Time's Effect

Mercy Otis Warren, in her poem "To A Young Lady," urged the lady to --
Come, and attend, my charming maid;
See how the gayest colours fade;
As beauteous paintings lose their dye,
Age sinks the luster of your eye.
With such words, Warren attends to the established fact that beauty, as with all things of life, fades.  As time ticks, fading occurs one second at a time. 

Near countless words of literature, works of poetry, and well-crafted lyrics decry the unstoppable force of time.  The cries remind me of the weary tone of Ecclesiastes. 

Yet an acknowledgement of the force of time need not be stated with negativity.  The psalmist said about human beings . . .

They are like a breath;
    their days are like a fleeting shadow.

Psalm 144:4 (NIV)

Yet he introduced those words with . . .

Lord, what are human beings that you care for them,
    mere mortals that you think of them?

Psalm 144:3 (NIV)

Adding his voice to that of the psalmist, James wrote . . .

13 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.” 14 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.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

James 4:13-17

Within his words we find a grand summary of the answer to the oft-asked question of purpose - "What should I do with my time?"

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
James 4:17 (NIV)

What should we do?  Do the good we know we ought to do. 

Mercy Warren agreed . . .

What then shall mortals of an hour,
But bend submissive to his power;
And learn at wisdom's happy love,
Nature's great author to adore.

What good ought you do?  What good do you know you should do?
Apologize to your spouse?
Generously share your finances?
Actually say "I love you"?
Actually love?
Flee your addiction?
Serve when asked to volunteer?
Leave that unholy relationship?
As God leads you to answer the question of "What?"
"bend submissive to his power;
and learn at wisdom's happy love."

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