Occasionally, we’ll get the thrill of taking that shortcut and coming out on top, but not usually… I find that some of the dumbest things I’ve ever done I did when I was in a hurry.
I spilled a whole thermos of coffee on my laptop while typing emails and talking on the phone…
I tore the house apart looking for my keys when they were already in my pocket…
I threw away $43 worth of antibiotics while cleaning our kitchen…
Try as we may, we’ll never beat the clock! Time is always short.
This was Paul’s message to the Christians in the city of Corinth. Jesus’ spoke the same message as he called his first disciples: “the time is fulfilled, and the reign of God has come near!”
For these early Christians, the urgency is heightened by the fact that they were living in dangerous times. The powers-that-be threw John the Baptizer into prison. He would never again breathe free air. The Corinthian Christians faced threats both from within and without. The church was bitterly divided on questions of right living and right teaching. Persecution of Christians was becoming more and more widespread. Things were so bad that Paul was absolutely convinced that Jesus was going to come again.
Time was short.
Paul’s message to these believers is to warn them against becoming entangled up in a dying world… Just like us, these Christians were constantly challenged to live out their faith while at the same time working to support their families; and dealing with the other priorities and struggles of simply living life. They too felt the pull towards the pleasures and treasures the world had to offer.
All told, there was a rapidly-closing window of opportunity to receive by faith the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
That’s the problem with time—it passes like a tidal wave. It changes our lives in sudden and dramatic ways. Sometimes the change is good—but very often it is not. Death and evil ride the waves of time’s passing. But death and evil also lurk within the time crunches we experience most days. The devil exploits the scarcity of your time to lure you away from living your life in Jesus Christ. When it comes to living the life of discipleship, the easiest and most convincing reason to say “no” is because you don’t have time. We spend so much of our day racing against the clock that we reject Jesus’ call without even thinking about it. That is the worst decision we can possibly make.
But thanks be to God that Jesus has come into our midst today. He comes into our situations of crisis. When death and evil destroy what is precious to us, he’s there. He’s here today to forgive you and me for all the times we’ve rejected his grace and gone our own way. His Gospel is a net that catches us from being destroyed by sin and death. His grace turns us away from the temptations and urgencies of the present to live in light of eternity.
This very moment is precious and holy because Jesus has come to call you his own and give you rebirth into the eternal reign of God. Today is sacred because Jesus is here to radically transform your soul, together with your plans and your priorities. Today is sacred because we stand at the beginning of eternity. Today is sacred because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But the promise we have from Jesus is that even if today is your last day on earth, the life you’ve known is only a prelude of the life of the world to come.
Jesus is here as we stand at the crossroads of life and death. Today is the day to listen to Jesus’ words and put your trust in his promises. Today is the day to dive into his eternal embrace, and to entrust all of your life’s greatest urgencies into his hands.
You may think you don’t have the time to follow Jesus. The truth is, you don’t have time not to love Jesus. God’s grace is the moment you are in here and now. Don’t reject his grace cut your way out of his net. Eternity is about to dawn on the horizon.