“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” (Practice sentence used in typewriting).

ON AN AVERAGE DAY, WHICH ONE ARE YOU: THE QUICK BROWN FOX OR THE LAZY DOG? While there are certainly times when taking a nap is the right thing to do, more often the brown fox who is “quick” has an advantage over the dog who is “lazy.”

Consider two areas of life where quickness might be considered a virtue. First, there is a well-known proverb which says, “Be slow to promise and quick to perform.” When we are thinking about making a commitment, slow deliberation is in order, but when the time for keeping the commitment arrives, quickness is what we need. But second, The Epistle of James says, “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Too often, we reverse the order and are quick to speak, especially in anger. If we’re going to be quick, however, quickness in hearing is the better policy. Seeking to understand the other person is the thing we ought to be the most eager to do.

But here is something else: there is a sense in which life will escape us if we don’t enjoy it quickly. Martial, the Roman poet, went so far as to say, “No man is quick enough to enjoy life.” That may be an exaggeration, but it is certainly true that life slips by us at an astonishing rate, and if we postpone the enjoyment of it until some future date, we may find that life has passed us by before we had a chance to enjoy it. Our childhood, our youth, our young adulthood, our kids, and even our grandkids — these are all things that must be enjoyed “quickly.” As for life’s true enjoyment, he who hesitates is lost.

If we think of quickness as “promptness,” it is obvious that there is a great value in it. “Well done is quickly done,” said Augustus Caesar. (He also said, “More haste, less speed.”) There is a small, flat, polished stone that I often keep in my pocket. Aquamarine in color, it is engraved with the word “Now.” I find that the presence of that stone in my pocket is a very helpful reminder to act . . . quickly.

Quickness is especially important when the opportunity arises to give to others or to serve them. There are times, no doubt, when we can’t give as quickly as we would like, but whenever possible, we should increase the benefit of a gift by giving it sooner rather than later.

“He gives twice who gives quickly” (English Proverb).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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