The story is told of a man who rushed into a suburban railroad station one morning, and, almost breathlessly, asked the ticket agent: “When does the 8:01 train leave?”
“At 8:01,” was the answer.
“Well,” the man replied, “it’s 7:59 by my watch, 7:57 by the town clock, and 8:04 by the station clock. Which am I to go by?”
“You can go by any clock you wish,” said the agent, “but you can’t go by the 8:01 train, for it has already left.”
God’s time is moving forward hour by hour, minute by minute. There are multitudes who seem to think that they can live by any schedule they choose and that, in their own time, they can turn to God. But His time is the right time. Now it may be later than they think. Soon it may be too late. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of Salvation.” (2Cor.6:2)
If you had a bank that credited your account each morning with $86,400, that carried no balance from day to day, allowed you to keep no cash in your account, & finally every evening cancelled whatever part of the amount you had failed to use during the day, what would you do? Draw out every cent–of course!
Well, you have such a bank & its name is “Time”. Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it rules off–as lost–whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purposes. It carries no balances. It allows no balances. It allows no overdrafts. Each day the bank named “Time” opens a new account with you. Each night it burns the records of the day. If you fail to use the day’s deposits the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against tomorrow. You must live in the present–on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness & success!
A teacher is late unless he’s a half-hour early.
You are what you have been becoming.
So often do the spirits of great events stride on before the events, & in today already walks tomorrow.–Coleridge
If you want your dreams to come true, don’t oversleep.
The clock of life is wound but once, & no man has the power to know just when the clock will stop; at late, or early hour. Now is the only time we own to do His precious Will. Don’t wait until tomorrow; for the clock may then be still.
Time is God’s gift to mortal man;
It is that fleeting little span
Between our birth & Heaven’s door
Where we begin God’s evermore
When time is o’er.
How then should we our time employ,
In service, or, in passing joy?
Can we afford to throw away
And squander time in passing play,
O men of clay?
–Rev. R. E. Neighbour, D.D.
You may delay, but time will not.–Benjamin Franklin
Said yesterday to to-morrow:
“When I was young like you,
I, too, was fond of boasting
Of all I meant to do.
But while I fell a-dreaming
Along the pleasant way,
Before I was scarcely knew it,
I found I was to-day!
“And as to-day, so quickly
My little course was run,
I had not time to finish
One-half the things begun.
Would I could try it over,
But I can ne’er go back;
A yesterday forever,
I now must be, alack!
“And so, my good to-morrow,
If you would make a name
That history shall cherish
Upon its roll of fame.
Be all prepared & ready
Your noblest part to play
In those new fleeting hours
When you shall be to-day.”
Edwin Forrest bluntly exclaimed to an actor who was late for rehearsal, “Sir, you are late. You have taken from these ladies & gentlemen that which Almighty God Himself could not restore to them–their time!”
You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.
Planning by schedule does not imply all work & no play: It merely provides that neither is overlooked & that each is in the right proportion.
To comprehend a man’s life, it is necessary to know not merely what he does, but also what he purposely leaves undone. There is a limit to the work that can be got out of a human body or a human brain, & he is a wise man who wastes no energy on pursuits for which he is not fitted; & he still wiser who, from among the things that he can do well, chooses & resolutely follows the best.–William E. Gladstone
Voltaire, the famous Frenchman, was a dwarf in body & a giant in intellect. In his “Zadig, a Mystery of Fate”, is found the following question put to Zadig by the Grand Magi: “What, of all things in the World, is the longest & the shortest, the swiftest & the slowest, the most divisible & the most extended, the most neglected & the most regretted, without which nothing can be done, which devours all that is little, & enlivens all that is great?”
Here is Zadig’s answer: “Time. Nothing is longer, since it is the measure of Eternity. Nothing is shorter, since it is insufficient for the accomplishment of your projects. Nothing is more slow to him that expects; nothing more rapid to him that enjoys. In greatness it extends to infinity, in smallness it is infinitely divisible. All men neglect it; all regret the loss of it; nothing can be done without it. It consigns to oblivion whatever is unworthy of being transmitted to posterity, & it immortalises such actions as are truly great.” Time is Man’s most precious asset.
