What’s it Worth?

What’s your time worth? If you were to put a value on your time, what would it be?

Well, many (most) of us trade our time for money in order to pay for the necessities of life.  According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average worker in the US trades an hour of their effort for just about $23. (I must admit I was surprised it was that high, but that includes highly paid people in the average too)

Many of us think about our time in terms of exchanging it for money, especially if money is tight.  However, we often forget the opportunity costs that come along for the ride when we work overtime or are so tired from work that we can’t do the other things we want to.

God has really been working on me with opportunity costs lately.  This summer I resigned one of my teaching positions because it was just taking too much time from my family, and the bottom line was that the cost of teaching was too great.  That’s not to say that I don’t like teaching’; far from it.  But the opportunity cost was too high.

Jesus keeps bringing this topic to mind, and as I did my devotions the past couple of weeks this came to me again:

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24–26, ESV)

A black bear that came for a drink. And proof that, had I had a bear tag, that I would have got him. :)What will it profit me if I exchange my soul for the world? What, in the end, is the lost opportunity from what I am pursuing.  I actually read these words while sitting in a hunting blind with my son, enjoying a beautiful morning in the woods of Northern Arizona.  Sure I was passing up some chances to be up there with him hunting elk, but it was worth it.
Jesus brought it to mind again yesterday as I was studying.  I have made a conscious effort to be home more recently, and yesterday I decided to work from home in the afternoon so that I could be around for the kids and help Laura too.  James got restless in the afternoon, and there I was translating Exodus 14 in my recliner.
I had an opportunity to love on my son, so I put the laptop aside and grabbed the football.  We probably only played for a half hour, but soon he will be grown up and gone, and my opportunities to sow some love into him will be gone.  And Exodus 14 was still there waiting for me when we got done!
I am trying to look more for not only what I can do, but what it costs me to do what I do and whether those opportunity costs are worth it.  And because of that, I am spending my time in some different ways, with plenty more to work on!
How about you? Do you think about opportunity costs? In your spiritual life, are you considering what you pass up to take part in what you do? Is Prison Break or Monday Night Football or Battlefield 3 taking up enough time that your opportunity to worship Christ is passed? How about in your relationships, your habits, your thought life?
Where is God leading you in making the most of the opportunities you have right now?

A Dose of Courage

Laura and I went to see the movie “Courageous” on Sunday with some of our best friends.  Here’s the trailer.

All I have to say is wow.  Alex and Stephen Kendrick did a great job on this movie.  It is quite apparent that with all the money they made on “Fireproof,” the directors took some of it and bought the cast some acting lessons! Smile Laura and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and quite literally gave it an ovation at the end.

At its’ heart, “Courageous” is a movie about 4 guys (3 of them cops in a small southern town) trying to figure out how to be good dads and honor God in the process.  It isn’t smarmy or too cliché, but the message comes through loud and clear.

The Good:

This movie is filled with good.  The  main characters honor God.  They strive after Him and clearly, the theme is that fatherhood is vitally important in the lives of our children.  I teared up several times.  The moral message is pitch perfect.

I also really liked that the movie didn’t hit the “Jesus angle” too hard or too directly, though the Gospel was pretty clearly presented in the course of the movie.  I would feel quite comfortable bringing friends who aren’t Christians to it, and it is a must for church men’s groups for sure.

I also loved the humor.  This movie was a bit of a tear jerker, and it would have been tough to watch without some humor.  The humor in this movie is just amazing.  It’s not, “Ha ha” funny in places; it’s “holy cow that is stinkin’ hilarious” funny in all the right places.  The laughter breaks up the serious message just enough that you don’t feel like you’re being browbeaten, and that is very helpful in this movie.

I love the way that this movie deals with tragedy and grief.  The pastor gives some of the best advice that I have ever heard on screen to a grieving man, and that came through loud and clear.

The Bad:

Really, it’s hard to nitpick.  As a gun nut firearms instructor I thought that their portrayal of tactics was suspect, but my friend who is a policeman told me that it was pretty accurate for rural forces in the south.  Okay, but I would have filmed the sequences of police work differently.  It didn’t ruin the movie, but it made me shake my head a little.

I guess I also felt like all the loose ends were tied up a little too conveniently and neatly at the end.  Everything worked out great, even though (without spoiling it) there is one letdown.  That said, God wins and the dudes love their sons and all is well.  It’s a bit tidy.

The Verdict:

Go see this movie.  You will be glad you did.  It was well written, well acted, and fun to watch.  It made me want to be a better dad.  It was a great date with my wife, and I think that every church in America should promote it!