Friday, March 13, 2009

So Teach Us to Number our Days

I’ve often heard, and probably said it myself, that we should live each day as though it were our last. Perhaps this would be a word of admonition in line with Ps 90:12
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
But I’m not sure it gets it quite right.

Yes, it is true that we do not know how many days we have here on earth. This may be our last. And certainly, if it were our last, then there are certain things that I would want to say to certain people.

But the other side of this truth is – we may have a great many days left on this earth. And if that is the case, then we should not live each day as though it were our last. If we did, we would only do those things which are most urgent. We would not plan. We would not strategize. We would begin no large projects. We would stretch for no large aspirations.

And so it seems that we have a two-sided lesson here. Our times are in God’s hands. We must be very careful not to leave unfinished business, especially in the sense of unforsaken and unconfessed sin, or in failing to offer forgiveness or seek reconciliation in bruised and broken relationships.

But we must also dare to begin endeavors which may take decades to complete. We must begin friendships that may not mature for years. We must invest in worthy projects much like a farmer would plant seed in the Spring. Do we have a guarantee that we will enjoy the harvest on this earth? No, but there is harvest in heaven even for projects only begun.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Garbage Day

It may seem silly, but I love garbage day. Just think, you carry your junk to the street, and then it’s gone. The bags are gone. The garage is clean. The trash cans are empty. This has got to be one of the greatest achievements of modern civilization.

If you doubt me, answer this: What would you do with all your trash if no one took it away? Would you burn it? The smoke from everyone’s trash would cover the town. Would you bury it? Frankly, I’m afraid I come up with more trash that I have room to dig. You could shove it down the basement stairs, but that seems short-sighted.

What I really love about garbage day is that it reminds me of forgiveness. “If we confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

This verse doesn’t explain the mechanics of atonement. It just states it as a fact. Forgiveness is possible, and forgiveness is possible. When I address my sin – recognizing my sin as sin, and name it for what it is – then forgiveness is promised. It’s a little like taking garbage to the street. In essence, you are admitting to the public – “I have garbage. Here it is.” And then it’s gone.

Sure, there are questions that need to be answered: What about unconfessed sin? How does God forgive sin and maintain His justice? Doesn’t this arrangement just encourage us to sin all the more? What about the consequences of sin? Are they taken away as well? And there are important answers to those questions.

But it doesn’t take away the delight of garbage day, and the joy of forgiveness day, which, when lived in the light, in fellowship with Jesus, is everyday.