The most embarrassing self-survey I ever made, & I’ve made lots of them, was one New Year’s day when I counted the blank spaces I had left in my life the day before. Most of the blank spaces were not my fault; but it was my neglect that I had not realised they were good places to get things done.
The time spent dressing is apparently unavoidable, but I also learned it need not be a blank space. Bewhiskered George Bernard Shaw reads standing up while dressing & undressing. And fat, rheumatic Catherine de Medici, oblivious to all modesty, gave audiences on state business while she was dressing.
Red-headed, diminutive Sarah Bernhardt was another woman dynamo of energy who got things done. Always in a hurry, she always used her time well. Modesty did not prevent her from making stage plans with managers & authors while she was in her bath tub; as a concession to modesty, however, she sprinkled powdered starch in the water to make it opaque, which gave rise to the legend that she bathed in milk.
Dressing, like shaving, may keep both your hands busy, but you can always use your head to think.
Eating also seems to be unavoidable, but mealtime need not be a blank space. In monasteries the monks meditate or take turns reading aloud. Big-nosed Charlemagne had books read to him at meals though he was no monk–merely an obscure king from an unknown birthplace who founded the Holy Roman Empire.
Johann Strauss, the waltz king, wrote his “Acceleration Waltzes” on the back of a menu card while eating in a Vienna restaurant. He did not allow blank spaces in his life, & his wife finally left him because he wrote music at the dinner table instead of encouraging her idle gossip.
Harriet Beecher Stowe had an absent-minded college professor for a husband & a large family to care for. There were boarders, too, but she did not have kitchen help. A neighbour came into her Maine kitchen one day & found her kneading bread dough, holding a pencil between her teeth. She was writing a book in the blank spaces of her kitchen work, a book which freed her from kitchen work, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.
I had not looked upon time spent in the bath tub as a blank space until I learned that William Osler, the great physician, read while he soaked himself. Stocky Enrico Caruso, at the height of his fame, rehearsed while taking a bath; an accompanist played a piano just outside the door. And didn’t Archimedes discover how to determine the purity of the gold in King Heiro’s crown while he was deep in water & active thought at the same time? So now I review facts I have recently read & want to remember the names & faces of people I have recently met while lathering or showering. (Frederick the Great kept bath time from making a blank space in his life by going for years & years without washing himself!)
Shaving I had previously decided was a waste of time, so grew a set of whiskers. But perhaps I was hasty in doing this. Emil Ludwig, the biographer, works while he shaves. He keeps a note pad near his shaving mirror & jots down his shaving ideas. Theodore Roosevelt conducted conferences as he was shaved by the White House barber.
The traffic snarl that held me up a few moments was not my fault. But when Noel Coward was caught in a taxicab by a traffic jam he wrote his popular song, “I’ll See You Again”. Nor did Arthur Brisbane let a traffic delay make a blank space in his life. He dictated his famous editorials into a dictating machine he carried in his automobile or read an encyclopedia that was part of the automobile’s equipment. So now I always carry a book in my automobile, & one blank space in my life has been eliminated.
Thomas A. Edison, the electrical wizard, had only a few months of formal schooling. His family had neither the influence nor the cash to help him along. Almost on his own he made himself one of the World’s greatest inventors.
Everyone has heard the stories of how he used to get along on short amounts of sleep during the intense periods when an invention was being rushed to completion. Few know, however, that it was the deaf wizard’s habit to be up & at work by 6:30 each morning. He did a couple hour’s work every day before other budding inventors had gotten up.
He did not get along on small amounts of sleep. He averaged 7-1/2 hours to 8-1/2 hours of sleep out of the 24. But during the intense periods he would take less of this at night & have numerous catnaps during the day. Early rising does not necessarily mean that one gets less sleep. Going to bed early at night makes up the difference before it is lost.
