Before reading this post, listen to this song.
A few years ago my oncologist warned me that the cancer reducing chemo that they gave me predisposed me to a slight chance of contracting an assortment of other deadly cancers and conditions. Ugh! But so good so far! Still kickin’. Whether or not my life is cut even shorter, it does give me pause to think about how I need to live my life with urgency and not get sidetracked from the task at hand.
The day after the news came from the doctor of doom this passage about serious living in serious times came to my attention.
11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. Romans 13:11-14 (NLT)
Paul exposes a problem and offers a prescription…
The problem is “Time is running out!” It’s happening for everybody everywhere. Right? I mean no one is exempt. We’re all closer to death today than we were yesterday and will be nearer the end tomorrow than we are today!
It’s “urgent,” Paul says, because of the nearly spent night and the day that is about to break. We’re all running out of time. There’s an old saying, “Repent today, because tomorrow you’ll have less time to repent in and more things to repent of!”
No one in Houston or Puerto Rico woke up the day before the news broke that Hurricane Harvey was on its way assumed it might be his or her last day on earth. None of the concertgoers in Las Vegas were thinking they might breathe their last before Jason Aldean finished his set. And most Americans are confident that the North Korean psychopathic president won’t flip the nuclear attack switch and wipe out half our population today. But you never know.
I’m no fear monger; I’m just stating the fact that we don’t know our own expiration date. It was Paul who brought all this up. Unsettling though it is, I’m just reminding us of what he said.
Paul could’ve been referring to the brevity of time for the whole human race before Jesus calls it a day and returns to take total control of this mess. I don’t hear people these days talk much about the coming of the Lord, and granted there are many theories about how it will all unfold. But one way or another, at one time or another, Jesus will be coming back! And when he does, we won’t have any more time to steward the earthly lives he gave us. After that there will be no extra credit assignments or take-over tests. Our grade will be what we have achieved (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:10-14).
Whether Paul is talking about the end of our lives or the end of the world, we have less time than we used to have. It’s situation critical and time for us to wake from our spiritual slumber!
Most Christians don’t live with that kind of urgency. They’ve been lulled to sleep by a misplaced confidence in technology, in our internationally feared military, or in American ingenuity, as though those things guarantee us long problem-free lives. But there are some things that can’t and won’t be fixed by good old American know-how.
I’ve been wondering what kind of disaster it would take to awaken us from our slumber. What will it take for kingdom people to start living like it? What needs to happen before we live, like Tom Sine says, “Like we give a damn!”?
So what’s to be done about it? We’ll have to wait till next time to answer that and talk about Paul’s “Prescription.” Stay tuned…
In the meantime, I’d like to ask for prayer as I pursue publishing my second book. It’s called Reaching Rahab: Joining God is His Quest for Friends. It’s about sharing our faith with God’s trashed but treasured people. I’m running into some delays in the process, so please pray that time (at least my time) won’t run out before it comes out…