By Johnny O. Trail — Drives returning home after Wednesday evening services are typically uneventful. Last Wednesday was vastly different than what I typically experience on my commute from mid-week Bible study. The tragic experience I came upon made me ponder a few things of spiritual importance.
As I was topping a hill on the way home, I saw a motorcycle laying in the ditch. Just a bit further down the road, there was a white car that had wrapped itself around a tree. Since my eldest son typically drives himself and his brothers to and from church in his car, my concerns were immediately raised. He too, drives a white vehicle.
As I pulled over to look at the car, it became apparent that this was not my son’s vehicle (much to my relief!). I walked to the vehicle and enquired of those standing around the pinned driver, “Are you all aware of the motorcycle that is in the ditch at the top of the hill?” Their relatively calm response to the car wrecked at their tree line turned into sheer panic as I and three others ran to the top of the hill to see what had happened.
When we approached the location where the motorcycle wrecked, I braced myself for what we might see. It became apparent that the rider was thrown some distance from the wreckage after the car, now embedded in the tree line, had hit him. I tried to check for a pulse and called out to the man several times, but there was no response. He was dead.
To compound the tragic nature of these events, I later learned that he was hit and killed right in front of his home. A few seconds earlier or later, and he would have been safe and sound in his home. It is amazing what a short amount of time might mean in the grand scale of things.
As we go through our daily routine, we must keep in mind that we have one day less to accomplish certain things. The book of James speaks about the brevity of life. James 4.13-17 says,
“Go to now, ye that say, To day or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
For a moment, it would serve us well to consider the words of James as they pertain to time and serving God. To put it succinctly, we do not know what tomorrow holds, time is short, boasting about the time we have is arrogant, since we do not know how much time we have left, we must “do good” while we have opportunity.
No person knows what will happen in the future. Unlike what some would have us to believe, there is no such thing as one who can tell the future. As God’s people, some certainties regarding time are provided in His holy writ. We know that we will one day pass from this life unless Jesus returns first. Hebrews 9.27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” These are two appointments we must keep, and no person can escape from them. The only thing we can do about time is to prepare ourselves. We know the Master is coming back, so we must always be ready for His return.
To this, we would add that the Bible teaches that time is very short. This is something that Job understood. Job 14.1-2 says, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.” If we have lived for any length to time, we understand the words of Job. Job further informs us that those few day are “full of trouble.” The fact of the matter is, this world is not were we really want to be. We become so enamored with this oblate spheroid that we forget how beautiful and care-free Heaven will be. Ultimately, this earth is not where we should want to be.
Since time is short and uncertain, it is arrogant to boast about what we will do in the future. Reasonable people plan on not being here tomorrow. We buy life insurance policies to take care of our families when we are gone, because we know that one day we will die.
We should use the same logic in obeying the gospel and being about the work of the Master.
“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” 2 Corinthians 6.2.
For whatever reason, people always believe they will have more time to obey God’s word. Of all things that one might chose to procrastinate on, obeying the gospel should not be one of them!
Since time is uncertain and fleeting, we must “do good” while we have the opportunity. Every day moves one closer to his eternal destination. While we have time to engage in good works for the benefit of others, we must be willing to do so. The only things that will last and endure beyond our death are spiritual in nature. If we have friends or loved ones that we want to study the Bible with, we had better take advantage of it while we have opportunity. Those opportunities will one day vanish away.