“…as long as it is day….”
Day! Not days, but day! He did not say, “As long as there are days.” No, He only allows each of us our day. All of life He wants us to live as the one and only day. Christianity has been in the world now above 2000 years, but it is still measured by a day’s length. However, I sense we are close to dusk and night has begun to fall.
If we were to ask the Lord on our way to Heaven how long it will be before we get there, and who hasn’t asked Him that question if only silently, I think He would respond, “A day’s journey.” But of course, being the children that we are, the children of God no less, like children we continue to ask, “Are we there yet.” And He says, “Very soon.” We then persist, “When?” I can hear Him say, “At day’s end.”
Did you catch it? He said
“…as long as it is day….”
One senses something very urgent, pressing and limiting in His words. So much is being conveyed. It can also be translated by the conjunction “While.” “While” means “So long as.” So Jesus’ words can be translated:
“So long as it is day.”
“While it is day.”
With no pun intended, we all are on “Daylight Saving Time.” No matter how we try to save time, daylight is only for a short while. It won’t last long! All of this is included in the insistent and immediate words of our Lord. We might add to capture the meaning more forcefully the little adverb “Yet.” “Yet” means “Before all is done.” Thus:
“While it is yet day.”
How long is so long as? How long is a while. How long is yet? About as long as the wee little one who raises his stubby arms and is thereby saying at mother’s prompting, “So big!” “So long!” That is how long – long really is. Yes indeed, for Jesus as well, time never seemed long enough and was always rivaling His goals. Time flies! We walk! Time is always outdistancing us. There is not one second to waste in what has been aptly called:
“THE RACE AGAINST TIME.”
What Hippocrates said about the cure of the body, we can also say about the cure of the soul:
“LIFE IS SHORT, AND ART LONG.”
I believe that this indeed was the intent and spirit of Christ’s words as well.
One of the saddest and most destructive sentences in the English language is:
“THERE IS PLENTY OF TIME YET.”
That completely goes counter to the words of our Lord and the entire spirit of the Bible. One of the most emphatic and important words in the Bible is the word NOW, which is the one-word summary of Christ’s words, “While it is yet day.”
We read Christ’s words in John 12:31,
“NOW judgment is upon this world….”
Every day is judgment day in this world, as our decisions in time will make up the verdict for our eternity. Or again, II Corinthians 6:2,
“…behold, NOW is ‘The Acceptable Time,’ behold, now is ‘The Day Of Salvation.’”
Now, not later, we must make our decision to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and call all men to make their decision immediately too. Later is not acceptable, for later may never come. The Bible is an alarm clock of NOWNESS! It has not a snooze button to punch and then roll over until later. “There is plenty of time yet,” is nothing more or less than procrastination, waste and a big fat lie. It is a mirage! There is no down time or spare time in the Kingdom of God. Every moment of the day is A NOW STRATEGIC MOMENT.
Why? Because if we are not busy trying to save the lost, we are busy discipling them in the disciplines of the Christian life once the lost have been found. (Matthew 28:19) There is no end to it! Praise God, we are busy planting the Gospel seed, and then some of it takes root and bears fruit. We as Christians must not only be sowers but gardeners with hoes and clippers to watch over our harvest and make sure that it is not overrun. The closest show-and-tell example of a Christian is a farmer. We ought to follow one around for just a day.
There is another very sad phrase that inevitably attaches itself somewhere down the line to, “There is plenty of time yet.” And that mournful dirge is:
“IT IS TOO LATE NOW.”
Frankly these are two of the most tragic sentences in the English language. We bemoan squandered lives and opportunities, and with the “Too Late Now” lament we close the door on an otherwise expanding and fruitful future. The future seemed at one time a vast empty and promising space waiting to be occupied, but before we know it, the future shrunk to nothing. All because we fell into the trap and the delusion of, “There is plenty of time yet.” All that might have been is then forever gone, because the buoyancy of youth ebbs, the age limit has been passed, and the doors of possibility have been closed forever.
