This is part four of a six-part conversation about how God gives us enough time to finish our lives well, but just enough time. If you’d like to begin at the beginning… or if youwould rather, you can see the entire essay at barneywiget.com.]
I have things I feel called by God to accomplish in this place before being transferred to the better place. The confused cells in my blood threaten to cut short the lifespan I previously had in mind, but because I know that he gives us a full “twelve hours of daylight,” my fears and frustrations are calmed. Even when the twelve hours are up and our normal life expectancy is exhausted, sometimes he heals the sick or even raises the dead – taking us into overtime!
The takeaway is not that we’re to take our time in doing what we’re supposed to do, but rather take God’s time into account while we’re trying to get it all done. It’s not as though we have all the time in the world (not in this world, anyway). Both this world and the next have their own unique clocks, calendars, and time zones. We can’t quite synchronize our watches with the other place per se, but we can and should keep our eye on the keeper of the clock and trust that he will give us enough time to finish our game.
So, there are “twelve hours of daylight,” so don’t be nervous, you’ve got enough time to do what you’re supposed to do. On the other hand, don’t be careless, you’ve got just enough time to do what you’re supposed to do.
Don’t be careless – you’ve got just enough time to do what you’re supposed to do
- John 12:35 “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.”
“You don’t know if you’re going to live long enough to slow down … and discover the truth of your spiritual identity. You may not be destined to live a long life; you may not have 60 more years to discover and claim your own deepest truth … you have to live every day as if it’s your last, because one of these days, you’re bound to be right.” Anne Lamott to Cal grads the Spring of 2011
If you tend toward being, as my dad used to say, “nervous in the service,” you might want to rest yourself a bit more in the theme of the previous section. If you’re more likely to be asthmatic with anxiety than comatose with carelessness, you might want to review that lesson before moving on to this one.You’ve got twelve hours of “daylight” in which to finish your work here on earth, so unload the world’s problems off your shoulders and not be in such a hurry through your life.
You feel better, right? Good. That’s what I was hoping. Inhale grace and exhale angst.
Now let’s talk about the opposite extreme. If you’re given to dragging your feet through life, remember that you don’t have forever to fulfill your assignment down here. Yes, you have twelve hours, but only twelve hours. The sun will go down at the proper time. Daylight is not interminable. The next world is the timeless one not this one. There’s a reason this one has clocks and calendars, and I suspect the next one doesn’t.
You have enough time, but if I get his drift in the verses above, it’s just enough time. We have to walk while it’s light, because darkness is on its way. That is, if you’re going to get done all you’re supposed to get done, you’ll need to get out of granny gear, shift into second, pop the clutch, hit the gas, and go!
I know nervous Christians – the sort addressed above – so constantly clenched with guilt they don’t make pleasant company. They can’t ever seem to unplug. I’m quite personally acquainted with the type, if you know what I mean. I didn’t even like me when I was like that! On the other hand, my careless Christian friends can’t ever seem to get plugged in. They drag their feet like the sun was going to stay directly above them up forever. I guess they think there’s plenty of time to begin making their contribution to the world and never just quite get around to it. They might as well photocopy last New Year’s resolutions. It’s to those precious procrastinators that I now speak.
One day during the prequel part of my life, the part before getting acquainted with Jesus, my friends and I hiked Mount Lassen to watch the sunset. We’d heard that it was spectacular from up there but we were mostly looking forward to all the pot we were going to smoke at the summit. If scenes from “Dumb and Dumber” should come to your mind, let them, they’re entirely appropriate to what happened next. And if, after reading this, you’re not dissuaded from pursuing the doper’s life, then you may be Dumber.
Anyway, we made the hike to the top, smoked our fill, oohed and awed at the vibrant din of colors, and embarked on the return hike down. What didn’t dawn on our inebriated brains was that along with the descent of the sun would arrive the dark.
“Wow man. It’s dark. Did anyone bring a flashlight?” (It helps if you imagine that unique stoner tone.)
“Dude, I brought the dope. He brought the snacks. You were in charge of the flashlight.”
What kind of dolts fail to think past the sunset? Stoned ones. You probably figured that at least I survived – long enough to tell the story anyway. I can’t be certain of all the others since we did a head count down at the car but were never quite in agreement about the original number of hikers.
The point? The sun always goes down. After it rises from its nightly rest and then climbs to its apex in the noonday sky, that’s what it does – it goes down. Jesus said there’s going to be a time when we won’t be able to see, when darkness will overtake us. So if you have something you should do, something that requires the light of day, unless you have one of those bright-as-the-sun-after-dark-highway-construction-crew-flood-lights in your trunk, you’d better get it in gear and get it done before it gets too late.