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Time is running out, but
are YOU running ?
by General James Green
“There is a tide in the affairs of men
—Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” (IV, iii, 216).
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU WASTE? How many opportunities for spiritual growth do you foolishly pass by? As we read the parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), we see that it reveals our very urgent need to maintain spiritual preparedness thru the conservation of our present time (NOT WASTING TIME) and the usage of our opportunities (Moffatt’s Translation is very good on this chapter).
One preacher has said, “A man only has as much religion as he can command in trial!” Another stated, about the 10 virgins, “Character is revealed in crisis. It is in moments of surprise that a man’s true self comes to view.” Amidst all the pressures of this modern world, we can certainly see the “true self”—the lazy, unprepared self—of the Church today! Can we all not agree that this present generation of church folks just drifts along at a slothful-slow pace, using as little mental, physical, and spiritual energy as possible? No RUN in their feet! NO urgency about the urgent times we live in! The Christians in this lazy Church-age (lazy in the true spiritual sense) will find themselves like the 5 foolish virgins who asked the 5 wise virgins for oil. The foolish ones were too lazy and too unconcerned to keep their lamps filled with oil—they MISSED THE LORD!!
Some ignorant Christians that walk but don’t run, may have a small reserve to fall back on, and they may not (but it’s certainly not worth the risk; and if you know better, you are accountable!); but the Bible teaches that we ALL must be FULL of the Holy Ghost, having a reserve of both strength an Godly fortitude for any emergency.
Did you know that we are God’s stewards of time? We are to “police” our time, not frivolously waste it. The “stupid” (Moffatt) had wasted their time and had stored no reserves; the “sensible” had spent their time well and were prepared for the emergency.
Every year, our teams witness to thousands of souls, both the lost and the (supposedly) saved. About 98% of the “saved,” when asked about the way they spend their time, will confes that they do NOTHING for the cause of Christ. WASTERS of God’s time! This wasting of time is a plague in the land. Christians are crawling along, singing their worldly song, “There is no reason to hurry.” Oh, to see Christians RUN the race—even mount up with wings of the eagle and FLY!! Many of these “crawlers” may not be completely vile hypocrites, openly profane or utterly Godless, but they simply neglect the precious time that they could use more wisely for the Kingdom of God. They are wasting the time that could be used for winning the lost. They could be using the time adequately to ensure the preparation of their hearts, in the assurance of rewards in the holy life to come. Well, we are all accountable. Not only will we give an account of every idle word but of every idle hour too.
Now Is The Time To RUN!
I F God’s people would steadfastly run after Him the way they run after monetary and material acquisitions, we would and could definitely evangelize the WHOLE world in our present generation!! I believe this. But this present generation has been thoroughly ROBBED by greedy and perverted leadership. The Church has gone from pure Christ-centeredness to wicked self-centeredness. Now the Church converts are taught dependance on man and not God. In turn, this evil has contributed to a “natural” leaning toward the deceitful comforts of this present, fleeting life. No longer are Christians soundly taught to “FORSAKE ALL and follow the Christ,” but they are taught to “get all and forsake Christ.”
Now is the time to RUN away from the idolatry, the adultery, and RUN into God’s perfect will! For certain, our passport into the Kingdom of God is our “death-to-self.” Are you, dear reader, prepared?
The Time To REAP
G OSPEL seeds of life that were sown in the previous generations must be reaped today. True, we are in the midst of a “growing season”—we always will be; but there is a certain “RIPE HARVEST” that must be brought in right NOW! Tomorrow may be too late, for the tender harvest may be utterly destroyed!
Will this present generation receive God’s voice as He says, “Thou are weighed in the balances, and are found wanting”? How many will be as Judas, who just “broke” spiritually under the test, and shamefully betray the Lord? And when he killed himself, where did Judas go? To Heaven? NO! TO HELL! He went “to his own place.”
T IME, a most valuable resource, is truly a gift from the merciful hand of Almighty God. What are you, professed Christian, doing with this wonderful valuable possession?
There is no doubt in my mind that this present generation is a TIME-WASTING generation—people neither care for spiritual sowing nor reaping! The “Christian” camp puts as little as it can into seeking for true holiness, for righteousness, for her own spiritual health; but she spends plenty of time on utter worldliness, even vileness, and worthlessness. Self-cultivation is steadily preeminent. Self-improvement (not in the Lord) and self-respect have caused this dark generation to despise God’s holy Word - Spirit - Will.
The Wrong Kind Of Running
O NE fatal danger that rules in this wicked generation is the “rush and run” complex. It is not enough to just “rush and run” and have an outward form of enthusiasm for God while you are inwardly refusing to let the Spirit work on you. Besides, you better be careful what you are “rushing and running” towards! Oh, the Church has plenty of “rush and run” towards worldliness, wickedness, and all sin—no problem there! The time, money, and energy spent on building up “Great Babylon” is unbelievably astronomical . . . and NONE OF IT impresses God. People just want to “rush and run” for themselves. Recreation and self-improvement methods have literally taken over this selfish generation, and despite all these “great” methods, this generation has only produced an anemic, spineless and sickly people, to say the least.
