Do we realize how privileged we are to be called to something ETERNAL?\\
Everything we know or have ever known has an end. Right now it is the end of summer. Day after day it was so hot—but we knew it was temporary, that summer would end. Now we SEE it, and FEEL it, and KNOW: SUMMER is ending.
It reminds us of how critical is the factor of TIME. Whatever we do must be done NOW, quickly, because we have only a pre-measured amount of time. And none of us know the exact measure of that time. There is only one way to see it: NOW. Paul said it in 2 Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 6:1–2 1We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
NOW. Not later but NOW.
God sent out many warnings through His prophets, apostles, and Jesus, telling His people in no uncertain tones that time is critical. Time is precious. Time is NOW.
IT is true in any project of significance.
If a doctor is working to save a life, time is critical. Why are we so prone to put it off?
It is the lesson in the grade school poem:
My friend, have you heard of the land of Yawn
On the banks of the river Slow,
Where blooms the Wait-a-while flower fair,
And the Sometime-or-other scents the air,
And the Soft-go-easy’s grow?
It lies in the Valley of Wait-a-while,
In the land of Let-‘er-slide .
The tired feeling is native there,
It’s the home of the listless I-don t-care,
Where the Put-it-offs abide.
The same is true with God’s projects. The Christians day of opportunity must be viewed in this same light. With each of us time is an important factor, and always limited.
Why hasn’t God made know the exact, final finishing date? If we knew, we would likely put off and put off until the time was almost up. I recall one of my grade school teachers who was severe about having our book reports in ON TIME. There was always some student who had so many reasons why he couldn’t make the deadline, he needed just another few days. I remember the teacher reinforcing his point, that if he have us 6 months to do the report, some would wait 5 months and 28 days before they started, and of course—it couldn’t be done on time.
It is the inevitable human nature side of life. There’s always the temptation to put it off until a more convenient time.
God and his mercy grants us time. In his mercy he stretches it out, for our benefit. The prophet Isaiah noticed this quality of God’s kindness.
Isaiah 30:18 18Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.
The apostle Peter noted God’s purpose behind this.
2 Peter 3:9 9The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Paul saw it as a personal benefit for himself:
1 Timothy 1:16 16… for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
It was God’s preamble to the giving of the law on Sinai, a statement about His magnanimous character:
Exodus 34:6 6… “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
We are living at a singular time, a short period of time after the long night of the apostasy, a space that was cut short—for us. Jesus explained:
Matthew 24:21–22 21For then there will be great tribulation [the time of the apostasy from true religion], such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
Thank God, He shortened that time, to give us an opportunity!
Jesus compared this time to the coming of summer, which always showed with the budding of the fig tree.
Luke 21:29–31 29Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
As we see the fulfillment of prophecy all around us, doesn’t it alert us to the fact that summer is here? And summer is brief. The growing season is soon past. The days of the present age are numbered. It is the time of the countdown. As Paul said,
Romans 13:11 11And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
Didn’t the Psalmist say it also?
Psalm 90:10 10The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
And the conclusion for us is our prayer:
Psalm 90:12 12So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Jeremiah said it as the day going away. Watch it fade… fast!
Jeremiah 6:4 4“Woe to us, for the day goes away, For the shadows of the evening are lengthening.
The shadows are stretched out. But as has been said many times, there is a limit, a breaking point. Suddenly the great day of the Lord will burst in upon us, and all that we have watched for, worked for, prayed for, and prepared for will be HERE!
Let us not sit down and wait for some great opportunity to knock at our door. Let us grab the little ones as they come. NOW!
There is great danger in taking a half-believing, half-alert “time enough yet” attitude, the inner thought that another time, another opportunity will be more ideal.
Meanwhile, we may be caught like a thief in the night. Time run out. Summer ended. And we…? What did the prophet say of the repining Israelites?
Jeremiah 8:20 20“The harvest is past, The summer is ended, And we are not saved!”
When the summer of our life is done, what will we have to show for our work? What will the harvest be?
The day goes away. The day is for toil, tomorrow is the day of rest. We see the city on the horizon, the city Abraham looked for. What do we read?
Hebrews 11:10 10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
We have just time enough to reach the city before the gates closed. No extra time. We need to see time as precious – priceless and USE it, anticipating the day when time will merge into eternity where we can be truly satisfied. The promise is:
Psalm 36:7–9 7How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. 8They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; And thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. 9For with thee is the fountain of life: In thy light shall we see light.
Picture what John saw in Revelation, when the angel stood before him in vision. It is a mighty prophecy dramatized by a mighty angel:
Revelation 10:1–6 1And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: 2And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, 3And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth:… 5And … lifted up his hand to heaven, 6And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, … that there should be time no longer.
Do the days go on and on, with nothing new, nothing to see, but confirming the scoffers’ cry that “all things continue as they were?
Let us NOT be DECEIVED. All things do NOT continue as they were. There are more and more signs of the end of this age. Summer WILL end, as surely as the seasons come and go.
When the angel declares that there should be “time no longer,” there will be no more time for distress, or fear, or worry. No time to put a limit on our enjoyment of that bright, magnificent all-new world!
Because TIME has become “one blissful long ETERNITY!”