[b]Time is passing[/b]
[i]by Jesse Morrell[/i]
The clocks are ever reminding us of the fading time. Every tick of the clock is a tick off your life no matter how you spent that second. We try to hold on to time and preserve our lives but the truth remains the same, "Heaven and earth will pass away". (Matt 24:35). Summer seems to last forever when youre a child. The days seem like weeks, weeks seem like months, and months seem like years. In due time we come to the realization that there is a season for everything. And the season of summer must come to an end. In the eyes of many today life seems to be a never ending summer, at least they live as though it was. But all things must come to an end, even good things.
Time is fading into eternity whether we realize it or not. Our belief or lack of belief in this truth does not alter or change reality, although it changes the way we live our lives. It is just like a thief who will try to rob your house. Whether you notice him or not, he is still there. In fact it is because you do not notice him that he is there to steal. There are blinders on the eyes of many people today. These eye blinders keep people from seeing the reality of time passing, passing, passing away right before their very own eyes. The thought that our lives will one day end may be in the back of our minds, but the truth of it is right before our eyes. Our eyes need to be opened to this truth. People are perishing through lack of vision. Life and death are a prevalent part of life. It is something we learn from a very early age. As much as we don't like to think about it, we can't help but to see it. Dont you see your life passing? Are you awake in reality or do you slumber in your fantasy? Do you see time falling between your fingers like sand falls through the hands of a man at the beach? It's passing and passing and no matter how strong and hard you close your fingers around it, it still seems to fall between your fingers just the same. "Now my days are swifter than a runner; they flee away". (Job 9:25) One second you see a runner, and the next second he's gone. Our lives are here and then they are gone. Not only is time passing, but it's passing quickly.
Heaven and earth is passing away. We don't hear it enough. This serious truth is seldom taught. The life that we now live will come to an end. "For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." (James 4:14) Your time here is limited. Make it count. You have one shot at this. We may have hopes of a long life, but so did everyone who has died young. I often tell people when I preach open-air in the large cities that the big sky scrappers they see every day are nothing more then fancy sand castles. Yes they are enormous and impressive, but they will not last. The wind and waves of time are going to come and these sand castles will be no more. The Roman Empire was one of the greatest empires in all of history, but it is no more. Their great buildings have been destroyed and their empire lay desolate. Our lives are coming to an end, but not only our lives but all of time. Our priorities change when we come to this realization. The values of the man on his death bed quickly change from the values he had in his health. Because our lives will one day be over, how should we live now?
Are you the owner of time?
Great deals of people, young and old, live entirely for themselves. I know church-goers who will swear up and down that they are saved, however they don't really have any desires to do anything for the Lord. When you become a Christian, not only are you converted and cleansed, but your also taken captive. In order to be in the Kingdom of God you must submit to the King. We have been bought at a price and therefore we are no longer our own. If we were our own then we could make our own decisions. We could spend our money however we wanted, we could sleep as much as we wanted, we could hang out with whoever we wanted, we could spend all of our time however our hearts desired. Let me tell you plainly, this is not a Christian practice. Christianity is not selfish but selfless. A disciple that is not disciplined is not a disciple at all. A captive who is free to do as he likes is no captive at all. We are now longer our own so how can we possibly make our own decisions? God has either all of you or he has none of you. You can't give Him your sins and not give him yourself. He won't save you for eternity and not take your time here on earth. We must all come to know that Heaven rules and not ourselves. (Dan. 4:26)
Certain questions must arise in our minds when we think upon the Lordship of Christ. What was the purpose for which he bought me? Since my time is really His time, how does He want me to spend it? Why has God given me my time? God lives outside of time in eternity. Therefore all of His desires are focused on eternity. There are countless ways you could spend your time, but just because you spent it doesn't mean you truly bought anything. Use your discernment. Ask yourself "are the things I'm doing today really going to matter outside of today?"
Millions of things and people want to steal your time. We know that one of the things Satan does is steal. He doesn't have to cause you to sin to steal your time. With all the video games, television programs, and recreational activities he can very easily steal your time without having you commit blatant sin. Satan would love for Christians to do nothing more then give into folly. Is it any wonder there are so much of this in the church? There are basket ball courts in churches. There are even video arcades in certain churches!! Of coarse it is tried to be justified by saying it is "for the youth group". These poor kids have the world offering them the very same things! Can't the church offer them anything with any real eternal significance or is it simply trying to match the worldliness that they can find in the mall?
This much is without question: your time will be used for something. You can use your time wisely or foolishly. You could use your time for good or for evil. You could use your time for yourself or for God. Either way you will end up using your time. In honestly, if your time is not spent for God then it is spent for the devil. Isnt that a little bit extreme? You bet it is! The Holy Spirit gets excited at the talk of extreme service to God. It is far better to over do it then to under do it as far as Christianity is concerned. So all you have to do in order to serve the devil is simply to do nothing for God. "Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, but a man of understanding walks uprightly." (Prov. 15:21) Fools take pleasure in folly. How can we take pleasure in that which is vain? A wise man is joyful in his labors for Christ. Our labors for His Kingdom are eternal. It's not hard to look around and see fools doing foolish things. Folly is everywhere calling out to you in its manipulative subtly. "Folly is set in great dignity". (Ecc. 10:6) This is the manipulative subtly of folly! It is deceptive and very easily deceives the simple minded. It looks great and thats its pull on our flesh but its not great at all. In fact it's worthless. It looks appealing to us but it is really appalling to God.
