1 April 2015
Message: “Times Up – Are You Ready?”
About a week ago I was working on what tonight’s message was going to be about. I had it narrowed down and the material was set aside. I should know better. Then the weekend hit and the topic for tonight’s message began to evolve. You were going to hear about what “Easter” is all about and then the topic of our “Legacy” began to immerge. Not so much about what we will leave behind, but instead if you had a short time to live, what would you be doing. Let’s look at where we come from, what we do through our lives, and see if in the end, we would be satisfied with how we spent our time!!!
Our souls aren’t hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Those things create as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for “meaning”. We want our lives to matter. The Psalmist writes in Ps 90:10 NCV: “Our lifetime is seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty.” Eighty years is just under 30,000 days. Think about that in financial terms: $30,000 will buy you a car, or the down payment on a house. It’s not really that much money— and it’s surely, not that much time. None of us knows how many years we’ve left, but we know how many we’ve been given till now. If you were to draw a line and add them up, eternally speaking, what would you have to show for your life? Job said, “My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6 NO); “What’s left… races off too fast” (Job 9:25 TM). Bryan Wilkerson says: “Teens count the number of friends they have, the number of colleges they get into. College students count grade points… credit hours… how many beers they can drink… Adults measure success by the number of bedrooms in their house, cars in the garage… or the yield on their investments. Most make two mistakes. . .they think they’ve so much [time] they can afford to waste it, or so little time that they can’t possibly do something significant, so they don’t try. Our days are like suitcases— all the same size— but some can pack more into them than others. ‘Fools idle away their time’ (See Pr 12:11 NLT). Numbering your days means offering them to God and seeking His direction for your life.”
Talking about a friend’s funeral, Bryan Wilkerson says: “The man… was a Christian-bright, hardworking, and dynamic. He helped start two hospitals… the local soccer association… traveled… sang in choirs around the world… a man of remarkable energy and ability. . .But nobody spoke of his spiritual influence. He introduced many to soccer but few. . .to Jesus Christ. The pastor could say nothing of his contribution. . .except he critiqued the sermon at the door on Sundays. His wife and children had few words; they got the short end of his attention and energy. Imagine what he “could” have accomplished, by offering his time and talent to God. Compare that to another funeral I attended, he said. This man was also. . . highly regarded in the secular community. But he was careful to number his days and resources, and offer them to God. People didn’t speak about his success and influence in the marketplace, but of his spiritual impact… how he pointed them to Christ… his leadership and support of Christian ministries. . .his years of church service. . .his mission trips to Moldova. His family spoke of his love of scripture… his love for them… his faithfulness as a husband and father. I remember. . .wishing the whole church could be there, to see what God can do with somebody who offers… every day of their life to Him.” So, how many people have you pointed to Christ? Where are you investing your time, your treasure and your talent? God’s gifts are never loans, they’re deposits, and He expects a return. The only “even” thing in this world, is the number of hours in a day. The difference between winning and losing, is how you use them.
Paul probably didn’t leave any money or real estate when he died, but he did leave a legacy— a superior one! His legacy was his writings, those he won to Christ, those he mentored, and his enduring influence. Every day your life touches other lives, in unseen ways. You don’t have to know someone personally, in order to experience the blessing of their legacy. Like walking into an empty room and catching a whiff of someone’s perfume, your impact can continue to be felt long after you’re gone. Usually we associate legacies with dying, and we don’t particularly like the topic. Or we assume since our legacy won’t be revealed for years, we don’t need to start investing in it now.
In some cases, we feel like we’ve little or no control over what we leave behind anyway. That’s not so. Prov 13:22 NIV says: “A good man leaves an inheritance.” What will yours be? More importantly, what’s it going to cost you? Since the best gifts aren’t always handed down in your will, why not try for something more meaningful— something that points to who you were? It’s one thing to measure success by the money in your bank account, the size of your real estate holdings, and the value of your stock portfolio. It’s entirely another, to measure it by intangibles like being a faithful marriage partner, raising great kids, building God’s kingdom, and leaving your light burning brightly when you go. All great legacies come with a price tag. To move beyond mediocrity, you must invest every day, in the accounts of those who follow you! For most everyone our families are the ones who mean so much to us and look to us for direction and guidance. But balancing family and career calls for tough, unselfish choices. If you make the right ones, you’ll look back with joy, not regret. John Ortberg writes: “A friend of mine is a professional musician. For many years he made his living on the road. He was becoming increasingly successful. Then three years ago he became a father. He was on the road about half the time. He realized that when his daughter was about a year old she hardly knew him. He knew he needed to make a change but it was frightening to him. What if his career slowed to a crawl? What if being home more, actually made life harder? He took a job as the head of a music department at a university. He still performs, but he travels now only a fraction of the time. His relationship with his daughter has become a source of pride and joy in his life that he otherwise never would have known. He did have to let go of some of his old dreams, but he has since recorded a best selling CD and been nominated for a Grammy. Most importantly, he realizes his daughter will grow up a fundamentally different human being now, than she would have if she had grown up with a hole in her heart where her father was supposed to be. By the end of his life he will have a title that means much more to him than Rock Star. The title is ‘Dad!'”
The Bible says in 1 Tim 3:4 NIV, a leader “must manage his own family well.” And that doesn’t just apply to leaders, it applies, to all of us!
I began this message telling you that this was not originally the topic for tonight’s message. I want to go through a couple things that God, through the Holy Spirit, was using to get me where He wanted me. I trust God. This message was for someone. First off, Freida found a movie, that depicted a gentleman that had been diagnosed with a Brain tumor. Because he and his, stand in doctor, were both having a bad day, their attitudes were atrocious. When the patient found out he had a brain tumor, all he could focus on was, “How Long, How Long??” The doctor didn’t know, but because of the patients insistence and persistence, she threw a number at him. “90 Minutes!!” she said. He stormed out of the office, and as he went he realized he only had “90 Minutes”. Then he began to think of what he had done and hadn’t done during his life, but more importantly, how to fix some of the things that he had messed up.
The second thing that drew me to this message was the bible study I attend on Mondays, BSF. In last weeks lesson, we studied about Moses being allowed to gaze upon the Promised Land. God would not allow Moses into the Promised Land because he had disobeyed God. You would think Moses would be “Bitter” with God. But he wasn’t. His main concern was that the Israelite people, would have a suitable leader when they entered the Promised Land. His concern was for others, not himself. Throughout the whole time that God had Moses leading the Israelites, Moses concern was obeying Gods commands and the welfare of God’s people, the Israelites!! One of the questions in our Bible Study was this: If you only had one week to live, what would you pray for, and what would you do?? After watching that movie about having only 90 minutes to live, studying where Moses concern and heart was, to say the least God had stirred my heart. This is how I answered that question.
I said; “I would pray for my families salvation. I would be with my family. I would try to provide for a smooth transition – for my family and our ministry!!”
How do your priorities line up?? So if someone came to you and said: “Times Up – Are You Ready??”