Are you a "fritterer"? You know, someone who sees time slip through their fingers, then wonders where it went? To fritter means to allow something to slip away little by little. It is unlike a glass slipping from our hand and shattering on the ground because we had wet hands when we tried to hold it. In this case, were were unprepared to hold the glass securely, so it slipped and we were full conscious of it slipping. To fritter a glass out of your hand is kind of like dozing off with a glass of water in your hand. Slowly, little by little, the glass tips ever so slightly. Then it tips a little more, and a little more. Then in the next short passage of time, the glass lays on its side, contents flowing freely from it. We can remain asleep, unaware of the contents being spilled, or the condition of our "hand" which "relaxed" its grip and allowed the spillage to occur.
A life frittered away disgusts God; he loves those who run straight for the finish line. (Proverbs 15:9 MSG)
The key difference between the two events described above is awareness. In the first circumstance, we were aware the glass was slipping, but could do little to stop it simply because we weren't well prepared when we picked up the glass. In the latter, we were neither aware, nor attentive. Life and time come at us this way sometimes. There are things which life seems to ensure gets on "our agenda" for the day - some we know about, others we don't. I work in the healthcare arena, so my "agenda" is constantly being altered by the immediate demands of the "urgent" or "emergent".
As aware as I am of what needs to be done for the day, some "agendas" have to be placed aside for the more urgent needs of another - the glass slips from my hand because I was not prepared for the next demand. In these cases, I may lose control of my "agenda" for a period of time, but I still remain very aware of what requires my attention when I can get back on track. I have learned the "urgent" may cause things to slip out of my control for a while, but in short order, I will get back on track, because I have prepared for the "urgent". You see, I work "ahead" a little in many of my tasks, so I don't see them slip from my hands when the "urgent" comes my way. As a matter of fact, I am writing this blog post five days in advance of it being posted. Slippage is insured, but I don't have to be unprepared for it!
There have been times when things seem to be running rather "smoothly" - times like this almost set me up to "fritter". It is not that I am lazy, but when there are no "urgent" or "emergent" things demanding my attention, it is easy to change my pace to a slower, less hectic pace for completion of my agenda. Now, for most of us, we'd rather have the latter, but we all know it is not always the best for us. We are actually doing more harm when we fritter away our time, talent, or treasure, aren't we? God made each of us with both the ability to experience the "adrenaline rush" of the "urgent" and to enjoy the "peacefulness" of the routine.
If we are always operating in the mode of "frittering away", we are really operating in the arena of becoming less and less alert to our surroundings. In time, we become less alert to the things we'd normally pay close attention to, such as the glass of water in our hand! In so doing, we allow things to slip away - poured out, wasted. This may not be a big deal if the "glass" contained only water, but if the "glass" contained something more significant, such as deep purple grape juice, you might be more than a little concerned when you finally realized what you'd allowed by your "frittering". Now, think of your "glass" as filled with relationships, talents, and treasures. If we fritter away our relationships, we often neglect them little by little until one day our glass is empty. Sadly, we never realized the "spillage" over time, but nonetheless, it occurred. If our glass is filled with talents and treasures, the slippage may leave us feeling empty, unfulfilled and a little remorseful over the loss. Either way, we realize the impact of our "frittering" way too late!
Let's be the kind of people who are alert to the tendency to "fritter away" what we may not want to find ourselves without! I guarantee you, today's attentiveness to your "glass" will make all the difference with tomorrow's supply within the "glass"! Just sayin!