I’ve spent most of today studying, thinking, planning, and learning. As my bud and everyone’s new golden boy leadership guru says…

…man I forgot how much I enjoy digging in God’s Word.

Anyway, I’ve spent some time reading, studying the Word, and listening to some CDs from the first Catalyst conference.

Howard Hendricks opened that first conference five years ago with a powerful challenge for us to take care of the things that really matter. In that message, Dr. Hendricks referred to a poem called “The Night They Burned Shanghai.”

The poem, written as the Japanese were taking over China leading up to World War II, talks a lot about apathy and how we are so busy with what we think are important and crucial matters, while we miss the really important things going on around us. The poem ends with these lines…

And after greetings, Waterman exclaims,
“A fine mess in the Far East, boys and girls,”
And we agree, and we sit down to play.
Tonight they burn Shanghai, and we are safe –
Safe from the world and all its puzzles-safe
From everything except our own contempt.

(Tonight Shanghai is burning,
And we are dying too.
What bomb more surely mortal
Than death inside of you?

For some men die by shrapnel,
And some go down in flames,
But most men perish inch by inch,
In play at little games.)

Life is too short and too precious for us to waste it in piddling little games, activities that take our time, but rob our souls. The slow death of idling the days away is killing too many people. I don’t know how many years or even months or weeks or days I have left.

But God help me invest that time in something that matters!