Tending Life Each and Every Day As a Gift

There is a certain routine to life that may tempt us to take life for granted. Day by day, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Slowly day by day, the seasons continue their march through the days of the year. Spring gives birth to summer; summer gives way to fall; fall surrenders to winter—year after year, eon after eon the seasons come and go never changing. Taking days and seasons for granted, life takes on a certain uninterrupted monotony.

Sometimes our lives conform to a familiar rhythm. We go off to work in the morning and return home in the evening. Monday through Friday we punch the clock, meet production, make the sales, bill the hours, and finish the reports. There are bills to pay, planes to catch, and children to raise. The daily rhythm and responsibilities of life begin to feel like a grind.

It appears that we become lost in this monotonous grind until something tragic happens—a sudden and unanticipated death of someone we love, an unexpected diagnosis, an untimely loss, a convulsion of violence. Shaken awake by the tragedy, we realize just how wonderful and precious life truly is. Tragic events highlight for us what we have always known was significant. As we are rudely awakened to the depth, significance, and meaning of life, we realize that there are some truly valuable persons and things in our lives that we need to nurture, savor, and guard.

There are times when we need to remind ourselves how wonderful and brief life is. Even if we live into our nineties, when we look back, life seems so short. As Biblical people, we should remind ourselves of those words written by James: “. . . you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” [Revised Standard Version, James 4:14] Failing to embrace the precious moment, life slips away from us almost unnoticed. We often ask ourselves in the night, “Where did all the years go?” When did life change me into this old person I am becoming?

When life is gone, we find ourselves wrestling with regrets. Regrets from the past possess the power to rob us of joy in the present. Thus, we would be wise to tend our lives in the present moment—a task that requires a great deal of discipline for we are so easily distracted by the regrets of yesterday and our anxiety about tomorrow.

Perhaps there are some things we can do to help us stay focused on the truly significant as we appear briefly on the stage of life. First, let’s remember that life is gift. We receive a wonderful gift anew each day. When God chose to create, he chose to share with us the wonder of being alive as he is alive. It is wonderful to be alive! Being alive, we can love, laugh, touch, care, and share. Each day, no matter how we rise to meet it, we should receive the day as a gift. Truly, today is all we have.

Realizing that life is a gift, we should be ready to say, “I’m sorry.” If life is a precious gift, we will want to redeem every relationship we might have wounded—I’m sorry this misunderstanding has gone on so long. I’m sorry for the words I spoke in anger. I’m sorry for the distance that has grown between us. I’m sorry I hurt you. I’m sorry I neglected you. I’m sorry I did not take time to listen to you. I’m sorry—so sorry. Please forgive me.

Embracing the wonderful gift of life, we should be quick to say, “Thank you.” We have been the beneficiaries of someone’s generosity and care more times than we can count. Therefore, we should be ready to acknowledge the gifts of grace we receive from others with a quick thank you. Thank you for caring for me. Thank you for remembering me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for staying with me. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you!

Remindful of the frailty of life, we should jettison any reluctance we may have to saying, “I love you.” There are significant persons in our lives—people we love deeply. Sometimes the people we love the most are the people we most take for granted. Often we assume that others know of our deep love for them. There may be no more powerful words in the entire universe than “I love you.” There may be many thirsty souls orbiting our worlds who are yearning to hear—“I love you.”

Let’s embrace the gift of life and deepen its meaning for us by tending to it each and every day God so graciously presents to us. If life is like a garden, let’s not let ours become overgrown with weeds. Let’s tend the garden, so the flowers may bloom. Let’s tend to our lives with words that heal, express gratitude, and affirm our love. Let’s choose to live life as a gift to be shared with everyone we meet. Let’s awaken each day to thank God Almighty for sharing with us his wonderful aliveness!


Jamie Broome

Jamie Broome began serving Immanuel in 1993. He previously served First Baptist Church in Midway, Kentucky for ten years. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Carson Newman University, where he met his wife, Rita, and his Master of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, where he also did a Th.M. and doctoral work in church history. He is a native of South Carolina, and the Broomes have two sons, Chip and Rusty.