I recently heard a story about a man who worried he was wasting his life and not spending enough time with his family. He calculated he had about a thousand Saturday’s left in his life span, so he bought a thousand marbles and put them in a jar. Each Saturday morning he would take a marble out and throw it away.
This served to help him visualize how finite time is and how it was ever dwindling. The story resonated with me as I am always looking for reminders to keep me focused on my purpose and mission in life. It’s too easy to let our days quickly pass without focusing on Jesus and building His Kingdom.
I think it could be useful for us to fill our own jar with marbles. We need something to help us see our time on earth is counting down, and every second we are losing opportunities to serve Jesus and serve others. It’s too easy to relax and put off what we should be doing now for another day. From an early age, Jesus understood He had to be about the work of His Father (Luke 2:49). He had to be building the Kingdom. Jesus knew He had a very limited amount of time on earth. In response, he maximized every moment of His life, accomplishing more in a few short years than any other person has ever done with their own lifetime.
There’s no shame in losing your marbles as long as you are doing it intentionally. Time passes for all of us. It’s up to us to choose what we will pursue in our life. God won’t force us to do His will. Instead, He invites us to join Him in building His Kingdom. We have this awesome privilege and opportunity to spend our days in service to our Creator and the King of the Universe. We also have the ability to reject His offer and waste our days in selfish pursuits.
Those of us in the Western world have a relatively easy life, even when it would seem otherwise. Within our ease, it becomes all too simple to fill our days with the unimportant at the expense of the essential. To be clear, only Jesus is essential for our happiness, joy, contentment, and legacy. Who wants to waste the limited time they have been allotted? We were created for a purpose and that should be our only focus.
Marbles can be beautiful things. Giving them away on purpose is a generous thing to do, but losing them because of our own carelessness and inattention is wasteful. So it is with our time. We have a mission. We have a job to do. If you have trouble staying focused on Jesus, why not fill your own jar of marbles? Take one out each week and consider whether you lived the past week in a way that honored your commitment to Christ. Plan how you will spend the next week in focused service to Him and others. Be intentional. Stay focused. Don’t lose your marbles.