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A Stitch in Time

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

Series Focus: “A Time for Everything”

I am not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. My mom taught me to cross-stitch as a girl, and I sewed a few baby bibs and potholders. I made a skirt in seventh grade home economics—and actually wore it several times! My dearest friend in school taught me to crochet, and I do still enjoy that. Aside from reattaching a button or mending a raveling seam, my sewing days are few and far between.

That being established, I recently experienced a sewing situation that demanded my attention. The seam in the waistband of my favorite pair of slacks—which I happened to be wearing—was parting. With no time to mend it at the moment, I continued through the day in my half-seamed-waisted pants. By the time I completed all the tasks of the day, the waistband was literally hanging by a thread! I made it home in the evening, still fully clothed, but my slacks now required a full-on sewing session, as opposed to a simple stitch.

There’s a familiar proverb: A stitch in time saves nine. It means if we would attend to a matter at the moment, it will be a quicker and easier fix than if we allow the situation to wait. Over time the issue could become bigger and require more time, attention, or money. Of course, this ditty doesn’t just apply to sewing up a parting seam.

What problems, setbacks, expenses, and heartache could we avoid by simply attending to a matter immediately—or at least sooner, rather than later? And when life is so busy, our days so full, how do we gauge what needs our attention most at any moment?

Ecclesiastes 3:7 teaches us there is a time to tear apart and a time to sew together. There is a time for both. How do we know what to do and when? We seek the wisdom of God. Paul, in Ephesians 5:15-17 (ESV) said:

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Colossians 4:5 also encourages us to make the best use of our time, and in James 1:5, we are instructed to ask God for wisdom. Many Proverbs tell us the importance of wisdom in congruence with understanding, righteousness, success, provision, and protection. Proverbs 4:26 (HCSB) says:

Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.

And Proverbs 16:9 (NIV) tells us:

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

So how do we know what is most pertinent—what matters most—in any given day, week, month, or year? We first seek God and His kingdom, as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:33, and then we take these steps:

  1. Assess. Write down everything demanding our attention. Make the list.
  2. Pray. Ask God for wisdom, showing us what is most important. Rate the list.
  3. Plan. Identify the steps required for the best use of our time and efforts. Assign the list.
  4. Act. Do the simple now to avoid the complicated later. Conquer the list.

Pausing to perform one simple little stitch could have saved the struggle through the day and the hour of work required later on my favorite pair of slacks. In the big scheme of life, this may seem like a small matter. But it poses a reality check for all of us: how many little things are we ignoring or allowing to subside that will create a bigger issue in the future?

There is a time for everything. What “stitch” can we make today to avoid the catastrophes looming tomorrow?

Holding Fast to Hope,

Scripture Referances: Psalm 90:12; Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; Ephesians 5:15-17; Colossians 4:5; James 1:5; Proverbs 4:26, 16:9; Matthew 6:33


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