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
There are certain movies that leave a lasting impression on us, introducing characters that you never forget. One such movie is the 1991 thriller, The Silence of the Lambs. More than twenty years have passed since its release, but movie goers still remember Anthony Hopkins and his Oscar winning portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. We recall the way he spoke; formally and with an elegance that masked his darker character. We envision the iconic images of him in his glass walled cell, peering between the bars as he spoke with Clarice Starling, or being transported on a truck dolly in a straitjacket and a mask with steel bars covering his mouth. For Hopkins, this was the pinnacle of his career, the character for whom he would be most lauded and with whom he would be most associated. But what many people don’t realize is that when you add it up, of the film’s 118 minute running time Hannibal Lecter is only on screen for sixteen minutes.
Talk about making every moment count! You don’t need to be in every scene to leave your mark on a movie. Hopkins proves that character development, the content of the script and the feelings conveyed by the actor matter far more than the screen time. In film, as well as in life, substance is more valuable than length.
According to averages reported by the CDC, we can expect to live for 78.7 years. Of course, that is an average and not a guarantee. While some of us will live to see 80, 90, or even 100 years, others will only live 40, 20, or even 5 years. This is a sobering reminder that we must strive to make every moment of every day count. Life is precious, so take time to cherish it, to live it, and to serve and glorify God through the many gifts He has given. Anthony Hopkins’s acting career spans 50 years, but he will ultimately be remembered for 16 minutes. When you look back on your life, what 16 minutes would you offer up as your greatest moment? Live your life in such a way that when faced with answering that question, you simply cannot pick only one moment.
So take some time today, and every day, to share your joy with the people God has placed in your life; all of them – even those of us who make you crazy or don’t necessarily deserve it. They are the canvas on which our masterpiece will be painted and the instruments that will play our song. As Paul instructs the church at Ephesus, make the most of these opportunities to fulfill the role that God has given you in the kingdom. He will guide your steps and bring you peace as you extend the love of Christ to a world that is desperate to receive it.
God has blessed us with life, not time. Embrace the former as you maximize the latter.