Robert and Maureen McQuillan reflect on ‘time’ …
We humans are definitely creatures of time! We’re preoccupied with it… measuring our days in time, wearing watches to keep check. At some point each day, we wonder ‘What time is it?’ Or ‘How much time do I have left to do this task?’
We may even lament ‘Gosh, time goes on’ or comment to someone, ‘Seems time stood still since we last met’ or ‘It’s been a long time, where did it go?’… and so on.
It’s been said that the concept of time has been problematical for philosophers, even biblical scholars in the divine scheme of things.
One thing is certain for Christians – regarding time, the scriptures make a distinction between the ‘temporal’ and the ‘eternal.’ Paul says, ‘There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever’ (2 Corinthians 4:18 Mge).
And what about temporal today, this month itself? It’s almost the middle of July, six months into 2016! No wonder people are commenting, ‘Where did the year go to?’
The very thought brings to mind the old Latin phrase tempus fugit – variously translated as ‘time is on the wing’, ‘time flies’, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ or ‘time’s a-wasting’ – it’s so true!
As tempus fugit is typically employed as an admonition against sloth and procrastination, ‘time’s a-wasting’ needs to be noted well in our day when everyone seems to be so busy and life itself can seem so uncertain.
Wasted time is irretrievable – we need to grasp another old saying – carpe diem – seize the day!
Make your life extraordinary!
Carpe diem is particularly memorable from the late Robin Williams movie, Dead Poets Society, in which he played English teacher John Keating and inspired a class of male students to seize the day and follow their dreams as unique individuals of value.
Released some 27 years ago, Keating’s striking encouragements actually caused thousands of young people determined to ‘make their lives extraordinary.’
In this maverick role, the master challenges his students, ‘There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.’
Keating also urged, ‘You must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!’
How’s your July going? Been breaking out?
Only yesterday we heard the comment, ‘It’ll soon be Christmas! We’ve only five months left of 2016 and then 2017 will be on us!’
This can be a little discouraging for some – in that the discouraging thought comes: ‘Oh no! I had great dreams, great hopes I believed would be backed by God this year, I prayed so earnestly… but nothing has happened.’
Other similar negative thoughts can creep in, throwing us and seeking to deflate and side-track us. Yes, life is life and things go wrong, prayers aren’t always answered – immediately!
The great apostle, Paul, didn’t have life easy as he determined to follow Jesus. Yet he seized the day, grabbing every God-given opportunity to fulfil Jesus’ calling on his life. He boldly declared his own version of carpe diem: ‘Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!’ (Philemon 4:4 Mge).
Verse 13 highlights the source of his ability to seize the day: ‘Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.’
That same source – Jesus (and the all-powerful Holy Spirit) – is available to every Christian, every day!
Paul’s main encouragement is found in verse 8: ‘Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.’
But only mediating isn’t enough!
The wise Paul recognised that meditating on these beautiful attributes alone is not enough – he added (v9 NLT): ‘Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.’
‘Practice’ – the Greek here is prasso, rendered in the KJV as ‘do.’ So simple but oh the depths of this little two-lettered word! Its emphasis here is on ‘performing repeatedly, accomplishing habitually through commitment.’ If you like, it’s ‘an executive decision.’
Christians are to be people of executive decisions resulting in action eg faith actions!
Regarding action, James challenged In James 2:14 Mge, ‘Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?’ He then declared in verse18, ‘Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.’ Back to our subject of time … It’s time to break out!
Julius Caesar was someone who dared to dream. Aged 31 he ‘broke out’ to follow his dreams in life and in doing so he would victoriously proclaim ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ – ‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’
A thinker, visionary and someone who definitely moved into action, Caesar lived an extraordinary life –devising and ruling an empire, even reforming the Roman calendar and having this month named after him! (‘July’ means Julius Caesar’s month).
Committed Christians dare to move into action
We need to stop wasting time and seize the day – whatever that will work out as, remembering that God has a great plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).
Now it won’t be having a month named after us! Or achieving a ‘big name,’ but accomplishing something important in the kingdom of God – for Jesus’ glory.
July is a month of celebration for nations and individuals. For example: America (Independence Day, July 4), our granddaughter Bonnie-Jane (birthday this Sunday) – and we ourselves celebrated our 55th wedding anny last week! Sharing the day on Facebook, we received many congratulations and acknowledgements that few, even Christians, accomplish such a commitment these days.
The point is…heeding Paul’s direction, we can all find something good to reflect on this month – indeed any day.
But more importantly, we need to move on from merely mediating and celebrating. Let’s break the mold of ineffectiveness and irretrievable time by getting involved in something important for the kingdom!
God’s kingdom is still very important (Matthew 6:33). Involvement calls for daring action! May we be real and avoid all hype and airy fairy activities. Spirit-led, let’s practise achieving something of value for the kingdom.
Jesus said that even giving a glass of water to someone thirsty was important– ‘Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice’ (Mark 9:41).
Now that’s easy… a mere glass of water, not being a pastor or missionary or achieving some stupendous deed. Go seize the day – but be imaginative as led by the Spirit!
Don’t be resigned to desperation! Let’s make our life extraordinary for Jesus. Then there will be no admonition of slothfulness and procrastination against us over irretrievable time!
(Scripture emphases ours) Links: https://connectingwithyou.net/2016/06/29/dare-to-call-him-shepherd-june-29-2016/ / https://connectingwithyou.net/2016/06/04/gods-mysterious-ways-june-4-2016/ / https://connectingwithyou.net/2016/07/09/ten-things-that-require-zero-talent/