Granting The Importance
W E should not lay up any treasures upon this earth, but only in heaven. Yet this sound word of advice, or rather, this COMMAND, spoken by Jesus (Matthew 6:19-20), has all but completely disappeared from modern Church teaching and preaching. Why? Is it not important?
Why has the Church grossly overemphasized “prosperity” and (purposefully) under-emphasized denial? Can’t you see the problem? Has not Biblical stewardship been “shoved under the rug” and put away as though it was unnecessary? Importance should be Biblical, not earthly. We should measure importance by God’s Word.
TIME—the dynamic moments of every day, when worldliness or Biblical spirituality is secured: if worldliness, it is “soul-damning”; if the latter, it is “soul-building.” We face every day with a 24-hour “golden opportunity” to serve our Living God and deny our wicked self. Do we take that opportunity seriously? Christians all claim they want to go to Heaven, yet they spend all their time preparing for HELL!
Time To Run Into God
S INCE we obviously came into this world alone, and we must go out alone; since I must get in touch with my Saviour alone and must stand alone to answer for all my sins . . . it is well and wise that I should earnestly cultivate the new man since he will (hopefully!) live eternally with the Godhead.
We must work the Spirit works of Him that sent us while it is day, for the dark night cometh when no man can work—TIME will be fully spent! True, as God leads, we need to take care of our physical needs, our bodies, for we are accountable for them (and thank God our bodies will be made new and ultimately taken to Heaven). We need to take care of our mental and spiritual developments as well. We all can neglect these things by not diligently developing them in the pure light of God’s Word and Spirit.
We must be alert and not allow our body, soul, or spirit to digress into a bad state of disrepair. Honest daily consultation with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is absolutely vital to our spiritual health. Moreover, we should never let the fleeting cares of this life crush our joy, our spontaneity in Christ, our spiritual appetite for God.
Run With Patience
N ONE of us knows the exact hour of our earthly departure. Thousands die unexpectedly every day—some may be spiritually prepared, most are not. The 5 foolish virgins didn’t have any TIME to go and buy extra oil before the Lord arrived. They all missed the banquet! The door of opportunity was sternly shut in their faces. At times, we are also foolish. We think we can make time for the sinful world and still make the heavenly banquet. We’re wrong.
“Late, late, so late! and dark the night
It would be wise for us to sincerely read or reread the following Scriptures: Ephesians 5:15-16; Ecclesiastes 3:1, 12:1; Psalm 90:12; Hosea 10:12; Romans 13:12.
Preparation And Application
P REPARATION and application are for the genuinely dedicated; the sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold.
“‘Tomorrow I will live,’ the fool does say.
Putting off the call of God (that beckons us to run in the race!) causes a general collapse of true moral character. Can’t we see this in today’s backslid Church? But failures are cured—they can be cured!—by a fiery moral awakening, a real spiritual revival and holy REVOLUTION!
Bury The Dead!
T HE modern Church has become replete with dead men and women who absolutely refuse to “die to self and live unto Christ.” James Russell Lowell’s “The Present Crisis” tells us this: “New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth; they must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of truth.” UPWARD and ONWARD are forgotten words among the spiritually dead! The dead have been “laid down to rest”!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow has a fitting poem:
“Art is long, and time is fleeting,
This says it all . . . BUT JESUS CAN RAISE UP THE DEAD!! The Devil that killed the living, rules the dead, yet Jesus has conquered and vanquished the Devil.
Nothing More Tragic
T RAGIC are the lost souls that are driven by worldly lusts and are failing to rejoice and be glad in the day the Lord has given us to labour for Him.
Time For Quest!
F EW are those who are wholeheartedly devoted to a QUEST—a search, a pursuit. Few are those who even search for God’s perfect will for their lives. Most are content to “let the (so-called) pastor do it all.” We need to vigorously “practice pursuit,” running hard after God with all our minds, bodies, spirits. We must shun our personal ingenuity and abilities and let the blessed Holy Spirit of God work in and thru us.
P UT God first! Listen to the psalmist’s words recorded in Psalm 62:5-8 (Moffatt translation):
“Leave it all quietly to God, my soul,
So, my dear comrades, my dear readers, leave it all to God. He will direct our paths, put vigorous RUN in our feet, and help us to earnestly make TIME a well-used asset. Faithful stewardship, which is characterized by maturity that comes by the use of one’s Godly abilities, brings reward and joy. Neglect, abuse, disuse, and idleness bring our sure defeat, disgrace, and infinite unhappiness.
Jesus said, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Amen.
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