It was a moment that literally changed my thinking. I was in my second year of full-time ministry at a little Church in northern Indiana. We were trying to update the Church building with a coat of new paint. There was a planned work day at the Church building and several people showed up to help. I was on the crew who were taping and doing the prep work for the painters.
I went into the kitchen area and I removed all of the light switch plates and then I moved on to the electrical plates. On one wall I encountered a stubborn screw holding the plate to the wall. There had been some moisture that caused corrosion and the screw would not budge. I tried different screwdrivers with no real luck. I bet I spent more than 30 minutes trying to get that one stupid plate off the wall.
Soon James walked through the room. James worked construction for a living and I was sure he would know what to do. I called him over and explained my predicament. He looked at me and grabbed my screwdriver. He slid it in behind the plate on the side and with one quick motion he pulled the plate off the wall. The little plastic plate snapped and popped and broke into 3 or 4 pieces leaving only the screw exposed.
James looked at me and said simply, “They still make them … and they are cheap.” Then he walked away. I took out my pliers and removed the screw and went on about my work.
I have thought about that moment repeatedly over my life. It has left me with this one lingering question about my actions, “Is what I am about to do, worth my time?”
There are thousands of things that we can give our time too. Each one might be productive in some small way, but only a few things are really worth my time. Me spending an hour to removed a 49 cent plastic plate was a pure waste of time and energy.
Is it possible that you are invested in projects that are not worth your time? Your hour of work is only worth 49 cents of results? I think that might be why Paul tells the Church at Ephesus in chapter 5:15-16 (NIV) “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”
God only gives us a limited time to make an impact with our lives. How are we using that time? Are we invested in wise endeavors that produce worthwhile results or are we wasting our time to save 49 cents?