A race against time (Ephesians 5:15-16)

POST OVERVIEW. A meditation on the use of our time as a disciple of Jesus.

From the time the disciple is called to faith, from the moment he begins following Jesus, the disciple is in a race against time. What do I mean by this? After a person comes to faith in Christ, the believer gains a new awareness of the brevity of life and of its fleeting nature. Having passed from death to life (John 5:24), the follower of Jesus begins to understand that “childhood and the prime of life are fleeting” (Ecclesiastes 11:10), and that “now” is the only time he has. With the new eyes of faith, the believer sees that life can only be spent and that life is to be given away in service to the Lord and to others (2 Cor. 12:15).

The new believer also has a sense of duty that did not exist before, a desire to glorify the Lord with his life. There is now a God-given purpose to the disciple’s life that replaces the previous selfish ambitions. “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21) and with this compelling purpose comes a greater awareness of the finish line. “We must work the works of [the Lord] as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). The disciple is increasingly aware that, unless the Lord returns first, night is coming. There is coming a day when his race will have been run (2 Tim. 4:7), and the question will be, “Have I fought the good fight, have I kept the faith?” So, before that day, the disciple is eager to “walk not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time for the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16). In this sense, then, the disciple is in a race against time.

RACING AGAINST TIME TO DO WHAT?

With the unknown finish line coming irresistibly closer, what is it that the disciple is racing against time to do? Here are some of my own ideas.

Every disciple has been called to Christ to accomplish the good works which God prepared beforehand for him to do (Eph. 2:10) and so I desire to complete these good works before I am taken away by death or the Lord’s return.

There is a race against time to leave a legacy, to accomplish “a great work” that the Lord has given only me to do. Nehemiah was called to leave his job as a cupbearer to the king and rebuild the wall in Jerusalem. He said to his two nemeses, Sanballat and Tobiah, “I am doing a great work” and I cannot be distracted (Neh. 6:3). Gideon was chosen to defeat the Midianites (Judges 6-8). Joshua led the nation of Israel into the Promised Land. Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem. Noah built an ark. Perhaps God will be gracious to give me a great work as well. So, there is a race to leave my legacy.

In Matthew 13:3, we read, “The sower went out to sow.” The Lord has given me a sack of gospel seeds to scatter and I want my sack to be empty before I am called home. So, there is a race against time to scatter gospel seeds.

There are so many who do not know about Jesus and His finished work on the cross and the salvation that He offers to lost sinners. But I do know Jesus, and it is a race against time to tell as many as I can about my great King.

From time to time, my fellow disciples can become discouraged by the trials and pressures of the world and by the evil in the world, and I am racing against time to encourage as many as I can, “to spur them on to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). Also, I have been given gifts of teaching and so I am in a race against time to edify others with power from the Word.

When I came to Christ more than thirty years ago, I was morally polluted and had developed ungodly habits of life and thought and had a foul mouth. But God has been changing me day by day over these thirty years so that I have made progress in my sanctification. Now I want to display this ransomed life to the world to show God’s power to transform anyone into His useful instrument.

Finally, the Lord has entrusted me with significant financial resources and I am in a race against time to wisely spend the money entrusted to me so that I do not die with a lot of unused funds. The man in Luke 12 was a fool for building bigger barns and not being rich toward God. In the same way, I want to be generous in wise investments of the Lord’s money as a good steward.

So, I am racing against time to accomplish these things with my remaining years.

SDG                 rmb                 11/15/2022                 #586