Thursday, July 31, 2014

666,216 Hours by Mike DeCamp


666,216 is the average number of hours that a man in the United States can expect to live.  (709,640 for women.)  I’m approximately 52.5 years old.  That means I’ve used up somewhere around 460,212 of mine…should I only be average.  Which begs the question: How do I want to use the last 206,004 hours of my life?

Of course, I hope to be above average.  My personal goal is to live to be 100 years and one day old.  But, you just can’t count on ‘beating the house.’  In fact, there are a good number of people who fall short of the average.  So, let’s just say I’ll be average.  How do I want to spend those hours?

Maybe playing Candy Crush?  Nope!

Maybe watching TV?  Not anymore.
I don’t watch TV nearly as much as I used to, but let’s examine that one.  For conjecture sake…because I’ll never figure this out exactly…let’s say that I’ve watched two hours a day for the last 50 years.  Some days and years were much higher than others.  That’s an estimate, and it may be low because I used to watch A LOT of TV.  But, okay…two hours a day for 50 years is 36,525 hours.  Hmmm.  I’ve wasted 1522 days of my limited life sitting in front of the television.  That equals over four years sitting in front of an electronic brain-sucker.

That’s kind of staggering, if you think about it.  And, my guess is most of us don’t.

Sit on a sofa...or, go see this?
Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not opposed to relaxation or entertainment, and I’m not likely to give up TV altogether.  (I need my Walking Dead fixes.)  But, I can tell you, as a guy who has likely crossed the halfway point, I want to be a lot more mindful of how I use up those remaining hours.  I will no longer be donating them to mindlessness.

Frankly, I want to do something worthwhile with them.

I want to create.  I want to see beautiful and interesting places.  I want to worship with zeal.  I want to love deeper.  I want to make a difference in people’s lives.  I want to be available and useful to God.

Living a life well-spent!
I am challenged and inspired by the way that my fellow Christian and friend, Dr. Kent Brantly has devoted his life to serving others.  He could be living a fairly cush life here in the U.S. as a physician.  Nice house.  Nice car.  Maybe a club membership.  Instead, he has been donating himself to a cause where the only reward is the satisfaction of seeing people survive.  Since last fall, he has been working with Samaritan’s Purse at ELWA Hospital in Liberia, West Africa, sharing hope and providing medical care to people that most of the world ignores.  And further, now that he has been stricken with one of the most deadly diseases known to man—Ebola, he still remains committed to his course.  No regrets.  No second-guessing.  He is “praying fervently” for God to save his life, but either way, he has put himself in the Father’s hands.  He is faithful regardless the outcome.  And, based on news reports, still donating himself to others.

Whether he will meet or exceed the average life-span of the US male is very hard to say right now.  The next week or so will likely tell.  But, I can tell you with no hesitation that he has already made more of a difference in this world than most of us ever will.

So, I’m going to make some commitments right now.  I had already put Candy Crush in a cyber-coma.  (Whoever created that game should be…well, I won’t say, it wouldn’t be nice.)  But, I am now declaring it ‘dead to me.’  I had put Words with Friends on hiatus.  That hiatus is now permanent.  TV has been skimmed way down, and will stay that way.

I am going to look forward to my next 206,002 hours with much more intensity.  I will use them with a great deal more intentionality.  (I just gave a couple of them to you.)  And, I will renew my dedication to serving my God.

Now, a question for you…how are you going to use the hours you have left?  Are you ready to make some new, intentional commitments?


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