to television screens, the title sequence of the then popular soap opera “Days of our Lives” featured an hourglass, with sand slowly trickling to the bottom against the backdrop of a partly cloudy sky. Along with it, the trademark voice over: “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”
Hourglasses measure the passage of time, a few minutes or an hour, and were commonly used to measure sermons, cooking time, and so on. Today, scaled down models are in practical use as timers for cooking eggs, teaching children how long to brush their teeth, and timing board games, to name a few. When the sand runs out of one end, time is up. If necessary, the hourglass is then inverted to re-start the timing process.
My mind went back to the previously mentioned voice over as I reflected on the words from Proverbs 14:1a, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days” (KJV). Science and common sense tell us that if we eat properly, get in our recommended exercise, and take care of ourselves as best in the other domain of our lives, we improve our chances of living longer. They are many who can testify to the usefulness of such advice. However, in some ways we are simply postponing the inevitable. At the core, there is a frailty and feebleness to our nature that tells us eventually the sand will run out.
Our individual hourglasses are not uniformed; some will have more time than others will. Nevertheless, it is not so much the amount of time (though that is important) as it is what we do with the time we have been given. Christians are not called to live wasted lives but lives of purpose. Paul reminds us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (KJV). We live purposeful lives when we walk in the purpose for which we were created. It is not enough to simply meet a need; it is important to walk in our purpose. Our reality is that we have only limited time in which to do so. For some of us the sand will run out while we are still trying to decide which steps to follow.
The challenge for us is to use our time wisely. To redeem the time to make the most of our time, of every opportunity. Let us purpose not to leave any God-given task undone. For like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. Every day is important. Every minute counts.