Curious to know how to win in life? Well, think no more. I have the answer! It’s simple. It’s easy to understand. It’s straightforward. It’s two words. YOU CAN’T. Investing in the victory of life is a bad investment. This may sound pessimistic, but let me explain why. Before I begin, I can’t take credit for this insight.  It is adapted from an amazing podcast I recently listened to. Link to podcast feed is on the bottom of this post if you are interested in listening to the complete audio!

Ok, back to where we were. Stick with me.  Remember the game Candy Land? If Candy Land wasn’t part of your childhood, I’m sorry. It was the most requested game at our house for sure when we were kids. If you remember how the game works, you know that you can’t actually be good at Candy Land. You don’t play to win. You play to enjoy the game. Each time you play, the outcome depends on the deck of cards you are dealt. I mean you could be at the brink of winning the game and all of a sudden pull the card with the Plum man on it and you are sent back to the beginning. Ugh, I hated the Plum man. Betting on your victory in the game of Candy Land is clearly a bad investment.

If you could go back in time and invest in Google, knowing what you know now, would you? I hope you would say yes. You wouldn’t say, “I’ll put some of my money in Google and some of my money in Ashton-Tate.” Years ago, Ashton-Tate was known as one of the “Big Three” software companies, which included Microsoft and Lotus. The company grew from a garage-based operation to a multinational corporation. In 1991, it fell and was sold. If you could go back in time, knowing what you know now, would you still think to invest any of your money in Ashton-Tate. Absolutely not. To invest in something that you know will come to an end is foolish. It is a bad investment. Knowing what you know now, there is no question you would put all your money in Google. Not 10 percent, not 20 percent, but a large sum of your money. It would be a wise investment because you know it would pay off long term.

Let’s get real deep for a second. Based on my faith, I believe I am meant to live forever. Eternal life is what God promises me. I know what the future looks like. So to live for this life alone is a bad investment, but to live for eternal life is a great investment. If we take a moment to look at where we spend our time, our money and our attention, even if it is for essentially good things, we would realize it isn’t going to last. We do this, though. We invest so much of our lives in things that are a bad investment. You don’tcheck in a hotel room and decide to spend your own time and money to re-decorate it, do you? No. And why is that? Because it’s temporary.  It is not your home.

Last analogy. Say you win the lottery. You win millions but are required to space it out to where you only get paid $1,500 a day until you receive all of your winnings. Every day you wake up, and you have $1,500 in your bank account. You can use it however you like. The only catch is that at the end of the day, there is no rollover money. If you don’t use all of it, it’s gone. The first few days of receiving this money, you would probably be utterly grateful. You wake up each day with the undeserved gift of $1,500. Pretty soon though, you would probably start to feel as though you earned this money. Almost as if you were entitled to this money. If someone wanted to use or borrow your money, you would be hesitant. No, no this is my money. If the Lottery people came back to you asking for a little bit of the money that they gave you for whatever reason, you would reject. No, no this is my money. I won this money. We would start seeing this money as ours. Although we all don’t have lottery winnings delivered to our bank account each day, we receive something just as valuable. Every morning, we wake up and in our “bank accounts” we have 1,440 minutes. We didn’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. We just won the lottery of life, and every day we are gifted 1,440 minutes. What we do with those minutes is up to us, but just like the money analogy, we don’t get any rollover minutes. At first, we are grateful for these minutes. We did nothing to deserve this “deposit” each day, but we continuously receive it. Then it happens. We start to feel the entitlement. We begin viewing these minutes as earned. In an attempt to win at life, we start investing our time in the wrong things. We are putting our money in the Ashton-Tates…the temporary successes.

Multiply 1,440 minutes times 7. That is how many minutes you are gifted in one week. God comes along and asks us to give 60 of those minutes back to him each Sunday. That’s it. But we immediately take defense to that. Our greedy nature overtakes us. How could God expect us to give him 60 of OUR minutes? Well, remember, these aren’t ours. You did nothing to deserve them. They were given to you as a gift.

Friends - we’ve won the lottery. We have all lived up to this point. Multiply 1,440 minutes times of the days of your life. What a gift.

Remember to live as someone who is wise. Investing your time, money and attention in things that last. Don’t live foolishly investing in temporary happiness and success.

I am asking myself this question today, and I challenge you to do the same: How does God want me to use my minutes?