By Lynn Jones
Jim Croce was an unusual talent. He had an appealing voice and was a creative songwriter who had a way with words. He wrote a haunting song that I still enjoy hearing entitled “Time in a Bottle.” Some of his words are: “If I could save time in a bottle,/ The first thing that I’d like to do/ Is to save every day/ Till eternity passes away/ Just to spend them with you./ If I could make days last forever/ If words could make wishes come true/ I’d save every day like a treasure and then,/ Again, I would spend them with you.”
The lyrics are appealing. They also are ironic. Jim Croce tragically died at the age of 30 in a plane crash after singing those words in a concert at my alma mater, Northwestern State in Natchitoches, Louisiana. In spite of his longing to save time in a bottle, he could not do it. Neither can we.
Time marches on for all of us. It’s been said that life is like a taxi. The meter keeps ticking whether you are going somewhere or just standing still. And the clock keeps running on our lives regardless of whether we are making any progress or not.
Time stops for none of us. I heard of a woman who was asked by a friend when her birthday was. She said, “It’s on April 12.” The friend said, “What year?” She said, “Every year.” Have you noticed? They do come every year.
With every passing year, time grows more precious for all of us. A ninety-year-old man went to see his doctor about various ailments that he was having. He pressed the doctor for some solutions to his physical problems. The doctor said, “I can’t make you any younger.” The man said, “I don’t want to get any younger. I want to get older.” That’s a common desire.
Our days have been likened to identical suitcases. They are all the same size, but some people pack more into them than others.
Paul said in Ephesians 5:16 that we should redeem the time. We should buy up every moment by investing something of lasting importance in it. Paul demonstrated how to do that in his own life by his devotion to Christ. He said in Philippians 3:13-14, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
The psalmist prayed to the Lord, “Put my tears into thy bottle” (Ps. 56:8). But there is no record of anyone asking God to put our days into a bottle. Days can’t be saved. They have to be redeemed by doing the most important things in them. What are you doing to redeem the days of your life?
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.