The Significance of the Moment
By Rich Carmicheal
"Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that’" (James 4:13-15).
"...The land of a certain rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’" (Luke 12:16-20).
"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).
The Word of God reminds us that the length of our present life is rather uncertain. While we have the promise that the life to come is eternal, we do not know if the remainder of our lives on earth will be measured in years, months, weeks, days, hours or minutes. And even if we do live a long life, our days will be "swifter than a runner; they flee away…" (Job 9:25).
Added to the brevity and uncertainty of life is the fact that time itself, as we presently know it, is coming to an end. The Scriptures warn us that "the time is short" (1 Cor. 7:29) and "the end of all things is at hand" (1 Pet. 4:7). Jesus is coming again, and we do not know the day or the hour of His return.
Those of us who belong to the Lord can, of course, look forward to the Day of Christ’s return. And, should the Lord tarry, we can also look forward to the time of our departure from this world since, as the Apostle Paul stated, it is "far better" to depart and be with Christ (Phil. 1:23). Our "citizenship is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20) and there an imperishable inheritance is reserved for us (1 Pet. 1:4).
While we have such hope and can look forward with great anticipation to the life to come, we also need to appreciate and take advantage of the remaining time the Lord grants to us in this present life. The Apostle Paul, for example, while confessing that to depart and be with Christ is far better, also recognized the importance of continuing on in his life and ministry for the benefit of others. He was glad to write to the Philippians, "I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith" (Phil. 1:25). Like Paul, we can look forward to any additional time the Lord grants us to make a difference in the lives of others.
So how much time do we have to share the Lord’s love and Word with others? All that we know for certain is that we have this moment. We have been given this day with no guarantee for tomorrow. In light of this, the Bible admonishes us to maintain a sense of urgency. Consider these passages:
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Rom. 13:11).
"Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is" (Mark 13:33).
"The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another…" (1 Pet. 4:7-8).
"Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:15-16).
"…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2).
Friend, the gift of each new day is not to be taken for granted. The Lord’s mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23) and His mercy is present this day to enable you to touch the lives of others with the Lord’s love and Word. Today is the day to pray for others. Today is the day to share your time, energy and resources on behalf of others. Today is the day to work hard in the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). Today is the day to persevere and not "lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary" (Gal. 6:9). And, if you are not a Christian, or if you are backslidden in the faith, today is the day to turn to the Lord.
"Only one life, ’twill soon be past; Only what’s done for Christ will last."
Lord, I ask you to help me appreciate and make the most of the precious time that You grant to me. I thank You for the gift of life this day and for the opportunity to share Your love and Your Word with others. Open my eyes, my ears and my heart so that I may be sensitive to all that You would have me to be, all that You would have me to do and to all that You would have me say this day so that others may benefit now and for eternity. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.