The modern use of electricity has turned night into day for many people. They stay up later, enjoying the glamour & entertainment afforded by electrical lights. Unquestionably, they would be more efficient if they got up early instead of staying up so late.
A prayer for today: This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it–or use it for good, but what I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it! When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, & not loss; good, & not evil; success, & not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price that I have paid for it.–W. Heartsill Wilson.
Procrastination is one of the Devil’s favourite weapons besides discouragement. If he can’t discourage you from doing it at all, he just gets you to postpone it & put it off: “Do it some other time! Do it later! You’ve got some more important things to do right now, do them first & do that later!”
One way to take care of the future is work on it NOW!
If you want to get a favour done by some obliging friend,
And want a promise safe and sure
On which you may depend,
Don’t go to him who always has
Much leisure time to plan,
But if you want your favour done,
Just ask the busy man.
The man of leisure never has
A moment he can spare;
He’s busy “putting off” until
His friends are in despair;
But he whose every waking hour
Is crowded full of work,
Forgets the art of wasting time–
He cannot stop to shirk.
So when you want a favour done,
And want it right away,
Go to the man who constantly
Works twenty hours a day.
He’ll find a moment, sure, somewhere
That has not other use,
And fix you while the idle man
Is framing an excuse.
Most of us spend a lot of time dreaming of the future, never realising that a little of it arrives each day.
Great opportunities come to those who make the most of small ones.
Opportunity has the uncanny habit of favouring those who have paid the price of years of preparation.
In the orchard of opportunity, it is better to pick the fruit than to wait for it to fall.
God makes opportunities, but He expects us to hunt for them.
A minister of the Gospel determined on one occasion to preach on the text, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of Salvation.” While in his study thinking, he fell asleep & dreamed that he was carried into Hell & sat down in the midst of a conclave of lost spirits. They were assembled to devise means whereby they might get at the souls of men.
One rose & said, “I will go to the earth & tell men that the Bible is all a fable, that it is not divinely appointed of God.” “No, that will not do.” Another said, “Let me go: I will tell men that there is not God, no Saviour, no Heaven, no Hell.” “No, that will not do; we cannot make men believe that”, added a spirit.
Suddenly one arose & with a wise mien suggested, “No, I will journey to the World of men, & tell them that there is a God, that there is a Saviour, that there is a Heaven–yes, & a Hell, too; but I’ll tell them there is NO HURRY; tomorrow will do.” And they sent him.
A dear old lady from the country went for the first time on a railway journey of about fifty miles through an interesting, beautiful region. She had looked forward to this trip with great pleasure. She was to see so much, but it took her so long to get her baskets & parcels right, to get her skirt adjusted, her seat comfortably arranged, the shades & shutters right, the anxious questions about all the things she had left behind answered, that she was just settling down to enjoy the trip when they called out the name of her station & she had to get up & hustle out! “Oh, my!” she said, “if I had only known that we would be there so soon I wouldn’t have wasted my time in fussing!” Dear friend, the wheel of time is flying; the last station is at hand; these things are so trifling. Get your mind of the main business of life; live as you will wish to have lived when you hear the call of the last station, & don’t waste any more time “fussing”.
Archias, the magistrate of Thebes, was sitting with many mighty men drinking wine. A messenger came in bringing him a letter, informing him of a conspiracy against his life & warning him to flee. Archias took the letter, but, instead of opening it, put it into his pocket & said to the messenger who brought it, “Business tomorrow.” The next day he died. Before he opened the letter the government was captured. When he read the letter it was too late.
Those who wait to repent until the eleventh hour often die at ten thirty.
Evangelist D. L. Moody, said that his “greatest mistake” occurred October 8, 1871. On that night in Chicago, he addressed one of the largest crowds of his career. His message was about the Lord’s trial & was based on Pilate’s question, “What shall I do then with Jesus?” (Mat.27:22)
As Moody concluded, he said, “I wish you would seriously consider this subject, for next Sunday we will speak about the cross, & at that time I’ll inquire, ‘What will YOU do with Jesus?’ Ira Sankey then sang the closing hymn, which included the lines, ‘Today the Saviour calls; for refuge fly. The storm of justice falls, & death is nigh.’
