Your Gift of 1,440
Marti Wibbels, MS, LMHC
Today, imagine receiving official notice explaining you’ve qualified for a daily gift of $1,440! (Would you be excited?) Reading the fine print, you see there’s only one catch: you have to find a way to spend every cent of your gift the day it arrives. Could you find ways to spend or invest a daily cash infusion of $1,440?
The good news is this: every day, you already receive 1,440—not in dollars but irretrievable minutes, worth more than money. 24 hours each day, 60 minutes per hour, you’re given this incredible 1,440 gift. Unlike the imaginary cash gift, this treasure is real. And how you spend each day’s 1,440 minutes will determine whether your investment matters or vanishes at the end of the day.
Many are referring to the consequences of the COVID crisis as our “new normal.” If we accept chaos and confusion as “normal,” it’s easy to let our days vanish in insignificance. Instead, despite all of the changes in our lives, we can choose to make each day matter—after all, “normal,” as Patsy Clairmont explains, "is only a setting on a dryer.” So how can we invest our daily 1,440 in healthy ways?
- Plan to succeed. Many of our schedules have changed; some have changed radically. Instead of giving in to the FUD trifecta of fear, uncertainty, or doubt, choose things you can do today. Could you listen to a podcast or TED talk you didn’t have time to check out before? Can you read books or teach your children a game or skill they’d enjoy? If you need a job, prayerfully write down all the things you can do, looking beyond what you’ve done. Then, fine tune your resume, asking God to help you discover a job that incorporates your skill set. Ask friends for ideas.
- Be intentional. Instead of letting your day’s 1,440 “evaporate” into oblivion, wisely choose how you invest your time. Make a schedule that accommodates your new situation. For many, that means adding to their daily time of prayer and studying God’s Word, taking time to exercise, reading books you’ve wanted to read. A new schedule could also include specific times of listening to Christian radio programs, taking online courses, and helping others. There are limitless options—taking food to people who are out of work, helping a neighbor with yard work, making a phone call to a lonely friend, writing a note to encourage someone.
- Focus on the positive. The direction we look is where we’ll eventually end up going. The first of over 500 Bible verses mentioning “eyes” is Genesis 3:5, when Adam and Eve changed their focus from their Creator to Satan, disguised as a serpent. He promised, For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened. Their eyes were opened—but not in a good way. Instead of becoming wise, they were immediately entrapped by a lie. It didn’t seem like looking away from God and focusing on the dazzling serpent could harm them (or their descendants). But the damage was so pervasive it took God’s Son dying on a Cross to reverse it. And where we look today is just as important as where they looked then.
Try this simple experiment: using a tiny a piece of paper (about ½” square), hold it a few inches from your eyes and focus only on that little piece of paper. What do you see? [Not much, right?] Your vision is limited by where you focus. Now, holding that same piece of paper, hold it about a foot from you. Be aware it’s there, but look beyond it, away from it, anywhere else…and you see other things, right?
We can either focus on current problems and concerns
we can focus on the God who loves us and promises to care for us.
Paul talks about this in Romans and Colossians:
With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity (Romans 12:1-2, Phillips).
Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I’m locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I’ll be able to make Christ plain as day to them. Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out (Colossians 4:2-6, MSG).
Focusing on God’s provision can help all of us
wisely enjoy today’s gift of 1,440 minutes!