We are the field of God which He desires to reap a harvest from. (1 Cor. 3:9). God calls us to bear fruit worthy of our repentance. The fruit that God desires is "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control". (Gal. 5:22) Any and all harvests require work, hard work. We must allow God to work on us and that is why we must give Him our time. We must give ourselves entirely to Him and His will and therefore allow God to move in us, through us, and even because of us.
Dr. Tozer said "Remember, we are compared with what we could be, not just what we should be. God being who He is, and Jesus Christ being His risen and all-powerful Son, anything we ought to be we can be. Anything that God has declared that we should be we can be. In the wonderful book of Romans, perhaps the greatest and most profound book in the Bible, 7 tells us of a man who is struggling and wanting to be something that he feels he cannot be. Finally he gives up and says, What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?(verse 24). Immediately, Paul says, Thanks be to God! . . . because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death (25; 8:2). In Galatians 5:22-23 we read, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.That is what we ought to be and what we can be. Now compare that with what we are.
Make your time count
If you observe the actions of a man you can learn of the thoughts of the man. The way a man spends his money reveals the true desires of his heart. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt. 6:21). Does your life give testimony to eternity? Do you live today as though there will be no tomorrow? The way you spend your time reveals what it is you value. If an unsaved person looked at the way you spend your time, would he see anything different then his own life besides maybe an hour on Sunday? Look at your life yourself. What are you doing with your life? "What is your life?" Can you say that the things you are doing are eternally important? Anyone can say they love the Lord, but not everybody shows that they really do. A man who claims to love fishing and yet chooses not to fish on his free time obviously does not value it like he claims. Likewise, the man who claims to love Christ and yet chooses not to spend his free time with Him and serving Him obviously does not love that Lord as he may claim.
As I walk through some of these old cemeteries in the world my heart is always burdened. Does anyone who is still alive have any idea who these people were? Have they been completely forgotten in time now that they are in eternity? Did they make an impact with the one life that they were given? Did they really understand that one day someone like me would be staring at their name on their grave? We should be deeply humbled when we hear about what David Brainerd was able to accomplish in his only eight short years of his Christian life. He lived a more full life in his eight years of being a Christian then many men do in their entire lives professing to follow Christ. He served as a missionary, labored fervently in prayer and fasting, and saw great moves of the Spirit of God. This man knew how to spend his time. So what will others say about you after you have been gone? Once all the friends and family that know who you are die, will anyone know who you are or will you be just another grave in just another cemetery? What will be the legacy that you leave behind? This is something not everybody knows, you're life can really make a difference. You could actually use your life to change the lives of others.
Robert Murray MCheyne said Oh! Brethren, be wise. Why stand ye all the day idle? In a little moment it will be all over. A little while and the day of grace will be over-preaching, praying will be done. A little while, and we shall stand before the great white throne-a little while, and the wicked shall not be; we shall see them going away into everlasting punishment. A little while, and the work of eternity shall be begun. We shall be like Him-we shall see Him day and night in His temple-we shall sing the new song, without sin and without weariness, forever and ever. In just a little while and time will have passed. Heaven and earth are passing away. God wants a people who will be like MCheyne who also said What right have I to steal and abuse my Masters time? Imagine the possibilities if you not only gave your life to Jesus but actually lived your life for Jesus. Open your ears and listen to the ticks of the clocks. They refuse to slow down for us. You dont have to be a great person to do great things. Even if youre as normal as they come, you can still do exceptional labors for God.
The most powerful weapon the Christian has is prayer. The most powerful weapon also seems to be the most neglected unless it is put in faithful hands. Pray changes lives. Prayer alters the course of history. Great men of God like John Wesley, George Whitfield, David Brainerd, were all men who changed history because they were all men of great prayer. Jesus was a praying man, and who has had a greater impact then Him? It is the private prayers of the Saints and not the public ministries of the show men that truly change lives.
There is no such thing as too much prayer. However there is such a thing as not enough prayer. We can sometimes get into the mentality that we are not being productive when we pray. Prayer is just like farming. Its very hard work and you dont always see immediate results. Harvest time is not every day. When we try to pray so many other things enter into our minds as we are about to start and these things are always petty and little compared to communing with God. The mentality that praying time is wasting time has to go. Paul exhorts us to pray without ceasing. Therefore praying time is not wasting time but rather it is the opposite. Time spent not praying is wasted time. No matter who you are, will you have a life of intercession?
Its personally a great relief to me to know that Jesus choose the simple men of the time to start his church. They were fishermen and tax collectors but God was able to change the world through them! The bible tells us to be still and know that I am God. (Ps 46:10) It is when we are still that God moves. When we stop trusting in ourselves and our own abilities and learn to trust in Christ and Christ alone that we can see the power of God. If you trust in your own power then that is all youre going to get. We must allow God to move through us to reach this generation of lost souls.
He who wins souls is wise! (Prov. 11:30) Therefore it's the fools who do not. The fools love folly, the wise win souls. Nothing has more of an eternal impact then saving souls. Souls will only be reached through prayer and outreach. There are no other ways. If we really want our lives to count, if we really want to love others, if we really want to win for the Lamp the reward of His sufferings, then we must labor to win souls. Living out biblical Christianity is reaching out to the lost world with the gospel of Christ.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Cor. 15:58) It is only the labor that is for the Lord that is not in vain, therefore let us always be abounding in them. What will you do with the simple knowledge that time is passing? My prayer is that with this knowledge you will "not turn back to folly." (Ps 85:8)
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon