Time is Running Out!
Maybe you have taken a timed test in school as I have and were aware that the end of the time allotted was soon approaching. You had to rush to complete the examination and felt that you didn’t do a good job. Your time ran out!
You may have had a day off work and this gave you the opportunity to plan for and carry out those “handyman” jobs around the house. You wanted to paint something, mow the lawn, pull weeds in the garden, work on the car, and do some reading. But, as the day went by, you noticed that it was 6, 7, even 8 PM, you could see that your time was running out. You just couldn’t do what you had planned.
Life is like that. We know that a mere seventy or eighty years are normally given to us (Psalm 90:10), but those years soon pass us by. Even if we live to be ninety or a hundred years, we’ll still recognize that “childhood and the prime of life are fleeting” (Ecclesiastes 11:10), and almost before we know it, the “end” has arrived. We all wonder where it has gone! I’ve often said that I wish I could be 16 or 18 or 20 again for I wanted to do much more than I ever accomplished. Isn’t this a common thought as we age!
My high school graduating class holds five-year reunions. I’ve never been to one of these occasions, yet every five years some of the students who graduated come together and recall “old times” and inquire about the welfare of others. My guess is that most of those who attend ponder where all of the time has flown—and probably also ponder about the future.
People have different amounts of money. They have different incomes and bank accounts. They have different houses, lands, and cars. They even have different degrees of health. But we all have the same amount of time—only 24 hours in every day. What do we do with this precious gift from God our Maker? Do we carelessly allow our days, months, and years to pass us by with little or no positive impact on ourselves or others? Do we simply try to “squeeze” as much pleasure as we can out of our limited time with no thought of our future on earth—and especially our eternal future? Scripture reminds us that “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Do we live each day with the realization of our mortality before us?
Jesus tells us a parable of a wealthy landowner and farmer who did well with his planting and harvesting (Luke 12:16-21). He became so wealthy and thought that his future was secure, that he told himself, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry” (v. 19). But this man was foolish and forgot God. The Lord told him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you…” (v. 20). He thought that he had many more years before him, but his life was unexpectedly terminated before he imagined! There have been millions like this. Someone plans for his early retirement. He saves money, plans on a daily life of golf, travel to Florida, playing games, and enjoying his friends. But a week after he retires, he drops dead of a heart attack or maybe develops cancer and suffers an agonizing death a year later. God says, “You fool!”
Our life is soon over, even at best. It is like a watch in the night (Psalm 90:4), like grass that withers (90:5-6), like a sigh (90:9), and like a vapor that vanishes away (James 4:14). It is like a flower of the field (Psalm 103:115) that falls off (1 Peter 1:24). It is like a mere breath (Psalm 39:5) and like a passing shadow (Psalm 144:4). Life and death are no respecter of persons (Ecclesiastes 9:2-3) and death may come unexpectedly or after a slow, debilitating illness and decline (12:1-8). We may not know when our end on earth will come but we do know for sure that it will end!
Suppose that you live to the ripe old age of 100 and your afterlife were to last 10,000 years. This would mean that your life in the flesh would be only 1/100 of your future life. But isn’t this somewhat ridiculous? In actuality, our afterlife (in heaven or hell) will last not 10,000 years, not 1,000,000,000 years, but eternally! Do you think it is wise to waste our earthly life of 50, 75, or 100 years and then suffer an eternity in pain, anguish, lostness, aloneness, wretchedness, without any joy or pleasure or fellowship with God?
Do you think it makes good sense to forfeit our earthly life in trying to find every ounce of pleasure but then face a wrathful God who chooses to punish us eternally because of our unforgiven sin? The Bible means it when it says that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a), the result of sin will be God’s unending wrath (Ephesians 5:6), and no one who dies in sin will receive the kingdom of God (v. 5). It is the height of foolishness and shortsightedness for us to waste our life and spend it in the guilt of unforgiven sin, then face God in eternal judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)!
In light of all of these facts, what would God think? David, the psalmist, wrote: “LORD, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am” (Psalm 39:4). Let’s always keep our “end” before us. Let’s weigh the reality of “the extent of our days” and let’s always remember “how transient I am”! Realize deep in your heart that your time is limited—and then the vastness of eternity lies out before you!
Are you ready for some sound counsel? God’s Word says, “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Are we making the most of our limited, precious time here? Are you piling up riches on earth and living as though there were no tomorrow? Are you taking your expensive vacations, chasing after sports and musical concerts, and living for this life—or are you living sacrificially for God and spending your life and all it contains for Him?
I urge you to look at your life and see yourself as God sees you. Be willing to repent of all your sins and renounce your self-orientation. Turn away from all disobedience before God and begin to live for Jesus the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Place your faith in God and in the Lord Jesus (John 3:16, 36), trusting God to save you because Jesus our Savior was willing to take all of our sins on Himself and die for them (Romans 5:6-11). He rose from the dead to give you new life! Be willing to confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized into Jesus and into His death (6:3-5) by expressing your faith and repentance in baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16) and then rising to live a new life in Him (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12-13). You can be a “new creation” in Jesus the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:17)!
Dear friend, I love you and don’t want to see you lost eternally, away from the delightful and saving presence of God (Romans 5:10-11). Don’t foolishly live for this life and fail to live for God and eternal life! Remember that “the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).