But the hymn was never finished, for while Sankey was singing, there was the rush & a roar of fire engines on the street outside. That was the night of the great Chicago fire which almost destroyed the whole city. And before the next day, Chicago lay in ashes. “I have never since dared,” said Moody, “to give an audience a week to think of their Salvation.”
A gentleman standing by Niagara saw an eagle swoop down upon a frozen lamb encased in a piece of floating ice. The eagle stood upon it as it drifted towards the rapids. Every now & then the eagle would proudly lift its head into the air to look around him, as much as to say, “I am drifting on towards danger. I know what I am doing. I shall fly away & make good my escape before it is too late.”
When he reached the edge, he stooped, spread his powerful wings, & leaped for flight; but alas! While he was feeding on the carcass, his feet had frozen to its fleece. He leaped & shrieked, & beat upon the ice with his wings until he went over into the chasm & darkness below.
A naughty little weed one day poked up its tiny head.
‘Tomorrow I will pull you up,
Old Mr. Weed,” I said.
But I put off the doing till,
When next I passed that way,
The hateful thing had spread abroad
And laughed at my dismay.
A naughty little thought one day
Popped right into my mind.
‘Oh, no!’ I cried, ‘I’ll put you out
Tomorrow, you will find!’
But once again I put it off,
Till like the little weed,
The ugly thing sprang up apace
And grew into a deed.
A procrastinator is one who puts off until tomorrow the things he has already put off until today.
A procrastinator is a man with a wait problem.
The Devil’s number one strategy is to get you to procrastinate.
The main thing that comes to a man who waits is regret for having waited.
God gives us the ingredients for our daily bread, but He expects us to do the baking.
He was going to be all that a mortal should be Tomorrow.
No one should be kinder or braver than he Tomorrow.
A friend who was troubled & weary he knew,
Who’d be glad of a lift & how needed it, too;
On him he would call & see what he could do Tomorrow.
Each morning he stacked up the letters he’d write Tomorrow.
And thought of the folks he would fill with delight Tomorrow.
It was too bad, indeed, he was busy today,
And hadn’t a minute to stop on his way;
More time he would have to give others, he’d say, Tomorrow.
The greatest of workers this man would have been Tomorrow.
The World would have known him, had he ever seen Tomorrow.
But the fact is he died & he faded from view,
And all that he left here when living was through
Was a mountain of things he intended to do Tomorrow.
If you’ve got a job to do, do it now!
If it’s one you wish were through, do it now!
If you’re sure the job’s your own, do it now!
Do not hem & haw & groan–do it now!
Don’t put off a bit of work, do it now!
It doesn’t pay to shirk, do it now!
If you want to earn your board and be useful to the Lord,
Just get up & swing your sword–do it now!
Don’t linger by the way, do it now!
You’ll lose if you delay, do it now!
Lord Bacon called his paper plans “Sudden Thoughts Set Down for Use.”
Do something! Either lead, follow or get out of the way!
Fear of criticism is the kiss of death in the courtship of achievement.
Begin where you are. But don’t stay where you are.
Knowing without doing is like plowing without sowing.
Think what others ought to be like, then start being like that yourself.
Faith without works is like a automobile without gas.
Every time one man expresses an idea, he finds ten men who thought of it before–but they only thought.
An idea is more than information; it is information with legs, &–it is headed somewhere.
Always dare to fail–never fail to dare.
It’s all right to be cautious–but even a turtle never gets anywhere until he sticks his head out.
Don’t worry too much about what lies ahead. Go as far as you can see, & when you get there, you can see farther.
Victor Hugo always supervised himself by a little pad of notes. He kept the pad beside him night & day.
Beethoven was never without a planning pad; it was almost the only systematic thing about his life.
Follow the example of the duck–keep calm & unruffled on the surface, but paddle like the dickens underneath.
