How to Live on 24 Hours A Day

I can’t think of a more appropriate book to begin the year off with then the one I have just began listening to. This is of course besides the bible and having a daily bible reading plan, a great classic daily devotional and a fresh blank journal. I just ran across this book, How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, by Arnold Bennett on my new favorite website LibriVox. If you haven’t discovered this website, I highly recommend your checking  it out, especially if you are a big audiobook fan like I am and love the classics.

This website offers free audiobooks in the public domain that you can listen to online or download and transfer to your favorite listening device.  I was wary of the sound and voice quality but I found it surprisingly amazing. A great voice, a slow reading pace and good technical sound quality are essential for a good audiobook in my opinion and I found many of the audiobooks on this free website met all three and surpassed my expectations.

I was also pleasantly surprised that many of the Readers are putting together a book of classic Christian Hymns and Christmas Carols. Out of curiosity I down loaded a couple of the hymn audiobooks and spent the late evening listening to and enjoying some of the most beautiful voices singing my favorite classic hymns and Christmas carols that I have ever heard sung.

I spent a great deal of time before Christmas looking for a new Christmas Carol CD that I would enjoy the entire CD. Usually I find one and I only like 1 or 2 songs on the CD. So last night was a real treat for me. I loved the hymns and carols by various singers and wished I would have found it before Christmas! One of my favorites Christmas Carols that I enjoyed most last night was. O Holy Night by Adolphe Adam as part of their 2009 Christmas Carol Collection.  My other favorite hymns were part on their LibriVox Hymn Collection Vol. 001 audiobook  Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing and I Surrender All.

Now back to what I had intended to write about. I just happened to run across this title as I was browsing and downloading half of their online audiobook catalog last night. If the internet was running a bit slow,  I’m sorry for all the gigabytes I was downloading.

I was glad I chose this book to listen to first. As I said, I can’t think of a more appropriate book to start the year off with. Although written for a different culture and time period,  back in  1913, I found it ironic thinking how the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The first chapter called The Daily Miracle is about viewing time as a valuable commodity. One of  the paragraphs that stood out to me stated:

Time is the raw material of everything. With it all is possible. Without it nothing.  The supply of time is truly a daily miracle. An affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it. You wake up in the morning and lo! Your purse is magically filled with 24 hours of unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life. It is yours. It is the most precious of  possessions. A highly singular commodity showered upon you in a manner as singular as the commodity itself. For remark, no one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no one receives either more or less then you receive. Talk about an ideal democracy. In the realm of time there is no aristocracy of wealth and there is no aristocracy of intellect.  Geniuses are never rewarded by even an extra hour a day. And there is no punishment. Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will and the supply will never be withheld from you. No mysterious power will say,”This man is a fool, not a naïve, he does  not deserve time, he shall be cut off at the meter.” [Thank goodness for God’s grace, right! – RB] It is more certain than consoles and payment of income is not affected by Sundays. Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt. You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow; it is kept for you. You cannot waste the next hour; it is kept for you. I said the affair was a miracle. Is it not? You have to live on this 24 hours of daily time. Out of it you have to spend health, pleasure, money, content, respect and the evolution of your immortal soul. It’s right use. It’s most effective use, is a matter of the most highest urgency and of the most thrilling actuality; all depends on that. Your happiness, elusive prize that you are all clutching for my friends,  depends on that.

Now I don’t personally agree with everything Arnold Bennett states in this book. What I did appreciate about Bennett’s thoughts regarding  time, was the emphasis of time being an  invaluable commodity that God in his great grace provides to us every morning in equal measures to the rich and to the poor, to the wise and to the fool, and to the young and to the old. God distributes it. Bennett didn’t quite say it like that but that is how my mind filtered it and what my heart heard.   I love the truth that God keeps time for us. He knows how easily we overspend and get in dept and waste, so he measures it out to each  one of us moment by moment.

Bennett goes on to make the point that we already have all the time we will ever have now  in our hands. We will never receive an elusive lump sum deposit of time in the future to spend on the things we would like to accomplish some day. We must learn how to live on and make do with our limited twenty-four hours a day.

If one can’t contrive to live on a certain income of money, one earns a little more, or steals it or advertises for it. One doesn’t necessarily muddle ones life because one can’t quite manage on a thousand pounds a year. One braces the muscles and makes it guineas and balances the budget. But if you cannot arrange that an income of twenty-four hours a day shall exactly cover all items of expenditure, one does muddle ones life definitely. The supply of  time though gloriously regular, is cruelly restricted. Which of us lives on twenty-four hours a day? And when I say lives, I do no mean exists, or muddles through. Which one of is free from that uneasy feeling that the great spending departments of his daily life are not managed as they ought to be? …..Which of us has not been saying to himself all his life, I shall alter that when I have a little more time.

We never shall have any more time. We have and have always had all the time there is. It is the realization of this profound and neglected truth which by the way I have not discovered that has led me to the minute practical examination of daily time, expenditure.

I am left reevaluating  all the things I keep saying “If only I had the time…one day..tomorrow…next year…someday”  I need to learn to live within and work within the time God has currently given me to accomplish the things I know he is calling me to do. I don’t think when I stand before him, I can get by with the response, “Well Lord, I really wanted to, and I knew how important it was and I would have done that if only you would have given me more time…

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