If I had a little bucket of water

(George Everard, "Christian Living!" 1881)

1. I must use life well, because every moment of it is so precious. The minutes and hours of life are like the gold-dust which the goldsmith so carefully gathers together that none be lost. "I have lost a day!" was the sorrowful lament of one who had learned the real value of time. Life is very precious, and I dare not and will not throw any of it away!

2. I must also use life well, because it will soon be over. "The time is short!" 1 Corinthians 7:29. My days and years will soon be spent, and I cannot recall them. My life is but a shadow — it is but a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. Even if I am spared to the full age of man, compared with the long life awaiting me hereafter — my life here is but as a moment. "You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before You. Each man's life is but a breath." Psalm 39:5.

Let me endeavor then to remember how soon life will be gone, and be very careful to use well each precious moment.

If I had a little bucket of water, and no more could be obtained — how carefully would I watch that none of it ran to waste. Each drop I would reckon of great value. Such is my life. It is all I have. I must therefore lose none. I must squander none. "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Psalm 90:12

3. I must use life well, because it is very uncertain. I may have far less than I think. I may be looking forward to years to come — and yet I may have but a few months or weeks or days to live!

I remember a woman who said that some day she would begin to attend our village church. She was in middle age, and had lived a sadly wicked and abandoned life. She thought that she had time enough and to spare, to think of more serious subjects. She did indeed soon afterwards come to our village church — but how did she come? She was carried in a casket on men's shoulders, and then left in the silent grave. Only six weeks had passed since the day she promised that some day she would begin a new life. "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth!" Proverbs 27:1

So I trust my life will not be a wasted one. And though I can do but little compared with many others, I trust that He will say to me at last: "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little — I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your Master!" Matthew 25:23

"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time!" Ephesians 5:15-16