Hope statue in New York

The time is short (and getting shorter)

Hope statue in New York

A few weeks ago, I was sitting on an airplane and found myself with an opportunity to share the gospel.[1. Thank you, new job.] It was a moment I was grateful for, especially as one who has often described himself as a timid evangelist.

Evangelism doesn’t come easy to me. It’s awkward. It’s sometimes uncomfortable. It’s kind of scary at times.

But it’s so important.

It’s something God wants from all of his people. He wants each of us to make the most of every opportunity—to share the good news of Jesus as long as there is still a “today”. And I am so thankful every time I learn of someone new who has come to faith in Jesus. Every time we celebrate baptisms. Every time someone else moves from darkness to light.

It is such a wonderful gift, one I probably don’t make the most of (despite knowing better). You can probably relate. You’ve heard all the rationales before. You’ve heard all the good and bad appeals. You’ve tried to share your faith. You stumble and fail more than you succeed. But you still try.

And I think there’s a degree to which that’s enough. You’re trying. You’re not quitting.

You’re recognizing that the days are, in fact, short. That Jesus is really coming back, and you want people you care about to join you in worshipping him when he does. But there aren’t unlimited opportunities, are there? We don’t know when the end will come for anyone. We don’t know if the conversation we had with this or that person is going to be followed by another.

The time is short—and it’s getting shorter

I’m reminded of this every time I turn on the news—especially as terrorists attack and militaries attempt coups. I find I’m wandering more and more to Jesus’ teaching on when he would return, that during the birth pains and as we moved closer to the time, there would be wars and rumors of wars. That turmoil and strife would increase.

And while I’m not the sort who is trying to interpret the times according to a specific ideology, I can’t help but feel like the time is getting shorter.

That, Lord willing, Jesus will be back sooner than any of us think.

Nineteenth century preacher J.C. Ryle once wrote,

[Our] time for doing good in the world is short and limited. The throne of grace will not always be standing–it will be removed one day, and the throne of judgment will be set up in its place. The door of salvation by faith in Christ will not always be open–it will be shut one day forever, and the number of God’s elect will be completed. The fountain for all sin and uncleanness will not always be accessible; the way to it will one day be barred, and there will remain nothing but the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.[2. From Ryle’s commentary, The Gospel of John.]

Use the time we have

Reading this gives me a sense of urgency, even as it makes me thankful that there is still time. Although our time “for doing good in the world is short and limited,” we still have that time. The door is still open. There is still time to take advantage of every opportunity to share the good news. And I want to take those opportunities. I want to be able to tell people about what God has done by sending Jesus into the world. I want more people to be joining me with him when he finally does return.

I suspect you do, too.

So take those opportunities. Take the moments God gives you to share Christ. Take the opportunity to stick a rock in someone’s shoe. Don’t let any moment pass. The time is short for us to do good in this world. Let’s make the most of it.

Photo credit: New York 2016 via photopin (license)

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