I want to take this opportunity to welcome you to 2018. I want to start the year by sharing a few thoughts with you.
Here is what Benjamin Franklin had to say about time:
Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, For that’s the stuff life is made of.—Benjamin Franklin
We can’t afford to waist or squander time because that is what life is made of.
When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection. —The Bible Friend
When time is gone, you can’t get it back, once it is lost, it is gone forever.
One of my uncles who pastored in Florida once said:
If we are going to kill time, let’s work it to death.
That is exactly how he lived.
Here is another quote about time:
Yesterday is a cancelled check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is the only cash you have—spend it wisely. —Anonymous.
The Bible has something to say about time also:
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow 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 vapour, 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. (James 4:13-15)
Our life is like a vapor, it is here for a short time, and then it is gone.
Growing up in England, our lives were centered around the kettle. When someone comes over to your house, you put the kettle on for a cup of tea or coffee. I don’t know how many cups of tea I would drink in a day when I was out making my visits. Every house I went into offered me a cup of tea or coffee. This is the way you make someone feel welcome in England. They would say, feel free to pop in any time, the kettle is always on.
As the kettle boiled the water, there would be steam, a vapor, and the vapor would quickly vanish in the air. God says that our lives are like that. One moment it is here, and the next it is gone.
Isn’t it interesting how quickly time passes? It has amazed me how quickly 2017 flew by. I have even made the joke that I am going to start using my clock as a fan, it is turning so fast.
Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1)
The fact is, none of us really have a guarantee of a tomorrow. We certainly have the hope of tomorrow, but we have no guarantee.
Today we have the joy of entering into a new year. This new year is an opportunity to make a new start. We can put away the mistakes of last year and grow in this new year. I often say, don’t get bitter, become better. Don’t use your mistakes a a stumblingblock, use them as steppingstones. We should learn from them. We usually learn more from mistakes than from successes.
In this new year, we have an opportunity to make a new start. Here is a quote from Charles Spurgeon that I love:
No matter what your past, your future is spotless.
There are those who badmouth the idea of making resolutions for the new year. They do this because so often we fail at keeping them. I believe that if you don’t make a resolution, you have already lost the battle. You are giving up before you even get started.
I would encourage you not to approach this year with that attitude, but rather take the attitude that I am going to be resolved to do this, or to do that, whatever your this or that may be. Be specific about them.
The advice we have from God’s Word is, not only is life like a vapor which will disappear all too quickly, and you have no guarantee of what you will accomplish, but we should say, if the Lord wills, I shall live and do this or that. Live with the idea that, God willing, I am going to put my hand to the plow and do this or that.
There was a time when people would say or write the letters DV, which is the abbreviation for the Latin Deo volente (God willing), when they said they were going to do something. Remember, the Devil doesn’t want you to have a successful year. He wants you to fail, especially in your testimony and service for God. One of the things he uses to derail us is procrastination.
Someone said, procrastination is the grave in which opporunity is burried.
There is a story where four leading demons were holding a meeting to present new ideas that will trap more souls in sin and keep them from receiving the Gospel. One said, let’s tell them there is no God. Another answered, they have eyes, they will see creation and know there is a God.
Another said, they can’t see Heaven, so lets tell them there is no Heaven. This was answered by another, they all know there is life after death and they will all want to go to Heaven.
The next demon said, let’s tell them there is no Hell. The answer came from another, every conscience knows they will be judged for their sin, we need a better lie.
The last demon said, let’s tell them there is no hurry, they have plenty of time to come to Christ. Tell them they can enjoy life today, and make their decision tomorrow.
Isn’t this one of the ways the Devil keeps us from sharing our faith. We can tell others tomorrow, there is no rush.
The creed of the procrastinator is:
“Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow.”
Here are some funny signs about tomorrow:
“Do it tomorrow—you’ve made enough mistakes for today”
Bar in Chicago has a sign that says – FREE DRINKS! – Tomorrow
The main thing that comes to someone who procrastinates is regret. There are things I regret not having done, and I am sure you can say the same.
God has some answers for us:
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
When we consider the brevity of life, and how uncertain the future is, it motivates us to apply our hearts to wisdom. We cannot manage time. Time will march on no matter what we do or don’t do. We can manage ourselves, and what we do with the time we have. Time is precious.
Criminals, William Bell and Jacob Rosenwasser, who were under sentence of death at Ossining, N.Y., felt that they would be deprived of an hour of life if they were electrocuted on daylight saving time. They applied to the warden to have the clock in the deathhouse returned to standard time so they wouldn’t lose even one precious hour.
Life is precious. If you have the notion that you will have a more convinient season to get something done, you may be making a big mistake. If you think there is no big hurry, you don’t have to get it done now, you are likely to have regrets for doing so.
The Bible tells us about a man, Felix, who after being presented with the Gospel by the Apostle Paul, said he would wait for a more convenient time.
And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. (Acts 24: 25)
He trembled under great fear and conviction. God was speaking to his heart and he knew his sin was great and he stood guilty before God. Evne so, he put it off to another time. The Bible never shows us that Felix had a more convinient season. He put off the opporunity for salvation, and may be in the pits of Hell today because he procrastinated.
Let’s make the most of this new year. Let’s not squander a single day, or even an hour of 2018. Remember, time is the stuff that life is made of.