Thursday, November 7, 2002
It's still okay for grownups to read the comics in the newspaper. I mean, sometimes you actually stumble upon one of those "hmmm" kind of insights in a comic strip. Last week I had one of those "hmmm" moments. It was a "Family Circus" cartoon where the Dad and the little boy were in a cemetery looking at Grandpa's gravestone. Pointing to the epitaph on the tombstone, Dad says, "Those two dates are the year Granddad was born and the year he died." Then, pointing to the mark between his grandfather's date of birth and date of death, the little guy says, "That means that little dash between the years is Granddad's lifetime!" Hmmm.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Myth of 'Plenty of Time.'"
That's something to think about - my life is ultimately the dash between the day I was born and the day I die. In the "Family Circus" cartoon, the little boy walks away saying of his Granddad, "I wish his dash had been a lot longer."
If your life is like mine, it is full of things to do, places to go, goals to achieve. With all that I've got going, the thought of the dash just suddenly ending is hard to imagine. And yet we don't dare forget how short our dash really is, or we may miss the only things that will matter when our dash on earth is over. With every passing year I think we all begin to understand what Dr. Billy Graham was talking about when asked what the greatest surprise in his life has been. He simply said, "The brevity of it."
We're running fast; we're feeling immortal. But the Bible helps us put life into its true perspective so we can secure insurance for the eternity that is so much closer than we want to think about. For example, in James 4, beginning in verse 13 - our word for today from the Word of God, the Bible says, "Now listen you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
Only a mist, a dash between two dates, and then eternity. You may have taken steps to be sure that you're ready for any medical emergency you may face, steps to improve your fitness, to be ready for retirement. Many people who have prepared for their brief future here, though, are fatally unprepared for the eternity that follows. And the Bible makes it clear that there's only one way to be prepared for eternity, and that's to be sure every sin you've ever done has been forgiven by God. Or you have no chance of heaven - no chance of eternal life.
That's why you have nothing more important to settle than whether or not you have begun a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Because He's the only One who paid the death penalty for your sin when He died on the cross. The Bible, therefore, clearly states, "Everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins through His name." (Acts 10:43) When you respond to what Jesus did for you - when you tell Him, "Lord Jesus, I believe You're my only hope of being forgiven, my only hope of ever entering God's heaven" - that's when you finally experience the peace of knowing that you're ready for eternity, whenever it comes.
If you've never begun your life-saving relationship with Jesus Christ - and you want to - tell Him that right now. And I hope you'll let me send you my booklet, "Yours For Life," that I wrote about this relationship. Just let me know that you want it.
You've put off getting things settled with Jesus many times. But the stakes are way too high, and life is way too fragile and unpredictable to postpone belonging to Jesus one more day. In God's words, "Now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2)