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Sermon 2/10/08
Psalm 90:12 - Time

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Time

Teach us to number our days; that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12)

The following is an article from “The Seattle Churchman,” a publication of one hundred years ago: “A little clock in a jeweler’s window in a western (U.S.) town stopped one day for half an hour, at fifteen minutes till nine. School children, noticing the time, stopped to play; people hurrying to the train, looking at the clock, began to walk leisurely; professional men, after a look at the clock, stopped to chat a minute with one another; working men and women noted the time and lingered a little longer in the sunshine, and all were half an hour late because one small clock stopped. Never had these people known how much they had depended upon that clock till it had led them astray. Many are thus unconsciously depending upon the influence of Christians; you may think you have no influence, but you cannot go wrong in one little act without leading others astray.” And of course, it is also true that by honestly doing good as led by God, we can help others to want the Lord.

As a people, most of us have become utterly dependent on time. There are clocks everywhere, watches on most wrists, cell phones on belts and in brief cases and giant time displays on the tops of many buildings. We have schedules that tell us what to do and schedules that make us feel important. If humanity didn’t know what time it was, everything in the world would slow down. Would all of humanity’s difficulties be solved if we threw away our watches, toppled clocks off buildings and said “no” to cell phones? Unfortunately – no! People still managed to have and to cause many problems before the advent of reliable clocks. Our real problem is deeper - something is wrong INSIDE this race of people we call – humanity. The true problem is not clocks or time, but who we are and how we use what we have.

When I lived in Tucson, Arizona, a number of years ago, I was in the midst of a career in mortgage banking, visiting over one hundred real estate offices a week. I taught classes in real estate and mortgage banking that helped salespersons with their state license renewals, informed offices and individuals of interest rates and market trends, met with potential buyers and initiated loan applications for those who had just contracted to buy a home. I did not want to be in sales, but that was where God led me during those years, and hearing about the sales concept called “Go where they ain’t!” I visited offices and parts of the Tucson Valley where my competitors generally didn’t go.

In those years, the competition didn’t want to visit the Southwest area of the city, and many of them thought the Northwest was too far, which was fine with me, for those are the places where I went to visit those one hundred-plus offices. The Southwest offices had a clientele consisting mostly of persons of Mexican descent and those American Indians who chose to live away from the reservation. In that and in other contexts I met the most wonderful people during those years and learned about cultural differences that we should all take the time to learn about.

While visiting an office in Southwest Tucson, I was asked to “qualify... buyerstomorrow.” I marked the time down, which was to be 2:00 PM, and returned the next day, 15-minutes early. I took all the forms out of the small file cabinet in the trunk of my car, sat at the desk designated for me by Mr. Cardenas, the real estate salesperson, and waited. 2:00 - no buyers… 2:15 - still no buyers. About 5 minutes later, I asked Mr. Cardenas what was wrong and he said he would call them. He spoke on the telephone for a few moments and returned with a reassuring look, saying, “It’s all right. She said her husband wants to look good for the interview, and so, around 2 o’clock, he went to get a haircut. Please stay,” Mr. Cardenas continued, “these buyers are on 'Indian time'” and he assured me, “They WILL be here.

Sure enough, they did arrive, just a couple of hours later. I’m glad I threw away my schedule for the day and waited. They were great people, and this was one of those situations in which I began to understand that not everyone looked at the needs of life (such as time) the way I did. I was beginning to see that life is less about time and appointments, for God wants us to see His perspective that life is about – people. And if we can begin to see that other ways of doing things are at least as important as ours, it is great gain, not only for us, but obviously and even more important, for those we meet.

Someday, every one of us will meet the Lord, Face-to-face. I don’t know how many billions of people have lived on the earth since the beginning of time, but please note that most have already gone to meet Him, and those introductions to Him and to eternity are still taking place, currently at the rate of 153,000 persons per day. There is only one reliable Person who has lived in eternity and then came here to tell the rest of us about it. His name was called Y'Shua HaMashiach, the One we like to call in English-speaking cultures, “Jesus (the) Christ.”

While He was here, He didn't seem overly interested in telling us what “heaven” is like, and I am of the opinion we wouldn’t really understand it anyway. If we went to a pet store to buy a puppy, one thing we would NOT do is explain to the puppy what his or her new home would be like. Descriptive phrases that might be of interest like, “We have puppy food for you in the pantry,” or “We expect you to use the doggy-door to the back yard,” and so on, wouldn’t help him at all. It would never even occur to us to tell him things in advance like that because we know that the only way for him to truly understand is to come to his new home and experience it for himself. We aren’t so likely to understand the properties of “heaven,” either.

Jesus spent His time here on earth modeling how people should live. He healed the sick, comforted the broken-hearted, and associated with sinners like us, changing lives, one life at a time. He showed us how to pray and He summed up our need by helping us know that we should “love one another” (John 15:12). And so, since we only have a limited time here on earth, what are you doing with your time? You may have noticed that you have less time remaining on earth than you did before. Here’s an anecdote from the Internet:

When as a child I laughed and wept, time crept.
When as a youth I dreamed and talked, time walked.
When I became a full-grown man, time ran.
And later as I older grew, time flew.
Soon I shall find while traveling on, time gone.

David said, “Teach us to number our days; that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). TODAY is a precious gift that neither we nor the world will never have again. Let us, in God’s heart of wisdom and in His strength, use this time to seek Him and “love one another.”

Father, thank You for giving us the gift of life. Enable us to use this time as You see fit, in the power of God, in service to those we meet. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
www.FirstChurchOnTheNet.org
www.FridayStudy.org
Write to: Letters@FridayStudy.org

"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
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