Juxtaposition

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:24-25

Last Thursday brought a delightful visit with some friends and their newborn baby in the hospital. As usual, I marveled over the perfection of tiny fingers and toes and wondered over the impossibly small size of the infant.  Then, on Saturday, I found myself in quite a different  room with some of my old judo cronies as we attended the pre-funeral visitation for our sensei. He was still relatively young when a heart attack took him, and he left behind (among other family) two teenage sons, a nephew… and his mother. As a mother myself, my heart breaks for this woman, though I had never met her before.  It seems a particularly cruel barb of the sin curse when a person outlives her children.

As I watched his mother from across the room, I couldn’t help but think that our friend and sensei was her baby. She had held him in her arms once, not so very long ago. She had likely marveled over the wonderful flawlessness of miniature fingers and toes, wondered what his future held, dreamed big dreams on his behalf.  As I took it all in, both events so close in chronology became to me a poignant reminder of life’s brevity. From birth to death, we are each truly are just a breath. Our lives are as fleeting as flowers and just as fragile.

So what is the point of all this somewhat somber rambling? Simply this: Faced so starkly with evidence of the inexorable and swift current of time, I could not help but think how important it is to  make the most of each and every moment.  Each chance to  share the goodness of God, the reality of eternity, the gift of salvation, the splendor of the Creator and Redeemer, a word of encouragement, or the hope that is within us  with another person is a chance that we dare not waste.  None of these opportunities, whether they seem to us grand or insignificant, should be wasted. We do not know that we will have another.

We must also be careful not to squander each chance to seek the Lord’s face for ourselves, to spend quality time with Him here and now. I don’t know about you, but I need a steady diet of Truth to  encourage me, to keep me from growing fainthearted, and to counteract the lies I am bombarded with daily. Let us not forget that we are living and working, as C. S. Lewis puts it, in “enemy occupied territory,” and the enemy is actively trying to thwart, distract, and discourage the King’s men.  Daily, hourly, even moment-to-moment, we need to be bold in praise to our Lord and be humble in approaching the Throne of Grace. Let us not procrastinate, brothers, but be serious about our devotion today. We are never promised tomorrow.

Though this life is brief,  we do not lose heart. We must remember that it is just the soldier’s camp, these bodies the tents, as we live, work, and fight on the vast spiritual battleground we call Earth. Don’t give up hope, fellow soldier! Fight the good fight and make the most of each opportunity God sends your way, both as you work out your own salvation with fear and trembling and as you have the chance to share with others. Remember always that what our enemy may intend for evil, God uses for good, and take heart that our King is sovereign. Each time you have a chance to declare your praise, to share your faith or your love for the Lord, seize them before they are swept away in the current of time.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Ephesians 5:15-17

Lord, open our eyes to see around us the opportunities to speak words of Godly wisdom, life, and truth into the lives of those around us today. May we never cower in fear but be bold for the sake of Your Kingdom, amen. 

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