Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. [Ephesians 5:15-21]
Apparently we will meet about 100,000 people during our lifetime, some we will remember, and others we will forget. We encounter different people during different stages of our lives; some are with us for a while and others just in passing. The time in between our hellos and goodbyes can be just moments, years or for the long haul.
Often it feels like time spent mostly is just time passing, not really engaging, preoccupied in some way with things such as anxieties and obsessions. I find myself half listening to someone as they speak without giving my full attention. But people know if you’re really interested in what they’re saying, like children, who simply know if you’re attention to them is out of duty.
The ‘in between’ times spent with family is sometimes hard, having the best of intentions, but something always seems to get in the way — the goodbyes end up empty, when I wished they meant much more.
As Ephesians 5 says, it is time lost, and opportunities wasted because we have been unwise, forgetting to ask God to help us see with his insight, forgetting to walk by faith in God’s provision. Instead we are numb to his Spirit and consumed by worldly desires, missing out on what God has given us to love and serve our neighbour.
As it was shared in the sermon ‘The more substance in our relationships the harder it is to say goodbye’. Being out of sight should not be out of mind; this is a real challenge and test of genuine relationships.