Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near...

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. ~ James 4:14

The Precious Gift of Time

Author: Kenneth Long

Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2021

Any serious thought given to the idea of eternity has a way of highlighting the brevity of this life. It’s rather ironic that life and death begin simultaneously; life beginning in the spark of conception and in that same instance the sand in our figurative hourglasses begins to dissipate. The most sobering aspect of this fact is that not one of us knows how long our journey through this life will last. If life has proven anything it is that death touches everyone, from the very old down to the very young; no one is sacrosanct. The bible confirms this fact in the book of Hebrews; verse 9:27 which reads: And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

Time or circumstance will eventually bring us face to face with the reality of our mortality. Sure, we often take for granted the idea of "tomorrow" whereby we are born, we grow up, grow old and in between we do "something ". However, the question then becomes: "Have we succeeded in the one and only accomplishment that truly matters;" preparation for our eternal existence. Mark 8:36 reads "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul." The bible expresses an equally powerful illustration concerning the futility of the pursuits of the world in a parable found in:

Luke 12:16-21
And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain "rich" man brought forth "plentifully " And HE THOUGHT WITHIN HIMSELF, saying, What shall I DO, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, THIS WILL "I"DO: "I" will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there "WILL I" bestow all my fruits and my goods. And "I WILL" say to my soul, Soul, thou hast "much goods laid up for many years " take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. BUT GOD SAID unto him, "Thou fool, THIS NIGHT "THY SOUL SHALL BE REQUIRED OF THEE" then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? SO IS HE "that layeth up treasure for himself", and IS NOT RICH TOWARD GOD."
King James Version

God wants our focus to be in pursuing him and his ways. Jesus Christ came to give humanity a second chance at eternal fellowship in harmony with him; an opportunity that was forfeited by Adam through disobedience. The efforts we make to " acquire" material gain in this life are at best trivial, primarily because they are only temporary, and will not supply any benefit beyond the grave. Jesus said in:

Matthew 6:19-21
LAY NOT up for yourselves treasures "upon earth", where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures "in heaven", where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, "THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE ALSO."
King James Version

We can amass great wealth and have a long list of accomplishments and successes as far as the eye can see, but if we pass from this life having neglected the "only" goal that truly impacts us, securing our eternal destiny in God, then our life was wasted and spent in abject "idleness". It's important to note that God is not " against" pursuing goals, or achieving success, or even wealth. We know this because it was God who gave Job his great wealth. However, the secret to Job’s success was that his possession did not “possess” him. His trust and security was not in his possessions, or even in his family. He knew it was God who gave him his possessions ( Job 1:21 ) and that he was not "sustained" by what he had, but by God himself.

Concisely put, Job had NO attachments that were greater than or equal to God. God was the center of his universe and the object of his pursuit. When Job lost all of his possessions, he did not lament his loss at the expense of reverencing or worshiping God. In fact, Job credited God as the "source" of his possessions and acknowledged that all he had was God’s to take (Job 1:21). The bible says "…In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” ( Job 1:22). Although, Job has his moment of weakness in questioning God, his faithfulness to God exceeded his wealth, his family, and the things of this life to the point that in God’s restoration of Job he gave him double what he lost (Job 42:10).

Even greater than the wealth of Job; God gives us time. Time is a period of “grace” by which we can turn from our ways, be reconciled to Him and to "allow" him to prepare us to meet him face to face; which we ALL will eventually (2 Corinthians 5:10-21). "We" chart the course of our eternal destination through the choices we make. NO soul is lost by God's choice. The bible says in:

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, but that ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE
King James Version

We must forego the vain pursuits and philosophies of the world and become totally focused on the "things of God" and pleasing him. God knows we have desires in this life and he is even willing to give us those things that are in his will. Matthew 6:33 reads "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (also see Psalm 37:4). Nevertheless, our desires in this life should not distract from the reality that from the time of our conception we are simply "passing through" this life. As stated by our predecessor Job, we came with nothing and we will leave with nothing.

Each day we awake is one more opportunity to dedicate our lives to Christ, express our devotion and gratitude for the goodness that he extends to us with each new day (Lamentations 3:22-23). Time is space to return to a God eager to welcome us into his open arms; as one person put it "space is grace." The time that God extends to us to turn to him, allow him to transform us into the ways of holiness, is something to covet and not disregard.

Jesus said in John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, "EXCEPT" a man be born of water "and" of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." The apostle Peter reiterates the criteria of Jesus in Acts 2:38 where the question was posed (verse 37) "…Men and brethren, what shall we "DO" to which Peter responds "Then Peter said unto them in verse 38:

Acts 2:38
REPENT "and be" BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ "FOR" the remission of sins , and ye "SHALL RECEIVE" the gift of the Holy Ghost. " [This is the new birth - Romans 8:9, Acts 11:15-18, John 3:5
King James Version

Both the righteous and the impenitent will one day stand before God to give an account for the things we have done in this life (2 Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:12), and we must be prepared for that time when our journey in this life comes to an end. God calls for us to be "holy" (1 Peter 1:16). Since the fall of Adam, holiness is a trait we are inherently devoid of. Holiness in man is only obtainable through a "holy" entity. "That" entity is the Holy Spirit of God and the "literal" infilling thereof (Act 1:5, Act 2:4, Acts 2:38, Acts 5:32, Acts 10:43-47, Acts 19:1-6). God loved his creation so much he came wrapped in flesh to be the atonement for the sins of the world. The selfless sacrifice and shed blood for our redemption made possible the path to reconciliation and eternal life (John 1:14, John 3:16, Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 10:1-14).

Not one of us knows the date of our departure or the return of the Lord. God has offered us all the opportunity to regain what was lost from the first man when our time in this life comes to an end. So, the bible admonishes us to "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: " (Isaiah 55:6); while the grace and mercy of a loving God gives us the time.