The most important assets

By: By Mac McPhail - Contributing columnist

“What are your assets?’

You go to the bank to get a loan. You fill out the loan application. The first thing the bank loan officer will look at is your assets. Asset is defined as “the entire property of a person used to pay debts.” The bank is trying to determine if you have enough assets to ensure the ability to pay off the loan.

Those assets can be several things. It may be property, like your home, land or a business you own. It could be personal property, like cars and trucks. It may be money you have in the bank. (Of course, if you had a lot of cash in the bank you wouldn’t be applying for a loan!) Your job, your income, and your earning potential will also probably be considered, along with other areas, in determining your total assets.

Speaking of jobs, employers think of assets when it comes to their employees. Does this employee, or potential employee, have the personal character traits and abilities that will benefit the company? Is the employee a hard worker, dependable, organized, knowledgeable, willing to learn, etc.? In other words, does this employee have the assets to be profitable to the business?

We all have personal assets and material assets. Some, more than others. Our assets are who we are and what we have. But the foundation for those assets comes, in almost all cases, from two sources – our time and our energy. They are our two greatest assets. And all of our other assets are primarily the result of how we wisely use the time and energy given to us by God.

We know, whether consciously or unconsciously, that our time and our energy is important. Every day, we decide how we are going to spend the time and energy designated to us for that day. (For me, it could be deciding between working, cutting bushes, or playing golf. That’s often not a difficult choice.) We can use our most important assets to build up other assets, like personal growth or material assets. We can use them to enjoy life. Or we can choose to not use them at all, or even worse, use them in a negative manner. We decide what is worth our time, and what is worth our effort. However we choose, at the end of the day, the time and energy for that day is gone.

Maybe that is one of the most troubling things about getting older. You start to realize how important your two greatest assets are, and that they are now not as available to you as they were in the past. When you read the obituaries in the newspaper, (You never did when you were young!) you see that there are still those who have passed on that are older than you. But you notice that there are just about as many the same age and younger than you in the obituaries. And whether through sickness or aging, you can’t do as much as you could in years past. Time and energy are slipping away.

If misused or underused, the time and energy allocated to us can even become a liability, rather than an asset. A life wasted is a life where time and energy have been wasted. For many people, it was decided that achieving potential took too much time and wasn’t worth the effort. Because achieving potential does take time and energy.

How are you and I using our two most important assets? Realizing potential is using the time and energy, no matter how much or little that God has granted us, inorder to become what He desires us to be. We all have that potential. But potential means that it hasn’t happened yet. For many, it never does. And that leads to regret. Maybe that’s what the poet John Greenleaf Whittier was thinking when he wrote, “For all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’”

Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at

By Mac McPhail

Contributing columnist

Mac McPhail McPhail

Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at