Time: How Are You Using It

by Tom Wacaster

While doing mission work in South Africa, we had opportunity to make a trip to Zimbabwe.  One thing that impressed me about the "local" citizens (by local, we mean those who still lived in remote areas of the country), was the absence of any concern about time and/or schedules.   You might tell them that worship would be at 9:00 in the morning, but that did not mean anything to them.  Oh, they would do their best to abide by the "white man's" time frame, but most of them did not own a watch, taking the events of the day as they got to them.  But somehow the absence of watches did not stand in the way of their arrival on time. In fact, for the most part, the brethren would get there before we missionaries, and would be waiting for you when you arrived.  I asked brother Mitchell, local missionary in Mutare, if their lack of concern for hourly appointments ever presented any problems.  He assured me that the bushmen probably got more done in a day's time without their watches, than you and I got done with our watches.  Why was that the case?  It was a matter of proper management of time.  The local bushman realized that there was only a limited amount of time between sunrise and sunset, and he would use it wisely and prudently as the day progressed.  The following recently came to me via the internet.  "Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with  86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!!!!  Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the 'tomorrow.' You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today."  That is precisely what those native Zimbabweans did.  They made the most of today.    Another has made this observation:

"To realize the value of ONE YEAR,
ask a student who failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH,
ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK,
ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR,
ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE,
ask a person who missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE-SECOND,
ask a person who just avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND,
ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics."

The Psalmist writer put it this way:  "So teach us to number our days, That we might get us a heart of wisdom" (Psalms 90:12).  If a man in some remote corner of the world can "number his day" without the aid of a watch, or a calendar, so as to make the most of every moment, why is it that you and I, with the assistance of precise clocks, fail to get done what needs to be done?  Perhaps the problem lies not in the awareness of time increments, with its hours and minutes, but in how we use that which has been given to us. 


Do You Remember?

by Tom Wacaster

Do You Remember?
by Tom Wacaster

Do you remember: When it was safe to walk the streets, at night, without fear of being mugged or assaulted? ...When you could leave your house unlocked, and when a "Club" was something you carried with you when you went walking to beat of the dogs?  ...When families usually remained in tact, divorce was shameful, and single parent families were almost unheard of?  ...When "gay" meant happy, and "rap" was something someone did on your front door when they came calling?  ...When the problems we faced in schools were chewing gum, getting out of line, or skipping classes?  If you do, then likely you can remember:  ...When each school day was begun with a devotional and prayer, piped into each class room via the innercom.  ...When neigbors talked to each other over the fence.   ...When two week gospel meetings were common and cottage classes were conducted on a regular basis. ...When church attendance on Sunday morning AND evening were the norm.  ...When we discussed religion with our fellow employees, and encouraged an open examination of one's belief in the light of the Bible.  ...When mission work was increasing each year. ...When preachers gave a "thus saith the Lord" for all that we do in religion.  ...When the church was united, standing upon the Bible, and preaching and teaching the same.  Do you recon there is any correlation between all of these things? 

Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that serving God is the whole duty of man (Ecc. 12:13).  I realize that there are a number of factors that have entered into the present social atmosphere that rejects God, Christ, the Bible and things spiritual.  Perhpas religious perversion has done more to discredit Christianity in the eyes of an unbelieving world, than perhaps any other single effort on the part of Satan.  I have made seven trips into Russia proper, and at least half a dozen or more into Ukraine.  Most of those with whom we studied during those mission trips were very superstitious and/or ill informed on Bible topics.  In 1992 and 1993 I was asked about a certain "prophet" who had predicted the end of the world in 1993.  As you can see, that so called prophesy did not come to pass.  The dawn of this new millennium has brought with it a number of prognosticators who predicted the return of Christ and the establishment of His "kingdom." These, too, were false prophets.   Bobby Duncan, now deceased, once made this observation with regard to so much "foolishness" that goes on in the name of Christianity: "Is it any wonder that so many intelligent people reject anything that claims to be based on the Bible? When people claiming belief in God and allegiance to the Bible take such ridiculous positions, it causes people who are unfamiliar with the Bible to think the Bible is a ridiculous book."  Now, I have said all that to say this.  We have been blessed to experience the Christian faith as IT SHOULD BE!  As members of the Lord's body we recognize not only the simplicity of New Testament Christianity, but the sound reasoning behind it, and the beauty of it.  In fact, it is members of the Lord's church who reason correctly on matters pertaining to faith and practice.  That being the case, who else should be telling the world about God, Christ, the church, and the plan of salvation?  And yet, it seems that members of the Lord's church are, more often than not, LESS vocal in their faith than our denominational counter parts.  The Bible says, "Let the redeemed say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy" (Psalms 107:2).  Let us be about the task of teaching the lost about Jesus.

 

Preparing For Eternity

by Tom Wacaster

 Eternity!  Men have attempted to capture the essence of eternity, but their attempts are weak at best, and completely inadequate.  Here is how someone sought to describe eternity:  “If you can imagine an ant marching around a steel globe the size of this planet.  How long would it take that ant to wear a path one inch deep in that steel globe?  How long would it take to wear a path one foot deep? Ten feet deep?  The time it takes is only an inkling of eternity.”  But friends, even that illustration measures activity related to time.  In eternity, there is no time.  How can we even begin to grasp the concept of eternity?  If we could but capture its essence, it would be but for a fleeting moment, for we are quickly drawn back to the temporal; the here and now.  But will you, for just a moment, imagine yourself standing before the judgment bar of God, as you hear the sentence pronounced, “Depart, I never knew you.”  Now will you try to imagine that you find yourself, like the rich man who refused to give unto Lazarus the things for which that beggar lacked, opening your eyes in “torments.”  And so begins the punishment that you must now endure forever, time without end.  If your punishment were to be for a million years, you might could bear it, for after that first year you would know you have only nine-hundred-ninety-nine-thousand-nine-hundred-ninety-nine years to go.  There would be a ray of hope that someday, though far, far removed, you would eventually be released from that torment.  But my friend, in hell there is NO hope; NO release to be expected; NO cessation of the punishment that you will receive for your disobedience to God.  Oh what despair!  No longer will that television program have any importance.  How you did in the stock market will be completely insignificant.  The closing balance of your bank account will seem so insignificant, regardless of the dollar figure the bottom line might show.  Those things that we placed so much importance on in this life will seem so trivial, so completely unimportant.       

 When Sir William Russel was sentenced to die, someone recorded that along the way to the scaffold he handed his watch to a friend and said, "Will you kindly take my timepiece and keep it? I have no use for it.  I am now dealing with eternity."  When the time comes for us to enter eternity there are a lot of things we will no longer have any need of.  One second after my heart beats its last beat, and I breath my last breath, I will realize that much of what I valued in this life will pale in comparison to what I will value in the life to come.  One drop of water was of great value to the rich man; but alas he could not obtain it.  And while he fared sumptuously every day while living upon the earth, he was a pauper the other side of death.  Let us keep our priorities straight in this life, and when it comes time to depart the walks of this earth, may each one of us calmly and victoriously cast off those things that we cannot take with us, with the glorious expectation that we shall embrace that which is of lasting value when once we cross over the Jordan river into that eternal abode that awaits those who are faithful in this life.