“Time In A Bottle”
It can’t be done, but we’ll get back to that!
Time in a Bottle is a secular love song that went to #1 on the charts, written and sung by singer-songwriter Jim Croce. Croce wrote the lyrics in December 1970 after his wife Ingrid told him she was pregnant. Until about ten minutes ago, the title was pretty much all I knew about the song. Here are some of the lyrics:
“If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you”
“But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them”
I feel like I should say that eternity “never” passes away, but that’s an aside. Mr. Croce suffered the struggles of achieving stardom, and finally reached it in 1970. He toured, did all the concerts and appearances that the star-life demands, but he wasn’t enamored with that part of his success. In September of 1973, while on his Life and Times Tour, he wrote to his wife telling her that he wanted to quit the music business and take up other pursuits such as writing movie scripts and short stories that wouldn’t take him so far from his family. In closing he wrote, “Remember, it’s the first 60 years that count and I’ve got 30 to go. I love you.” Jim mailed the letter, but by the time Ingrid received it, her husband was dead. Leaving a concert on the night of September 20, 1973, his chartered Beechcraft clipped a tree during takeoff and crashed, killing all on board. Croce was 30 years old.
The irony is so, so sad, and clever lines from yours truly would be inappropriate if not plum despicable. Jim Croce would have loved to have been able to save and preserve the times of his life, in effect put Time In A Bottle, but he couldn’t’ do it. I can’t, you can’t, and it can’t be done. We can philosophize about it, we can write books about it, we can make best laid plans about it, but we cannot in any way save it. All we can do is spend it! Whether you stay in bed all day long, or spend every waking moment maximizing the moment in kinetic pursuits of this or that, it all gets spent at exactly the same rate and amount. “You cannot put time in a bottle.”
We could say that Solomon was frustrated about that fact, we could quote the standard verses that God has given us driving home the fact (“Life is a vapour that appeareth for a little time, we spend our years as a tale that is told, boast not thyself of tomorrow”) and we can add that we have no promise of tomorrow. Jim Croce seemed to know it, and that truth was sadly driven home in his tragic death.
If we can’t save it, then what can we do? We can spend it, and spend it wisely! We have families, some of us have spouses, some of us have children, and all of us have very dear friends. They’re all important, and our time is wisely spent on them. But then, God is not done teaching us. He says in Luke 14:26 (KJV) “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” We are to spend our time serving God. Some of serving God involves being a good Samaritan (Do Good, Be Good), some of serving God involves loving our wives, children and friends, and some of our time serving God is spent simply directing people to a receiving belief and a serving of God, what we call the Great Commission.
David requested of God “put thou my tears into thy bottle” (Psalm 56:8) a request that has both poetic and theological beauty to it. It’s a great concept regarding our tears, but not so with our time. We’re taught that thriftiness and saving are outstanding character traits, but not with time! Time, we are to spend and spend and spend, never trying to save! We can try to bury time as the wicked and slothful servant did with the talent that he had been entrusted with, but we are wicked, slothful, and furthermore stupid if we do. We are entrusted with varying amounts of time, but we all have some of it. Spend it wisely for God, but be sure you don’t leave it lying in a drawer or under the mattress or locked in a safe. Spend it profitably, which is to say, “Spend it as the LORD directs in his Word.”
Jim was 100% correct, you cannot “Put Time In A Bottle.” Spend it for the LORD while you can!
Love and Prayers to all,