It was the dreaded day of my daughter’s attempt at earning her driver’s license. Mind you, the dread did not come from any fear over how she would do, but over the DMV experience itself. To say the least, in spite of the great people who work at those offices, the government mandated red tape makes things decidedly non-efficient and maddeningly frustrating.
Our frustration actually began a week earlier with her first attempt. We live right on the county line, and as such spend time pretty equally in two different counties. We received the information from one county on what we needed to bring. We carefully gathered exactly what was required, took it to the next county over — and were told that we had the wrong information.
So a week later we went to the DMV in our county. That time, the “wrong information” was the right information.
That, though, was obviously not the end of the story. As I suppose most everyone can relate to, when we walked inside we found a packed waiting room, and a tiny handful of people to deal with them.
When my wife finally got up to the counter to get the process started, she was then informed that the officer needed some information about the vehicle itself. Nothing in the information we had previously received mentioned that fact. That necessitated her getting out of line, going out to the car to retrieve said information, and then getting back in line behind the many people that walked in right as she was walking out. Sixty second walk, sixty minute extra delay.
Patience has never been my strongest suit. I am the individual who always waits until the gas tank is nearly empty before filling up. Why? Because if I fill it up when it gets to half a tank, I am making twice as many stops. It is much more efficient time-wise to wait until the tank is nearly empty and fill it up all at once. I also, when signing my name on store credit card readers, sign it with my first initial and an unintelligible squiggly line for a last name. Three seconds saved twice a day for forty years equals 87,600 seconds saved, just over an entire 24 hour day’s worth of time.
I do draw the line at ever writing, texting, or in any way posting “u” instead of spelling out “you.” The grammar Nazi in me takes precedent over my impatience on that one. By the way, on the grammar Nazi note, sale is a noun, sell is a verb, one “loses” his patience, not “looses,” think and thank are two entirely different things, and there is a definite difference between want, won’t, and wont.
But I digress. My point is, what is it in all of us, albeit some more so than others, that recoils at having to sit and wait in an inefficient situation? I believe that one reason for that discomfort is that God has built into each of us somewhat of a sense of how precious time is.
In John 9:4 Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” He was speaking of the fact that he only had about four months left in his public ministry before he was to be crucified. Thirty-three years of life had passed, three years of public ministry were done, and the moments of his life were slipping away like the sands of an hourglass. Knowing that was the case, he healed a man who had been born blind, perfectly mindful of the fact that it would cause the leaders of his people to become even more determined to kill him.
Unlike Jesus, none of us have the luxury of knowing the day of our death. What we do know is that once a day is gone, it can never be gotten back, nor are we guaranteed so much as a single tomorrow. Whatever we are going to do for God, we best set about doing it diligently, efficiently, and passionately.
That lost friend or co-worker you have been meaning to witness to and invite to church? Today, not some hoped for tomorrow. That hurting friend you have been constantly reminding yourself to encourage? Before the sun goes down, not after. That service for God that he has called you to prepare for or to do? You know that you have a now, you do not know if you will ever have a later.
Last week I wrote that we should “make a way,” I suppose the point of this column is summed up in the words, “do it today.” That thought is certainly not original with me, even Benjamin Franklin, in his “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” said, “Have you something to do tomorrow? Do it today.”
Wise words. I intend to frame them and offer copies to pastors, church members, and the DMV.