Time Is Running Out
Time Flies! How often, and how I forcibly, we are reminded of the fact! Some of us have actually shuddered as its urgency was, in one way or another, impressed upon us. Because “the time is short” Scripture exhorts us to hold lightly the things that might entangle us and divert our thoughts from the things that matter most (1 Cor. 7:29). It tells us that “the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). Yet how ready we are, in our thinking, to magnify the “temporal”, the passing, the vanishing; while eternal things are, if not quite shelved, given but little thought. And meanwhile Time is Running Out!
Some years ago there appeared a “Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.” It had as its cover design a clock, the hands of which pointed to two minutes to midnight. Two Minutes to Midnight! — that is what the world scene suggested to those scientists. And what a midnight of unspeakable horror this world could at any moment be plunged into by the weapons those same scientists helped to produce, and whose deadliness is constantly being increased by the “refinements” being added to them! For this poor deluded world, all too evidently, Time is Running Out!
Obstacles to the preaching of the Gospel and to individual Christian testimony daily increase in number. Behind the so-called Iron Curtain witness for the Lord is possible only under great difficulties, and rank atheism is the official creed. In China the government aims to extirpate every remaining vestige of Christianity. In India missionary activity is more and more restricted. In parts of Africa upheavals have led to a forced withdrawal of missionaries, and no one knows how soon similar things may take place in other parts of that great continent. Much to the same effect might be said of other areas of the globe. Truly, in mission fields, Time is Running Out!
And what shall we say of the home lands? Everywhere iniquity abounds. Society, in its every department, is saturated with immorality and injustice. The literature of the day has, to an appalling extent, become a cess-pool of filth, contaminating the minds of the masses. Other means of communications are adding their quota of perversion. As the result of these and other influences, juvenile delinquency has become an increasingly difficult problem; criminal elements are becoming more and more brazen in their contempt for life and property and, on every hand, laws are being callously flouted. Under such conditions men’s hearts become increasingly hard and inaccessible; it becomes more and more difficult to reach consciences with the convicting Word of God, and the Gospel preacher is often at a loss to know how to effectively contact men and women with the message of life. True, we must not despair. God still can work, and does work, as many can testify. But certainly there is room for concern! There is great need of an awakening among the people of God. There is need to lay hold of God in earnest, believing prayer, that He may break down the strongholds of sin, that His Word may penetrate hardened hearts, and that a harvest of souls may quickly be gathered.
Too long have some of us been blind to the need around us! Too often have we been deaf to the world’s cry of despair! At this very moment, it is to be feared, many of us are fast asleep while multitudes around us perish in their sins. “It is high time to awake out of sleep!” Time is Running Out!
There is a divine claim upon the life of every child of God. Christ “died … that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but Unto Him which died for them and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15). That claim applies to all the “henceforth” of our lives — to all the days, hours, moments; to every detail of those lives. Shall we not seek grace to respond to it, and that in a glad surrender?
We desperately need a truer sense of values. Do we estimate the worth of things in the light of eternity? Summerfield, on his death-bed, was heard to say, “I have taken a look into eternity; if I could only come back, how differently I would preach!” And how differently some of us would live if eternity’s values were kept in full view! At the end of the road it will be no satisfaction to be able to say, “I dressed well, I ate well, I earned a lot of money, I lived graciously, I was well thought of, I had many friends!” Those are not the things that Really matter —they belong to the passing moment. Someone has said — and it is a wise observation — “The only things worth spending life for are the things of more value than life itself.” Think it over!
Time lost is lost forever! Lost wealth may be regained, wrecked health may sometimes be recovered, forgotten knowledge may be restored through study, alienated friendships may be renewed, even a forfeited reputation may be re-established. But vanished hours can never be recaptured — Never! Let us then not fail to realize the possibilities of this moment! “The time is short!” The challenges come down to us through the centuries, “Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?” Who … Who is willing? Are you? Am I? If we are going to do it, we must do it “This Day!” For Time is Running Out!