Burning Daylight

In the film “The Cowboys,” John Wayne plays a hard-pressed rancher that winds up using a group of young boys to help him on a cattle drive.  Their first morning out, while the boys were still asleep in their bedrolls, the rancher yells, “Get up!  We’re burning daylight!”  Slowly the boys open their eyes to the surrounding darkness.  “It’s still night time,” one of the youngsters observes.  Later, as the adolescents become cowboys, they realize the wisdom of the trail boss’s direction.  They have certain tasks that need to be performed so that they don’t waste a moment when the sun does come over the horizon.

A number of years ago, I participated in a photography workshop in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, led by gifted large-format photographer Willard Clay.  One morning we drove to the beginning of the Little River Trail.  After we got out of the vans, Will said, “There’s a lot of material here to work with.”  I looked around.  It was dark o’clock.  I couldn’t see more than a couple of feet in front of me.  After several minutes, however, it began to be light enough to start up the trail.  I didn’t have to go very far to see that our leader was correct.  Awesome autumn colors were all around us.  I walked down to the water’s edge, set up my tripod and camera, and took the following 2-second exposure in the pre-dawn light.

In Matthew 25: 14-30, Jesus relates a parable in which three men become stewards of different amounts of financial resources.  Two of them wisely invested what was entrusted to them.  The man who did not wisely use those resources, who “burned daylight,” was separated from what he temporarily did possess.

I am a temporary steward of many things including material possessions, financial resources, time, health, abilities, freedom, opportunities, and wisdom imparted to me, both by God and by other people.  It is quite clear that God expects me to wisely use what He has given to me for a period of time.  But there is another part of this parable that should not be overlooked:  I should not be jealous of someone else’s camera equipment or photographic ability or any other resource that another individual has.  My focus should be on how to best honor God with what He has entrusted to me.

Well, I have to go now.  You see, the Son’s risen and I’m burning daylight.