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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Time is the life of the soul

                                    "Time is the life of the soul." (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Isn't that an interesting observation as it regards our life on this earth? I thought about that quote by Longfellow when I began

Isn't that an interesting observation as it regards our life on this earth? I thought about that quote by Longfellow when I began considering how to present our editorial lesson for today, the first day of 2012. TIME - where does it go? Didn't we just start this year that, all of a sudden, is ending? I think that I can easily sympathize with old Job when he said, regarding time: that it goes by "swifter than a weaver's shuttle." (Job 7:6)

I guess that it's natural for preachers, teachers and editorialists to think about the subject of time at the ending of a year and the beginning of another so that's what my thoughts will be about today. Our lesson will consist of some things that relate to the subject of "time."

The first thing I'd like to mention is a music video I watched a short time back. It was a performance of that most famous and beautiful hymn, "Amazing Grace." It was performed by a group of four tenors known as "IL DIVO." It is a most beautiful rendition of the song, but it wasn't the singing of it that makes it applicable to this lesson.

Rather, it was the location of the performance that got my editorial juices flowing. It was being performed in front of a live audience in the ruins of the Roman Coliseum. To say that their singing ability enthralled the audience would be an understatement. Think about this setting though for a moment, if you will.

A vast crowd of people, listening to and appreciating a hymn about the "amazing grace" of God, being performed by a group of singers in the arena, the location, where untold thousands died for nothing more than sport. Where professed Christians were put to death in some of the most horrible ways that the evil mind of man could dream up.

And now, about 2000 years later, one of the recognizable and emotionally provoking hymns ever written is being sung not only to an audience present there, but being broadcast around the world to untold millions. What an amazing thing for us to witness and to think about how the passing of time changes things.

Don't you see this as proving what Christ said in Matt. 16:18 about the "gates of hell" not prevailing against His church. And I can't think of a better worldly picture epitomizing the "gates of hell" than what happened in the Roman Coliseum against the followers of Christ. Think of it this way: the "Amazing Grace" of God was given to mankind in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ and He still reigns.

Continuing on with our thoughts on "time" consider this: there was a "time" when a promise was made by God that a Savior/Messiah would be coming. One that would save man from his sins. Then occurred the "time" when this Messiah did come in the flesh. A "time" when He lived, taught, died, was resurrected and ascended back to heaven. And lastly, a "time" when He'll return.

I don't know when that "time" will be and neither does anyone else. But that hasn't stopped many prognosticators over the years from predicting a certain "time" or date. They've all had one thing in common - all have been wrong

It's interesting (to me anyway) that, in making their predictions about the end of "time" and Christ's 2nd coming, they take some passages from the Bible, tie them to things said or written by uninspired men in order to arrive at their wrong conclusions. What I find interesting about this is, they obviously believe some things said in the Bible but, just as obviously, refuse to believe God's Word when it tells us that "nobody, not even Jesus Christ himself, knows when that will be." (Mt. 24:36) What an interesting antithetical way of arriving at their misconceptions.

Well, as we wrap up the old year and start out on our voyage through the new, I feel there are some things we need to consider about this coming "time." I think that first and foremost is the understanding that we don't know how much of this new year that we'll see, do we? Will it run it's entire course? Maybe. If it does, will we run the entire course with it? Again, maybe.

You see, there are some things regarding "time" for which we don't have answers. However, there are some things that we can know about "time." We know that it is short, it's passing, it's uncertain and that it's irrevocable when it's gone. And another thing we know from reading God's word is, that we are accountable to God for what portion of "time" we're given.

The passage in Rev. 22:12 says that when Christ returns he'll have our "reward" with Him and it will be bestowed on all mankind, "according to his doings." That phrase, "according to his doings," relates directly to how we use the "life of our soul." And also understand this: that the concept presented by the word "reward" is, oh lets call it, a two-way street.

A well-known hymn writer (Tillit S. Teddlie) once wrote these significant words about "time." He said that, "Yesterday is forever gone. Tomorrow may never come. Today is the day of all days." In Eph. 5:16 God, through the Apostle Paul says: "make the best use of it." I think that should lead us into our final thought about this subject of "time."

When we look back at the words of Longfellow, where he says that "time is the life of the soul," I'm reminded of a couple of scriptures that relate to our passage in Eph. 5:16, the making the best use of our soul's time, and to the picture painted by Longfellow's words. The first one is the preceding verse in Ephesians where, added to verse 16, it reads: "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil." (ESV)

Then we should look at the words of Solomon, found in Eccl. 8:5, where we're told "Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing; and a wise man's heart descerneth both time and judgment." (KJV)

If you are one to make New Year's resolutions, why not make one that says we're going to be wise in the use of the "time" that our soul is allowed. Because, when you get right down to it, this is the only "time" we have to affect the condition of our soul before it returns to God. (Eccl. 12:7)

Ron Covey


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