“Who is there among you that will give ear to this?
That will hearken and hear for the time to come?”
WITHOUT considering the context of these words, I use them to ask if we really believe that there is a time to come. Do we believe that the time to come is a bigger time than now, that the afterward is much greater than the present; that there are ages of ages before us, and that however long it may be, our whole lifetime here on earth is only a small fragment of what is yet to be? Do we believe also that our service in the ages to come is far more important than what we do in this age?
I do not thereby rule out the importance of this life, in which we should buy up every opportunity and redeem the time, but even so our life is but a span which will soon be completed. It sometimes even seems that we depart just when we are reaching a condition of being more able to help others than ever before. No sooner have we learned something which might be a real value to other people than we are called away. What a problem, what an enigma, life is!
“For the time to come.” That was the perspective of the apostles, one of whom wrote: “I will give diligence that … you may be able after my decease …” (2 Peter 1:15). This is the real test — whether we measure things just by our own lifetime or whether we are content to wait for the values of eternity.
Some have believed that it has been worth it to go to some foreign land for Christ for just a month or two, and then to die. They were [41/42] absolutely right! It was well worth it, if that was the will of God for them. Indeed if they had not thought so, then they had no right to go. God’s values are always eternal.
Let us always have “the time to come” as a real motive in our living. The fruit of our lives is never all to be seen now. Only a small part of its meaning can be in our days: the total value will appear in the afterward. We have to live not only for this time for, although we live right up to the limit in our own day, we cannot do or be much and may even doubt whether the outcome here is worth the cost of it all. The cost, however, is not just for our lifetime; the Lord has in view “the ages of the ages”.