The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 1


Today is the first Lord’s Day as well as the first day of 2017. Yesterday and last year are gone forever, and can never be retrieved or recalled. We can reminisce all the good and bad things that happened a day, or days ago, but the minutes and hours have passed by us. It is paramount, therefore, to redeem and improve every moment we have. The New Year is made up of minutes, hours and days. So let these be carefully utilised as we dedicate them to God. It is in the Lord’s blessings of the small matters that give stability and security in the bigger things.

Time is a fleeting element. We cannot save it, retrieve it, relive it, stretch it, borrow it, loan it, stop it or store it. But, we can only use it or lose it. We cannot call “time out” in the game of life and there are no “instant replays” as in the soccer. When we are actively participating in an activity and someone says “time’s up”, we soon realize that time is gone. We can wait for time to come again, but when it comes, it may be too late.

And, to be on time is the hardest thing to do. When in urgent need of help, it must be received or given immediately. When someone calls for help, we can say “why now and not later”? We can wait. But by so doing, many other things can happen to the one who needs help. However, the Word of God is clear regarding God’s help. It is always present. (Ps 46:1).

Job was tested in his faith and was fully aware of the shortness of life. He said, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle…my life is but breath… my days are swifter than a runner. They flee away. They slip by like reed boats, like an eagle that swoops on its prey. Man, who is born of woman, is of few days, and full of trouble. Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He flees like a shadow and does not remain,” (Job 7:6-7, 9:25-26; 14:1-2).

As we understand this fact of life, we must learn to live like our Saviour Jesus Christ did. In three years of ministering in the land of Israel, He fulfilled the will of the heavenly Father and met the needs of all who came to Him for help. He said: “My meat is to do the will of the Father who sent Me . . . Work while it is day and when the night comes no man can work anymore.” (Jn 4:34; 9:4).

Henry Twells (1823-1900) wrote a few lines about Time’s Paces; these are found fixed to the front of the clock-case in the North Transept of Chester Cathedral in England:

When as a child, I laughed and wept,
Time crept.
When as a youth, I dreamt and talked,
Time walked.
When I became a full-grown man,
Time ran.
When older still I daily grew,
Time flew.
Soon I shall find on travelling on –
Time gone.
O Christ, wilt Thou have saved me then?

While we cannot control the length of our days, yet by God’s grace we can control their depth, for we know that our Redeemer lives (Job 19:25) and that He is on our side (Ps 124:1-2). Let Gustafson’s poem challenge us.

“Our vigor is fleeting,
our best years are brief,
Our youth passes quickly—
time’s ever a thief;
But hope yet becomes us—
death’s sting holds no power;
We have a Redeemer—
an unfailing Tower.”

Ephesians 5:15-16 is often referred to as the Bible’s key to TIME MANAGEMENT. In these passages Paul commands all believers: Therefore (because we have been awakened from spiritual stupor and spiritual death and have the light of Christ (Eph 5:14), BE CAREFUL (a command to continually take heed, be alert, be vigilant, to discern with Spirit enabled vision) how you walk, not as unwise men (foolish), but as wise, MAKING THE MOST OF (REDEEMING) THE OPPORTUNITY (Kairos) because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:16) Notice that the evil of our day should motivate us to redeem the time each day.

Adoniram Judson, a famous missionary to Burma, wrote that “A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated throughout eternity. The same may be said of each DAY. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it – it will exhibit forever. Each DAY will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny. How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness! It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, (enabled by God’s Spirit) resolve to send the DAY into eternity in such garb as we wish to wear forever. And at night, let us reflect that one more DAY is irrevocably gone, indelibly (forever) marked. Eternity will reveal whether we have made the right use of time for what we weave in time we will wear in eternity.”

David Brainerd, whose candle burned so brightly that God brought him home at the relatively young age of 29, wrote in his diary: “Oh, how precious is time; and how guilty it makes me feel when I think I have trifled away and misemployed it or neglected to fill up each part of it with duty to the utmost of my ability and capacity. Oh, that I might not loiter on my heavenly journey!”

Indeed, it is too late to redeem the time that is past, but not the time that is passing. Clocks do not move backwards. So do not replay those old tapes of failures of unfaithfulness. The hands of the time of your life that count are the ones moving “clockwise”. So be enabled by God’s Spirit and His Word, make every second count for eternity!

Today is Dedication Sunday. What would you dedicate for God’s use in 2017? Consider your time, your treasures, your talents. May God’s Holy Spirit grant us the strength to dedicate our life in service to Christ so that we will have no regrets when it is time to return to our heavenly home.

Pastor Bob Phee

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