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  • Writer's pictureChuck Monan

Time is Running Out

We are always complaining that our days are few and acting as though there would be no end of them.

― Seneca

Shortly after taking my first full-time preaching job in Jackson, Mich., I kept hearing about a former member of the congregation. Once he had been a dedicated Christian. He was a good Bible teacher, an outstanding song leader and willing to serve in any capacity needed. But it had been years since he had attended church.

A few months later, I finally met him. Visiting his mother in the hospital, I introduced myself and told him that people at church loved him and spoke well of him. He seemed pleased, and invited me to lunch with him the following week. I quickly accepted.

Talking over lunch, I asked him what he was doing with himself. He told me with great enthusiasm about his many far-flung business ventures. He was the master of a small empire, and was busy raking in money with both hands. His eyes danced with excitement as he talked about his success.

When he stopped to take a breath, I asked him a simple question: when are you going to come back to church? Reacting like I had slapped him across the face, he stammered and said, “Well, I would like to do that someday… but right now I’m just too busy. I haven’t got time for that.”

He never came back. Someday never arrived.

Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ words “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be al-so” (Matt. 16:21). We might add that where our treasure is will also be our time… our attention… our priorities. Jesus includes all of these and other considerations as well. The bottom line is that we will make time for those things we are interested in… and will ignore the rest.

As the U.S. becomes less interested in Christianity and church, other parts of the world are growing more interested. We seem too busy and preoccupied by other concerns; they seem hungry for the truth of Jesus.

As I travel, I’ve concluded, quite simply, that “God goes where he’s wanted.” God never forces himself on a person or a nation. If a society gets comfortable and loses interest in faith, the Spirit quietly moves on. Some cities have 500 cable television stations available; we have many distractions that make the average church service seem boring by contrast. Meanwhile, peasants in China, villagers in the Philippines and Brazil and much of Africa find hope and comfort in the promises of the Gospel, both for this life and for the next. ― Philip Yancey

Do these words resonate with you? Do you look forward to gathering together to commune with the Lord? Or are you more interested in other things? Are you setting time aside in your schedule for worship, prayer, study and service to others? Or is every waking moment all about you?

One day our time here will be finished.

What then?

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