God’s word places great importance on TIME.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, and a TIME to every purpose under the heaven.”
Ephesians 5:16 “Redeeming the TIME, because the days are evil.”
Psalms 89:47 “Remember how short my TIME is.”
James 4:14 “For what is your life? It is a vapor, that appeareth for a little TIME and then vanisheth away.”
Today’s society is very TIME conscious. We have our bedside alarm clocks, watch alarms, cell phone alarms, day-timers, Blackberry meeting reminders, and on-line schedules to remind us of important meetings and appointments.
In light of all this emphasis on TIME, how do we prioritize our TIME for meeting with our brothers and sisters to worship God or to study his word?
When was the last TIME you were late for:
Movie at a theater
Kick-off or tip-off of a sporting event
Dinner with friends at a restaurant
Business meeting with your boss or a client
In contrast, how often are you late for :
Bible study on Sunday morning
Worship services on Sunday
Bible study on Wednesday night
Special services where God’s word is being taught
Accidents happen, sickness occurs, but be honest with yourself, most cases of being late, anywhere, are due to poor planning in advance and bad habits which could be cured by leaving the house five or ten minutes earlier. Being late to services or classes disrupts the concentration of the teacher and the other students or audience. Give your spiritual life as much importance as your secular and social life and TIME will not be an issue.
Let us make a deal. You read this short article concerning the reality of life and how we look at it and accept it. If it does not create some thoughts as to how we view our lives while on earth, then my time writing this would not have accomplished what I would have liked. On the other hand, if these few thoughts will cause even one person to look at the events in their lives and consider what the point of this article is, then I would have accomplished my intended purpose.
We prepare and train for important contests; it does not matter the type. We push ourselves; we sweat and suffer through rigorous daily routine preparing ourselves to meet our or someone else’s goals. How much effort and energy do we put into training and preparing for jobs and careers. Don’t we think ahead and make plans for our children and their future education?
Do we ever plan for a vacation? Wow, the thought and planning that proceed this coming event. Just think of the time and effort that goes into making sure the event goes well and is well remembered by all those involved. When it’s over, it’s back to the regular and normal life after having enjoyed that for which we made so much preparation.
May I redirect your thinking with this question. Is there a place that you and I will be going to and never return? You have heard this statement sometimes in your past: “From the cradle to the grave.” This is certainly a true statement concerning man’s existence on this earth. It is an accepted truth that we are not immortal; we don’t live forever in this earthly body. Simple evidence: look at the records of our relatives or, more simply, look around and see the evidence of natural aging up to the point of one passing from this life and not being here on this earth anymore.
By observation and plain understanding, we see there is a place we are going and will not return. Shouldn’t we make plans and prepare for this last trip before our existence here on this earth ends.
Let’s see what the Scriptures say in Hebrews 9:27, “And it is appointed for man to die once but after this the judgment” (NKJV). In Revelation 20:12, “And I saw the dead small and great before God and the books were opened and another book was opened which is the book of life and the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books”(NKJV). Certainly the question arises, how does my name get into the book of life? The context of the verse is those who labor and work in the Gospel are there.
Is this not a reasonable conclusion that we prepare and make plans for trips in this life but neglect to make plans and prepare for the journey that we will not return from? These Biblical instructions are for our thinking and consideration. May God give us ample opportunity to consider these most important matters as we live.
The last week of the year.
A time of reflection. A time of planning. We look back. We look ahead. In fact, January gets its name from the two faced pagan god, Janus, who looked back and ahead at the same time.
James 4:13-17 provides some great advice for us:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
I hope you have big plans for 2009. I really do. However, I hope you keep them in the proper perspective. The fact is, you cannot control what will happen tomorrow, let alone for all of next year. James is not telling us we can make no plans. Rather, he is telling us to make sure we know that our plans are subject to the Great Day Planner. “If the Lord wills” we will accomplish our plans.
But what if the Lord does not will? Then we must change our plans. If our plans contradict some principle of God’s word, we must change those plans immediately. However, as the year progresses there may be plans that fit perfectly within the biblically revealed will of God, but occurrences and situations cause our plans to fall short. All we can do is accept that God allowed those situations for a reason. He knows better than us and we will adjust our plans to fit with what God has or has not allowed.
What we must recognize is our life is a vapor. We do not even know if we will survive 2009. We cannot, by our own power, assure we will live to accomplish all our plans. Therefore, we need to surrender to God’s will. Instead of boasting in our plans, we need to boast in God’s strength, subordinating our plans to His will.
Finally, if we know the right thing to do, we must do it. Instead of getting caught up in our future plans, we need to live in the here and now doing what we know is the next right thing. If we put off the right thing now, God will not uphold any of our plans for the future. If, on the other hand, we continually pursue the right thing at this moment, God will establish our paths.
So, today and in the days of the new year to come, let’s not boast as if we are in control. Rather, let’s submit to God’s control, subordinating our plans to His will and just do the next right thing.