By David Hegg
If you’re like me, you sometimes lie in bed after the alarm has sounded, theoretically debating the benefit of leaving the warm comfort of the bed to get up and take on the day. That 30 seconds turns out to be a microcosm of the way we look at life.
I suppose many folks get up because of obligations. They simply have to get up because their commitments obligate them to do so, whether they like it or not. On the other hand, some of us get up because we can hardly wait to get a jump on the opportunities each day brings. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for folks like me to get up before the alarm sounds because our minds are already running at full speed planning the day. How you feel during the last 30 seconds in bed will depend on whether you view life as an obligation or a privilege.
Here’s why I get out of bed every morning excited to begin the day:
1. I know each day is unique. I came to realize years ago that each day is a unique gift, wrapped up in a 24-hour package. There has never been one like it, and once it is gone, there will never, ever be another one that matches it. Someone has said, “Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is cash, so spend it wisely.” I get up every morning with great anticipation to see what the day will hold, what opportunities it will present, and what can be learned through all it brings.
2. I don’t know how many more days I’ll have. This is a new feeling for me now that I’m easing out of middle age and sliding down the hill into pre-senility. When you realize how short life really is, each day takes on new significance. Each day presents one more chance to leave a useful and significant mark on the world. It is one more opportunity to do something good, help someone grow, and end the day with a sense of accomplishment. I’ve watched as ALS and Alzheimer’s have taken the bodies and brains of loved ones well before their time. So I look at every day this side of the grass when my mind and body are still functioning as time to be used well, with an eagerness borne of wisdom.
3. I love what I get to do each day. I am so grateful that my days are filled with people, places, and tasks that make good deposits in my soul. When my son was in his formative years, he said to my wife, “When I grow up I want to be like Dad and have a job I love, that I look forward to every day.”
Yes, I do consider myself one of the truly blessed in our society. I truly love what I get to do. But in reality, we all have the opportunity to love our days, if we see our jobs and our relationships and our abilities as gifts from God through which we can bring about a positive result in our society.
There are two kinds of people: those who get up looking to get something from the day, and those who get up looking to offer something to others through their lives. Selfish people are never satisfied, while selfless people most often enjoy the wealth of friendship, and real satisfaction in life regardless of their circumstances.
4. There is nothing more satisfying than playing a significant part in making the lives of those around you a little better. When you view each day as a unique opportunity to offer something good to your world, you’ll find a satisfaction that can’t be bought at any price. Ask the nurse who helps someone take their first step in rehab, or the coach who watches a little girl score her first goal. Ask the teacher who receives a letter from a student of 10 years ago telling him how those years in his class made all the difference.
Sooner or later we learn that the best things in life aren’t things. The best things in life are people, and the lives we impact for good turn out to be our very best accomplishments.
5. There is nothing more eternally beneficial than living each day for the glory of God. We all live with some sense of purpose. At times we all live for ourselves since selfishness comes pre-installed on the human hard drive. Sadly, we never fully erase it. Yet, over time we either come to live for ourselves to a greater extent, or learn the greater value of living beyond ourselves in pursuit of something far greater than ourselves. For me it is to understand, recognize and champion all that God is and offers to those who would follow his word and obey his will.
So, when the alarm goes off tomorrow, see it as a gift and leap into it with all you’ve got. And instead of wishing someone to “have a great day” encourage them to join you in “making it a great day.” After all, you’re already out of bed, so you may as well make the most of it.
Local resident David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays.