There are 31,536,000 seconds in 2018. And I am reminded of the constant advance of time as the clock in my office ticks every one of them off. There is a rythym, a pattern to time and it will not stop until Jesus brings his kingdom fully to earth at his return.
But in this advance of time, we are not guaranteed another tick of a second hand. We are not guaranteed another beat of our heart. Our lungs are not guaranteed one more breath. James, the half brother of Jesus, reminds us of this when he says, “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 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” (James 4:13-14). These verses do not say, do not spend time planning. On the contrary it tells us that planning is good but part of that planning has to be getting ourselves ready to meet God.
We have to be asking ourselves, do I believe? Am I growing as a disciple? When I go to eternity, am I going to hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
Are you as an individual spending time with God in prayer or is prayer difficult for you? If you fall into the latter category, try a new way of praying. Praying in my head is difficult because I get lost and distracted by the other things going on around me or the thoughts that pop into my head. So I know this challenge and I have had to change how I pray. I either have to speak the words out loud with no one else in the room or I write in a prayer journal. Maybe for you all you need is to have a list of prayer concerns to remind you to pray. Maybe it is a daily reminder on your phone. Whatever it is for you, try something new if your prayer life is stagnant. Because the end goal is to be in a closer relationship to God than you were at the beginning of the day.
Do you spend time reading God’s word? Are you able to spend five minutes a day away from distractions to read a chapter a day? Have you been doing this for a time but need to do it longer and find 15 minutes a day and read through the whole Bible in a year? Spending time in God’s word is important. If you are stagnant in your Bible literacy, try a new pattern, or reading plan because in the end we are all one second closer to seeing God face to face.
Maybe where your at, you are good in your prayers and in your daily devotional life, then challenge yourself by giving more time to serving God. Try to find places in this year where you can serve Him by helping the poor, the sick, those who are spiritually dead. Maybe for you 2018 will include disciplining other people and making the kingdom of God bigger one person at a time.
We are all constantly moving, with each tick and tock, closer and closer to the point where we will meet our creator. It is an intense thought. It is not a pleasant idea to contemplate as most of us have a lot that we want to accomplish in this year and beyond but the reality is the biblical authors constantly push us toward this thought.
John, who describes himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved, wrote down these words of Jesus, “Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed” (Revelation 16:15). Our time of meeting Jesus could be any second now and we need to be prepared.
Matthew, another disciple who knew and saw Jesus, records his words like this: “But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into (Matthew 24:43). Don’t fall asleep thinking like those James chastised earlier that you can take a day off, maybe a week off, maybe a month off. You never know when your time will come.
The idea throughout the biblical landscape is that we have to be ready for the day we meet God. Are you ready? If not, please speak to me. Wherever you are at. If you don’t know if you believe or if you have believed but feel in a rut, please come speak to me.
My prayer for all of us associated with Faith Chapel is that we will experience God this year and beyond and grow in the unearned gift of salvation that he bestows to us by believing in Jesus, the son of God, our savior.