“Man,” says the time squanderer, “If I would have only made better use of my time. If I would only have known then what I know now.” God knows I hate those words, and I am convinced He does to. There is nothing more heartrending than for the doctor to come and tell us about a sick loved one with these words, “We did not catch it in time, and I hate to tell you this, but it is too late now.” What is even more tragic is to speak those words about a promising but then wasted life.
TWELVE HOURS IN THE DAY
Elsewhere Jesus asked His disciples the rhetorical question in John 11:9,
“…Are there not twelve hours in the day?…”
For all that we have said about the shortness of time and the brevity of life, Jesus seems here to be upbeat about the daytime allotted to us in a particular context in which He points to Himself as the sunlight that lights our way so that we don’t stumble. He implies that there has been given to us by God time enough for us to fulfill the work that he calls us to do. If you will, we have time enough given to us to do all that God has assigned to us. Twelve hours in the day is plenty of time if we just stopped frittering away the minutes.
I think we need to answer His question in John 11:9 in the affirmative, and thank Him for the following lesson:
“IT IS NOT HOW LONG WE LIVE OUR LIVES, BUT HOW WELL WE LIVE
OUR LIVES THAT WILL DECIDE THE SUCCESS OR
FAILURE OF THEM.”
Frankly, I have known some Christians who have lived their day-life more fully in 40 years than others do in 80 years. The person who does not put his hand to the plow in 70 years would in most instances show the same sluggishness and non-diligence if the Lord gave him 500 years. When you think of it, God gives us 70 years which amount to 25,550 days that make up our day. Given 12 hours in the day for God’s work to be accomplished, that is 306,600 hours in our lifetime. Sounds adequate to me! And we will have to give account to God for everyone of them.
The point is this:
CARPE DIEM – SEIZE THE DAY!
Jim Mertz once watched a movie on television, and in it he saw a Muslim in the Middle East fall on his knees in the dust and the heat of the day. Five times a day this Muslim stopped, faced his holy city of Mecca and worshipped Allah. Jim asked himself the question – do I really love Jesus like that?
Jim then read about a young mother who was seen throwing her precious, new-born infant child into the Ganges River. She told someone that her child was a sacrifice, a love offering to her god. She said, “You see, we always offer our very best in sacrifice to our god.” Jim again asked himself the question – do I really love Jesus that much? What have I sacrificed for Him? Have I truly given my best to Him?”
Then eventually Jim lay in the hospital for 10 days recuperating from a bout with pneumonia. It was a Saturday morning in the cold, wintry days of January. He glanced outside at the frigid, steely gray skies and watched the blowing rain mixed with snow that came down all day. How thankful he was to be on the inside.
Then he noticed a busy intersection of the city. Below his hospital window there was a young lady, a teenager perhaps, who was standing on the street corner selling roses. She never stopped smiling all day in that mostly cold rain, in the midst of congested traffic, in spite of the jeers and sneers of those who on occasion nearly ran her down. She never stopped, all day in the rain, selling flowers for her cult leader – The Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Jim wept as again he asked himself the question – do I really love Jesus that much.
Early one Saturday morning Jim’s doorbell rang. He hastened to the door and was met by two lovely and enthusiastic young people. They were smiling and anxious to talk about the doctrines of their religious cult. They were not doctrines that Jim could accept, but these two young people were so sincere, and so dedicated to their cause that Jim could not help but be impressed. As Jim closed the door, he peered out the window to watch as they left his driveway. Jim again asked himself the question – do I really love Jesus? Am I ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Would I go out and knock on doors all day and tell others about Jesus?
It really isn’t a matter of sufficient hours or days, is it? It isn’t a matter of opportunities either. Nor is it a matter of ability. It is and always has been a matter of passion, of desire, and of giving one’s best to the Master. While is is yet day! Amen!
*Used By Permission The Voice of the Martyrs www.persecution.com
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