Sitting still & wishing makes no person great.
You are making progress if each mistake you make is a new one.
Our ship would come in much sooner if we’d only swim out to meet it.
It isn’t the number of people employed in a business that makes it successful. It’s the number working!
Don’t wait for your ship to come in if you haven’t sent one out.
The man with PUSH will pass the man with PULL.
The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
Sometimes “patience” may be simply the inability to make decisions.
Begin again–you CAN, you know.
Seek out a better way to go.
Forget the past–the past is dead,
And all tomorrow lies ahead!
There’s never a time too late to start,
To bring to fruition that dream in your heart.
Begin again NOW, this minute, this day!
A new life is waiting–don’t wish it away!
–Helen Lowrie Marshall
The good Lord sends the fishing but you must dig the bait!
My dear friends, you may take it as a rule that the Spirit of God does not usually do for us what we can do for ourselves.
Get acquainted with Peter; he had a great record for getting things done. He tackled the difficult jobs first, with a roguish twinkle in his eye.
Czar Peter Aleksyeevich of Russia probably did more to civilise people, against their own inertia, than any other figure in history. Hard work was his fun. While his young nobles played at the easy games & weary intrigues of the capital, Peter distinguished himself as a workman; he studied blacksmithing, shipbuilding, & worked incognito in foreign countries to learn better ways of doing things firsthand. Back home, the Russian people laughed at the innovations the curly-headed giant suggested for them.
There was the question of whiskers, for instance. Long beards were a source of great personal pride in Russia. But Peter knew that most luxuriant beards concealed a variety of insect life. So he forcibly sheared the hair off the faces of his nobles, then put a prohibitive tax on growing it back. There was more uproar over this interference with personal liberty than over his secret construction of the first Russian shipyard, the start of the Muscovite Navy.
The traditional long cloaks of his time dragged the ground–good dirt catchers, Peter said. He had them chopped off to a more sanitary length. And the long sleeves that drooped over Russian hands were snipped to the wrist for the same reason. What yowling & complaining about these headlong efforts to modernise a people!
He started Russia’s first factories, changed her money system, introduced the European calendar, began a postal system, started town councils for local government. He built a new city, St. Petersburg–on a marsh, it is true–but where it would be close to Europe, stimulate trade, & furnish Russia with a seaport of sorts for the first time.
This Peter the Great, against the open opposition of nobles & the lethargic inertia of peasants, singlehandedly raised his country to a recognised place among the World powers.
Young Harry Heinz, of Pittsburgh, carried a pocket pad as he peddled his homemade horseradish. His ideas, his orders to himself, were jotted down as he went & organised later in the day. This planning was the backbone of his self-supervision; it enabled him to build up the food-packing business which became famous under the slogan, “57 Varieties”. He had jotted that slogan down while riding on a New York City elevated train.
A canal toll-collector in Dayton knew the use of planning too. He even kept a pad beside his bed. This young fellow, John H. Patterson, was one of the “gettingest-done” men of all time. He called his sheaf of notes “Things to Do Today.” He built up the gigantic National Cash Register Company from scratch.
Leonardo da Vinci started the note-pad habit in his youth & kept it up through his old age. He carried his pad in his belt.
Bismarck used blank sheets & kept them between the leaves of his prayer book.
Miracles are not to be expected when ordinary means are to be used.
Every accomplishment, great or small, starts with the right decision, “I’ll try.”
Some people remind us of blisters–they don’t show up until the work is done.–Paul Carruth
Getting an idea should be like sitting on a pin; it should make you jump up & do something.
The door of opportunity is opened by pushing.
The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your arm.
Ideas are funny things. They don’t work unless you do.
I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.–Thomas Edison
The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps–we must step up the stairs.
The heart is the warehouse, the hand & the tongue are but the shops; what is in these is from thence–the heart contrives & the members execute.
Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.–Disraeli
I found the task that I had dreaded so
Was not so difficult when once begun;
It was the dread itself that was the foe,
And dread once conquered means a victory won.
–Margaret E. Bruner