Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This following piece, taken from the book "Beaten Paths", is so practical and I can apply it to my work, or to any part of my life.

"Finding ourselves in this mighty stream of life that carries us onward so precipitately from year to year, our great problem is how to utilize its force in advancing all our interests. Until we form the purpose of making time contribute to the attainment of some definite end, its volume will continue to roll along without any benefit to us. Here is the stream: what do you propose to do with it? What do you wish to accomplish with this life of yours that is slipping so rapidly away? To what end will you devote your time? This is indeed the question of questions, and on the right answering of it turns the prosperity of the future.
There is an industry that may bring to a man no permanent benefit, allowing him to go out of the world as poor as when he entered it. We scorn the Emperor Domitian for forsaking the interests of his great empire to perfect himself in the sport of killing flies; but what can be said of those who forsake the highest and noblest interests that any human can cherish, simply that they may perfect themselves in industries or accomplishments that are of no permanent advantage.
Having determined to put time to some worthy use, our next duty consists in the formation of some plan by which the various interests of life may be so adjusted to one another as to contribute to the realization of our main purpose. How much time shall be given to work; how much to play; how much to study and to social entertainment: how much to works of charity and religion? If you would use the force of the current, you must learn to distribute its energy aright.
A wise and well considered plan prevents the minor affairs of life from encroaching upon its main interest, and serves to economize time itself. Without a plan, trifling matters are apt to monopolize the attention; and at the conclusion of every separate duty or diversion, many valuable moments will be lost in considering what we should do next."

Photo by Birte Ragland


Mel said...

So I guess the question is, what is our main purpose? I believe it's to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. So how do I glorify God? I believe one way is to find out who He created me to be, and once I find out, to be that person whole-heartedly.

Any living thing glorifies God when it does what He created it to do. Trees glorify Him by growing, producing fruit, providing shade, etc.

I find that when I have a well-organized rigid plan, it almost always goes awry. But when I start each day praying for God's will to be done and for His glory to be revealed in every moment of that day, I find He takes me off into all kinds of different little unforeseen, unplanned-for paths, and each day becomes this grand and glorious adventure.

My plan is to glorify God - to eat, and drink, and breath, and read, and absorb, and live Him in ever-increasing measures every moment of every day - whatever that looks like, and the rest is up to Him. :)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

Very interesting post.

It deals with time management, it deals with our aims and aspirations, it touches upon what we should do with this life, it touches upon what is permanent and what is temporary and in fact the entire gamut of things we should do and should not do to make this life useful , profitable, enjoyable, interesting and noteworthy. Will we leave our foot prints on solid rock to remain for ever or on the shores of the sea only to be washed away by the next incoming wave?

In this connection it will be interesting to note the philosophy of William Wordsworth who says that we have all come from God and we have to go back to HIM after a short sojourn in this world. Here we live in a state of forgetfulness or unconsciousness and the earth acts as a foster mother and offers us many temptations. The divine spark can be seen in children but as they grow up this divinity becomes a distant memory.

Well, everyone agrees that our life should be planned, we should have a schedule so as to avoid wasting our precious time on unnecessary things which will not further our aims and ambitions. People who stuck their interests in spite of the monotony, long hours, insurmountable obstacles succeeded in leaving a permanent imprint on this earths history. All great men we revere are of this kind. They persisted and persevered in the fields which they like with consistency and clock work precision. The majority of us take life as it comes and do our best to enjoy it and in the process we don’t really achieve anything concrete in this world.

The fact remains that what ever we achieve in this world, we cannot take it with us when we die. We came with nothing and we will go with nothing. Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, will not be able to take his billions when he dies.

Now the question arises whether Bill Gates is better than others. To some extent yes. He can do a lot for the suffering masses in the world than what we can do with our limited resources. He can do Gods work better than us. He may not be able to eat better than us with all his money. But he can feed the poor, provide shelters for the poor, he can provided medical assistance to the poor and so on. In other words, he will find favor with God more than us. He has used the talents given to him by God in the best possible way while we have frittered away our talents.

I will be glad to hear your comments on this.

Best wishes :)

FCB said...

Hi Mel,
I am thrilled that you and Joseph put so much thought into this quote. I'm humbled to see how both of you are such deep thinkers and approach each post with careful consideration. That is very gratifying. The reason I choose a post is for the enjoyment of discussion, like you mentioned before a joy shared is doubled.

My take on this quote is he addresses this to people that have some understanding to what their main purpose is in most areas of their lives, and this is encouragement, not to form a rigid system, but to learn to prioritize so the incidentals in life don't overwhelm our main goals. We want to pray, but any family person knows we cannot pray without interruption without some planning.
Where I work I wear many hats and I spend a considerable amount of time listing my priorities so the continual flow of trivial distractions do not sabotage my main goals. I think this post is addressing this kind of thing in general.
It reminds me of the analogy where a person sees babies being swept down a river, one after another; the first impulse is to save as many as you can by swimming out to catch them, but it may be better to run upstream and find where they are falling in and make the remedy there. So I think he is not recommending a system but rather a way of thinking and approaching life. That’s my first blush,

Hi Joseph,
At the end of your comment you ask what I think of your thoughts; well I think that the more I get to know you the more I realize what a philosopher you truly are.
I love your comments and find them insightful and enlightening.
I think you got far more out of this quote than I did and I'm glad I posted it just to read Mel's comments and yours.

Your comments about the wealth of Bill Gates are evocative as well. No question, money has great power for good or ill, and when God directs great wealth, it can give eyes to the blind and feet to the lame, both physically and spiritually.

This is blogging at its best.
Thanks Joseph, can't wait to find another post to hear your comments.
God bless,