The man working the concrete is Cireno, the hired man at Refuge Ranch, home to our daughter and her family in Mexico. Cireno does a little bit of everything, but concrete is one of his favorite mediums with which to work. I was helping him with this particular project, as were a number of other people on our mission team. We were pouring part of the foundation for the new main house being built at Refuge Ranch.
The thing about working with concrete is that you don’t have a lot of time to work it before it begins to set. I’d deliver a wheel barrow of concrete, dump it where Cireno pointed (pointing is the same in either English or Spanish) and he’d immediately begin to spread it around and smooth it out with his trowel. He had to hurry, for in an hour the concrete would already have begun to set.
All of us do a lot of laying of concrete in our lives. By this I mean that we often have a limited time to get things right. It’s frequently impossible to go back and do something differently. I’m amazed, for instance, at how quickly the years of raising our children have gone by. Once they were grown and gone it was too late to be a good dad to my toddlers, to my teenagers, to my growing children. I had three years when I attended seminary before I started pastoring. I’m not sure I appreciated the tremendous opportunity I had to sit under the teaching of some great teachers, but I can’t do it over again.
Life is meaningful because we can have a permanent impact on others, it’s also sobering that we can have a permanent impact on others. We might wish that our wrong attitudes, words, and actions could readily be reversed but they can’t. The other side of this same coin is that our attitudes, words, and actions can have long term positive benefits in the lives of others. The coin of influence always has these two sides.
The teachings of Jesus, and the Biblical teachers before Him and after Him, make clear that what we do with this lifetime has eternal consequences. There’s a time coming when it will be too late to change things. Our response to this reality ought to be a renewed commitment to living this life, and each day of this life, with the awareness that we can make a permanent and eternal impact by who we are and what we do. This life’s important! Each day is important. Every day is a day we pour concrete!
“As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (Jesus in John 9:4)