There is one thing I always try to do as I write these columns, and that is spend some quality, alone time to just think about you and what I might be able to say that could make a difference in your life. As I was thinking the other morning, my mind took me back to a good friend who has now gone on to be with the Lord. While he was here, we spent some quality time together.

As I sat alone during the early morning hour, my mind took me back some 15 years ago to about 6 a.m. one Monday morning when I found myself on Interstate 40 making a trip to St. Vincent Medical Center in Little Rock to be with a friend who was scheduled to have surgery. Mondays are always a busy time in my office and I had a thousand things to do, but when I learned of this friend’s surgery, I realized that I may never have this opportunity again.

This friend was a retired 80-year-old pastor who I had met previously but had not been around until we hooked up at an RV park in Hot Springs that had a nine-hole golf course. Well, Brother David Hankins and I began to play golf together. We had a great time of fellowship, and while some people may have a hard time understanding this, we didn’t even keep score. When either one of us would make a good shot, which was rare, we would say “Praise the Lord.” We were not related in any way, and he was never my pastor. We were just good friends and I loved him very much.

In addition to his sweet spirit, one of the things I loved about him was his sense of humor. Without fail, he always had several good stories to tell me. While I don’t know if this is true in every case, as we get older various parts of our body tend to wear out. As a result, many of us are in and out of the hospital on a regular basis. After his successful surgery, Brother David was alone in his hospital room and called me that night. He said the doctor told him, “Working on you is kind of like working on a car. We can’t make you new again but we can patch you up and get you back on the road again.”

As I thought about my busy schedule and how for once I had placed my priorities in the right order, I remembered something I had read that is special to me. It is titled, “Before It’s Too Late” by Deanna Edwards. There are many decisions we face every single day and we must make choices as to how and where we will spend our time. You know, time is really the most precious commodity we have. During the prime of life, our career and making money is very important, but when we get near the end of our days, I have found that my priorities began to change. Here is one important truth that we should never forget. In His infinite wisdom, God did not reveal to us exactly how and when we will leave this earthly body. In this context, maybe “Before It’s Too Late” will touch your life as it has mine.

“If I should wake up some soft summer morning … with only one day left to live, I’d cherish the moments and notice each color. If I had just 24 hours for living, the things that don’t matter could wait. I’d play with the children, and hear all their stories. I’d tell you I love you, before it’s too late. I’d light one small candle to brighten the darkness, and shine in the heart of my friend. I’d take time to notice the view from my window, and walk in my garden again. If I had just 24 hours for living, the things that don’t matter could wait.”

In closing, I just want to say how much I enjoy sharing these ideas with you. Let’s both resolve to do the things that matter … before it’s too late.