Mark 16:15

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"

Thoughts on the Passing of Time

As a boy growing up in the small Algood, Tennessee community, I never thought a lot about the passing of time. Of course, I heard it taught from the pulpit and in Bible Study; but at a young age it didn’t sink in very much. If I live very far into the next year I will be well over the seven and one half decades that I have been permitted to live. I consider myself to be living in the “if by reason of strength” portion of the number of years spoken of by the psalmist (Psalm 90:10).
I have taught many lessons on the swift passing of time, and pointed out how each age group deals with this idea. Since I have been engaged in this physical battle (cancer) for over a year now, I have considered what the psalmist said, when he uttered, “Remember how short my time is; For what futility have You created all the children of men? What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?” (Psalm 89:47-48). In the New Testament James asked the question, “For what is your life?” He answers that question with these words. “It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 414).
James was dealing with those who were making grave errors due to their presumptions stated in the context of this question and answer: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow” (James 4:13-14a). In their presumptuous assumptions, James lists five things that they had decided about the future and then rebuked them because they did not even know about the next day!
All of us have heard the expression that “The older you get the faster time flies.” Of course there is no truth in that, but it certainly seems that way. There is seldom a week goes by but what a friend, acquaintance, or someone with whom I have worked passes into eternity. A great many of the men and women who have influenced my life over the years have gone ahead into eternity and their reward. Among them are men like Oliver Anderson, Troyce Cavender, and Malcolm Hill, just to name a few. I would love to have the opportunity to sit down with one of these men and discuss the mess our world is in. But the passing of time has made that impossible. I remember a good friend of brother Malcolm, Dallas Wyatt, calling me at TBC one day to ask about Malcolm’s health. Before he hung up he said, “Tell brother Malcolm that if he goes before I do, wait for me at the tree of life.”
So what is the point of these thoughts? For one, we don’t have to be concerned with the passing of time if we are obedient to God’s word, and living faithful lives. Jesus tells us to “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matt. 24:42). Good instructions! And we are to “watch” while ready! Are you ready for the Lord to return? Are you ready to meet the Lord in judgment?

Paul M. Wilmoth