“…Not Throwin’ Away My Shot”
Two weeks ago, Vicki and I went to the Straz Center here in Tampa and saw performance of Hamilton. It was at once powerful, moving, challenging, enlightening, touching. Alexander Hamilton of course was born in the Caribbean. He was made an orphan. Became an immigrant to American shores. He was a genius. Graduated from college at age 19. He became the right-hand man to General George Washington, was given a command during the Revolutionary War. Became the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. And gave us the American monetary system. And throughout the play, there are multiple songs that are repeated. But most notably, and most often, is the song where Hamilton sings, “And I'm not throwing away my shot.”
Not throwing away my opportunity. Not throwing away my time. Carpe diem: that famous Latin phrase seems to be the motto of his life. Seize the day. Now here's the apostle Paul’s inspired version of that:
“Make the most of every opportunity…”
Ephesians 5.16a (NLT)
Or, as the translation I grew up with says, “making the most of your time.” Time. It's the one element that every person on this planet has in common. We may not speak the same language, eat the same food, salute the same flag. We may not understand each other's culture or faith or politics. But we all have the same amount of time in a day. An hour is the same in America as it is in Europe. As it is in Africa. As it is in Asia. Time is the same for all of us. The clock moves at exactly the same pace during the movie as it does during a sermon (although I acknowledge it may not seem that way). Time doesn't move faster in the city and slower in the country. The homeless man in the street and the doctor in the hospital, they both have the same amount of time.
And time hasn't changed since creation. “In the beginning God created…” Well, those may be the five most important words in the Bible. And in the beginning, God started the clock of life and the calendar of time by creating evening and morning. A minute then is a minute now. An hour then is an hour now.
So why make the most of your opportunities? Why make the most of your time? Well Paul said, “because the days are evil” (Eph 5.16b). Now there's much that could be said about that, and much has been said about that. But the implication is clear. We need to get about doing what is good and what is right. Putting things off is destructive. How many academic careers have been derailed by procrastination? How many friendships fractured? How many spiritual lives lost because time and opportunity slipped away, never to return? No wonder the psalmist sang:
This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Or, as Mr. Hamilton might say, “And I'm not throwin’ away my shot.”
Just a thought.