This week I had the privilege of spending time with my dear friend and mentor, Wayne Smith. He hadn’t been feeling well and was in ICU in one of the nicest hospitals in Lexington, Kentucky. Wednesday night, about 6:15, he asked me to sit in a chair next to his bed and told me he was going to try and get some rest. He told me to wake him up if any visitors came. Three did come: good friends, Rick and Amy Hisel, and longtime Southland member, and friend, David Stone. Rick and David are part of a Saturday morning breakfast group Wayne absolutely loves.
After they left, Wayne asked me to find a ballgame we could watch. I found the Louisville Cardinals game. They were playing Syracuse. I asked Wayne if that game would be all right. He said, “Well, I’d rather watch the Wildcats. But this will help me sleep.” And it did. As I sat there beside his bed, I couldn’t help thinking, Where has the time gone? It seems like it was just yesterday when I heard him preach for the first time. It was actually 1963. Southland was on Hill n’ Dale Rd. It seems like it was just yesterday when he was dedicating our new facilities here in Texas. But that was twelve years ago. Wasn’t it yesterday we were celebrating his birthday, 3 times in two days? That was a month ago. Now, here he was in the hospital. Where does the time go?
Even the few hours I got to be by his side seemed to slip away much too quick.
Time waits for no one. Remember a few days ago, we were celebrating the beginning of another new year? Yet it already seems to be racing by … just like last year and the one before. It doesn’t matter how you measure it. In days or hours, months or minutes, time moves fast. And before you know it, it’s gone. Forever. Like tiny sand crystals dropping, with ever-increasing rapidity, through an unstoppable passageway in an eternal hourglass, time marches on.
All the wealth, wisdom, strength and effort in the world can’t stop or even slow the parade of time. Kings and queens have no ability to alter it. Neither do presidents or peasants. The common and uncommon, rich and poor, wise and foolish. It makes no difference. No one possesses the capacity to slow the relentless procession of time.
What we often choose to do is step to the side, deciding to take a break from it all. But time marches on without us and every moment we miss, we miss forever. There is no catching up.
The best we can do is make the most of the time we have. “Redeeming the time” as Paul encouraged the believers in Ephesus (Eph. 5:16/NKJV). Making our moments count for good and for God.
The older you get, you’ll discover we really don’t have time to kill or waste anymore. Every moment is precious. Someone said, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”
Whatever you’re going to do for God, you need to do it now. Whether it’s to confess Christ as Lord and be baptized, join a church, get in a small group, start having a quiet time, share your faith with a friend or loved one, get involved in a ministry, write a note of encouragement, get rid of a bad habit or develop some good ones, start tithing or give a generous gift beyond that to your church … you fill in the blank.
Whatever you’ve been planning to and promising yourself to do for God, you need to do it now. Today. Don’t wait for Sunday. Don’t even wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow is never a good time to start and don’t wait for someday. Someday will never get here. Today is the only day you and I have for sure. In a few hours we won’t even have that anymore. You and I don’t have the privilege of calling a time out in this game called life and one day soon we’re going to wake up and find ourselves out of time.
Instead of sitting around wondering Where has the time gone?, decide today to make every minute and moment count. Redeem the time God gives you. All of it. Because, like last year, this one will be over before we know it.
One more thing. Take time to tell the people you care about, “I love you!” Someday, sooner than you think, you’ll have the opportunity to be in a hospital somewhere. Sitting quietly by the bedside of someone you love more than life itself, listening to the hum of monitors and machines and the voices of nurses in the hall, and you’ll realize how you’d give anything if you could just somehow, some way, stop time from marching on.
But you can’t.
© 2016. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.