I have been performing the same ritual every weekend for a few decades now. Old towels come down and get tossed into the hamper. New towels, still with a hint of bleach smell, get hung nice and fresh on the bathroom rods.
On Friday night, I went through the routine. Once more I lamented the need for bleach and wistfully recalled what beautiful, saturated colors the towels used to be. (Note to the bride-to-be: Register for white linens for the bathroom.)
The changing of the towels meant a week was over and a new week beginning.
Was this all there was to life?
A week of my life passed by, and the only ceremony warranted was a short walk from master bathroom to linen closet?
I prayed as I hung the new towels, Lord, before these towels come down and the next clean set goes up, help me do meaningful work that has eternal effects for your kingdom.
A week can go fast, especially when your X-ing the days on the calendar until your boy leaves for college. And I am a master at wasting time between showers.
One shower. Two showers. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven.
Paul tells the followers of Christ:
Be very careful, then, how you live –not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV)
Making the most of an opportunity –like the way my son can drain every drop of hot water out of a water tank.
Be very careful, or you’ll go from one set of towels to the next without stepping your whole body into the openings God puts in front of you.
Some of the biggest opportunities during the week come disguised as little moments we have to care about our people well. Like Friday when Caleb and I had to make a run to the dump. I could feel the temptation to be preoccupied with my own thoughts while we made the 10-minute drive. Instead I made an effort to enjoy the time in the truck with my son. I worked to make conversation. It was a special time together, and it so easily could not have been.
Later that night I hesitated when Matt invited me to walk down the street to look at the blue moon. It was late, and I had been heading to bed. But I said yes, and such a romantic time we had, as we watched the moon crest over Mount Aeneas on a perfect summer evening in the Rockies.
So many openings in a day to do what matters.
Every opening a choice to say yes or no. To go or stay. To be generous or hold back.
Paul says to be careful, and that word means to keep your eyes open. Be discerning and perceptive.
Watch for moments when you can love well and do good.
When we towel off next time, let’s use that moment to pray that God will open our eyes during the next 24 hours of our lives. May the Lord help us stay hyper-alert to our circumstances throughout the day, so that we can make the most of every conversation, every chore, and every opportunity for service.