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Story Telling

Martin Scorsese who at 80 is in London to mark the release of his latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon, was asked by an interviewer, “How does getting old affect your story telling and the types of film making you want to still do?”

It comes down to where to spend whatever time is left in your life telling a story. Is it worth it to you?

It got me thinking about how I view time and how I use time. I have always been intrigued by what Paul writes in Romans:

“… our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11)

Life is ticking away for all of us. I used to work with a man who would say at the end of every working day,

“One more; one less.”

That is true for us at the end of every day we live. We lived one more day, but we also now have one less day to live. Our days are hurtling toward to the last day.

The older I get the more aware I am that time seems to fly faster. There is so much still to do but a diminishing amount of days in which to do it all.

I have never been a fan of time management techniques and, although I do use lists, I tend to work best when I am being spontaneous.

One practical lesson I learned from John Stott was how to use to odd scraps of time that are scattered around the margins of our days. We live in an age of distraction, where the default option for a few spare minutes is to scroll on social media. Stott suggested that if we have a spare 15 minutes, we can use it to read a chapter in a book, write a letter, or jot down some ideas for a sermon.

If we manage to redeem 15 minutes a day like this, we end up with the equivalent of nearly four days of work a year.

In the past few months one of the uses I have made of one scrap of time a day is learning a little Latvian. It has increased my vocabulary and helped me to get a better feel for how the language works.

Coming back to Martin Scorsese, I admire his appetite for life and creativity. I aspire to that passion to use his remaining days to tell stories that are worth telling.

As a preacher I have a story to tell that is the greatest story ever told. It has a brilliant beginning, middle and end, and features the most amazing central character in Jesus my Saviour and Lord.

How can I begin to make the best use of my time to communicate this story?

I think this is what Charles Wesley had in mind when he wrote the following words in his hymn Jesus the Name high over all:

‘Happy, if with my latest breath I may but gasp His name, Preach Him to all, and cry in death “Behold, behold the Lamb”’

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