Friday, January 25, 2013


Imagine that your banker called you late on a Friday afternoon to give you some good news. An anonymous donor will be depositing 86,400 pennies into your account every morning starting on Monday.  That is $864 a day!  Six thousand a week, almost $315,000 a year, a million dollars every three years!  But then the banker tells you there is but one stipulation.  You must spend the entire $864.00 deposited each morning by the end of the same day.  No balance can be carried over.  At midnight the bank will remove the balance of whatever money you have failed to use.

If this scenario actually took place, you would naturally feel as though you had won the lottery!  But, this is essentially what each of us receives from the God of heaven each morning; He gives each of us 86,400 seconds of time to spend as we like.  God does not play favorites in this respect.  He gives all of us the same amount of time in each day.  However, when the day is done, whether we have spent our time wisely or not,   the “balance” can’t be carried over.  We lose what we don’t use. 

The Sky Moon Tourbillion platinum watch is made by a company named Patek Phillippe.  It is recognized as the most expensive model in the world, costing nearly $1,750,000.  It is an engineering wonder, consisting of 686 moving parts.  Its chime mimics a cathedral gong.  It displays not only your basic time, but also solar time, date, month, year, leap year by hands and moon age.  It comes packaged in a platinum case.  Obviously, only a select few can ever dream of possessing it.  I also have a Patek Phillipe which I purchased in Hong Kong for $50  (clearly not the same model, though!). The point being, the guy who owns the million-plus tourbillion has no more time than me with my $50 version!

Despite the many biblical admonitions to value the time we are given (see Psalm 90 and James 4:14 to name just two), we seem to pay little attention to the passing of time during our normal, daily routine, as it seems most believe they have “all the time in the world”.  Contrast this with a person who is informed by their doctor they have a terminal illness; typically one of their first responses is “How much time do I have?”  It is truly amazing how precious every moment becomes if we think we are dying, and how ironic it is that it takes such unfortunate circumstances for us to focus on the truth that every day should be treasured for what it is - a gift from the Almighty God. 

We as Christians need to realize every day is God’s investment in our lives.  Therefore, we should seek to maximize the return on His investment in us.  The first “great commission” in Genesis 1:28 and the many references to the concept of being a “good servant-faithful steward” in the New Testament certainly demonstrate that God desires us to actively pursue utilizing the time he has given us to the best and utmost of our ability, for His glory.  This was the primary goal of our earliest fore-fathers, the Pilgrims, who composed the Mayflower Compact when they first landed, and clearly identified this as their purpose as this phrase from that historic document indicates: “Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith”.

 Although most of us would admit we never seem to have the time to do all that we would like to do, we should recognize that God will provide us the time to accomplish that which He intends for us to do.  Our part, as the famous Nike marketing slogan puts it, is to “Just do it”.
See ya Sunday!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What can we do about evil?

Back in the mid 1960’s, “Get Smart” was a popular TV sitcom.  It was a funny show; certainly better than most of what currently passes for “entertainment”, in my opinion anyway.  The show was a spoof of such classic spy thrillers as the “Man from U.N.C.L.E” series and the James Bond movies.  This basic premise provided a comic vehicle for the escapades of the bungling protagonist, Maxwell Smart, as he battled the agents of the sinister spy organization “KAOS”.  Just a few years ago a movie was released capitalizing on the popularity of this TV series, incorporating the same name and characters.  The film opened with a narrator uttering the phrase “There has always been a delicate balance between chaos and control.  Now with that balance threatened, it’s time to turn to one man.” Essentially this introduction provides the backdrop for both the TV show and the movie; a light-hearted framework to depict the prototypical story line of good guys versus bad guys.
Unfortunately, the actual history of the epic struggle between good and evil is not so uplifting.  Shortly before the “Get Smart” series came on the scene, Nikita Khrushchev was the leader of the Communist party in Russia.  One of the reasons he had moved up the ranks within the party was the manner in which he handled an assignment he had received from Josef Stalin.  Shortly after World War II, he was sent to put down a rebellion by Ukrainian nationalists.  He performed this duty with such enthusiasm he earned the nickname “The Butcher of the Ukraine”, and subsequently placed himself in position of influence within the Communist party.  One of the moments for which he is most remembered is the day he stood before the United Nations and pounded his shoe on the table in an attempt to intimidate the representatives of the other countries.  He even brought the U.S. to the very edge of nuclear war when the military actions he initiated triggered the Cuban Missile Crisis.  To Americans he was frightening; his political rhetoric and aggressive actions posed a true threat to the American way of life, and he seemed to be the very embodiment of evil.
Recently, we Americans have all been shocked by the incomprehensible shootings which took place in Colorado and Connecticut.  I’m sure it seems to most of us that evil is more prevalent then ever, and that the “bad guys” are winning the day.  But we must understand that there has always been and always will be evil in this sin-stained world.  As C.S Lewis so aptly stated, we Christians live in “enemy occupied territory”, and thus we should not be surprised there is a cosmic struggle taking place between good and evil.
 Edmund Burke, an English statesman of the 1700’s, said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.  The question is, what do we do when confronted with evil?  The Bible provides two definitive responses. One: Do not fear!  The Apostle Paul exhorted the Christians of his day to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! What an admonition for us today!  In a day where men’s hearts fail for fear we must realize as Christians that if God be with us, whom shall we fear!  This trust in our God provides us the impetus to perform the second response:  Do good!  Jesus Himself urged His followers to combat evil by.. . .doing good! (Mt 5:16 and Mt 5:44, among numerous others)
Evil will always be in our world.  What are we to do?  Exactly what our forefathers did during those perilous days of the war for independence.  Put our faith in God, for we know He is sovereign.  Realize whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s (Rom 14:8); and taking confidence in these things. . . . . do good!