By Akio Matsuoka
“I’ve been so busy with life that I haven’t had time to think,” a terminally ill woman in her forties told me when I visited her at a hospice. “I realized while lying here that I barely know my husband, my children, or my mother-in-law, who also lives with us. I’ve been wrapped up in caring for them—shopping and cooking, doing their laundry, cleaning after them, helping them with their homework—and yet I can’t say that I really know what they are thinking or what they are going through. I can’t tell you when was the last time that I had a deep conversation with any of them.”
I heard a similar lament recently while attending a seminar. The main lecturer finished and opened the floor for a casual question-and-answer period. An elderly man who was the retired CEO of a large company stood up and spoke to the 100 or so attendees. “I am 70 years old, currently in excellent health, and recently retired with a substantial pension. I was looking forward to finally relaxing and spending time with my family, but yesterday my wife asked for a divorce. I have worked hard my entire life, always for the family that I loved. Where did I go wrong? Why has my life turned out this way?”
I often hear people say that they want their loved ones to be happy, and that is why they need to work so long and hard. Unfortunately, the more successful they become, the busier they get and the less time they have to spend with their families—and the less they reap of the rewards they expected from their investment. While the dying woman’s and the retired man’s motives may have seemed noble at the time, the lives they led to hadn’t been able to satisfy the needs of their loved ones’ hearts.
The Bible tells us, “Don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.”1 The original Greek word translated “share” is koinónia, which means “participation,” “communion,” “fellowship.”2 Sacrifice other things to make time to help others, to participate in their lives, to share in their victories and struggles, to have heart-to-heart interaction with them—in short, make time to love.
Akio Matsuoka has been a missionary and volunteer worker for the past 35 years, both in his native Japan and abroad. He lives in Tokyo.
1. Hebrews 13:16 NLT
2. Strong’s Concordance
Article originally published in Activated magazine. Used with permission.