It started as a simple idea for a picture, an old semi abandoned farm tractor in a hay-field, nothing more really.
I passed it twice a day going to and from work for nearly a year through various seasons each time saying to myself “one of these days I need to stop and take a picture”. Finally I did.
Little did I know that I was taking my picture less than 24 hours from when the entire photo opportunity, and the photo’s very subject, would be gone. The very next day from my stopping, the hay-field was undergoing spring haying and the tall grass that helped define and frame my picture was mowed down for harvesting. And the tractor? It was restarted and removed from the field all together. My perfect picture was now inexplicably altered. The entire scene looks completely different now, changed forever and cannot be reset to what it once was.
What started as a simple roadside picture has become a metaphor for our call to Christian service.
1-3 But as far as times and seasons go, my brothers, you don’t need written instructions. You are well aware that the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a burglary to a householder. When men are saying “Peace and security” catastrophe will sweep down upon them as suddenly and inescapably as birth-pangs to a pregnant woman.
4-11 But because you, my brothers, are not living in darkness the day cannot take you completely by surprise. After all, burglary only takes place at night! You are all sons of light, sons of the day, and none of us belongs to darkness or the night. Let us then never fall into the sleep that stupefies the rest of the world: let us keep awake, with our wits about us. Night is the time for sleep and the time when men get drunk, but we men of the daylight should be alert, with faith and love as our breastplate and the hope of our salvation as our helmet. For God did not choose us to condemn us, but that we might secure his salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. He died for us, so that whether we are “awake” or “asleep” we share his life. So go on cheering and strengthening each other with thoughts like these, as I have no doubt you have been doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-9 (J.B. Phillips New Testament)
So often in our spiritual life we procrastinate. We resist the calling to service, the urging to minister to someone, the unexplained burden to reach out and act. We convince ourselves that we have time, lots and lots of time and in doing so we negate the urgency of our spiritual commands. Like me and driving by the same field and tractor day in and day out, we become comfortably numb to the expected routine and allow that to lull us into a false sense of security. We expect those same service or ministry opportunities to be there not only today, but tomorrow. We see our neighbor everyday so what is the rush to invite them to church with us? We drive through that part of town everyday and it remains unchanged so why hurry to plant a church, open an outreach or park the car and get out into the dark and despair and shine the light of Christ into some lives? We see our co-workers everyday so we can always share the Gospel with them tomorrow….. right?
If tomorrow ever comes. Friends the routine and predictability of our lives is exactly what the enemy wants to use to prevent us from taking that step to move outside our routine and take a risk for the Kingdom.
We don’t have time to fall into a routine. Those of use who believe in Christ know that our days are literally numbered. We don’t know when the picture is going to change. Just as my perfect picture was changed overnight, our world can and does change in an instant. We don’t have the luxury of sitting and waiting for another time to stop and act. We must learn as a church to respond to the calling of the spirit when and where we hear it.
I challenge you today to ask yourself what have you been procrastinating? What is the call that you have been ignoring and finding excuses not to obey? That sound you hear in the background is the clock of time ticking the countdown.
Don’t run out of time.