Sometimes, I just can’t stand a ticking clock. It isn’t that I can’t stand the ticking all the time. In fact, I find the ticking of a clock a common way to ease into sleep. The ticking gets under my skin, however, when I have something that has to be done on time; and each second that passes is more time slipping by. Yet, it’s not the clock’s fault. When I am that pressed for time it is usually because I have not made time to finish my project earlier. So, I wind up resenting the clock because I procrastinated. It isn’t the clock’s fault. It is the reality of my life: sometimes I make the wrong choice about what will be important to me.
This is where the wisdom of the scriptures comes in. Yes, God’s word warns us about sin. We should pay attention to that, especially if we are pulling against God. (see Psalm 119:11 and 1 Timothy 1:9) However, God’s word also warns us about something else: wishing we had chosen the best when we kept choosing the temporary or the urgent.
But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
It is easy to understand why we consistently choose the urgent. Things that act like emergencies get our attention. They are hard to ignore. The Bible tells us of an encounter that Jesus had with two sisters. Martha and Mary both loved Jesus. Martha, the Bible says, was distracted by all the duties needed to prepare a meal and be hostess. They seemed like emergencies. Mary chose to use her time by sitting at the feet of Jesus. These two different choices caused conflict. Martha resented the choice of her sister so she bravely complained to Jesus. His response was that Mary had made the better choice, and he would not take it from her! Martha heard the call of the urgent. Mary saw the choice set before her: the urgent or Jesus. Jesus praised her choice.
The call of the temporary is a bit harder to understand. It’s not harder to understand because just a few of us do it. No, I think it is safe to say that almost all of us succumb to the call of the temporary. No, the reason it is harder to understand why we succumb to the urge to chase after the temporary is how valuable we say the things of God are. We call Jesus things like priceless and glorious. We all nod at the parables like the pearl of great price and the woman who lost her silver coin. Both of those parables are describing the incredible worth of salvation and the things of God. We agree in principle that the things of God are worth more than the things of this world, but struggle acting like it.
1 John 2:17
The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
This is where the warning of 1 Corinthians 3:12-13 and 1 John 2:17 challenges us. Verses like these are the ticking clock of our lives. Sometimes, they motivate us to make changes so that the ticking doesn’t drive us mad. Sometimes we resent the verses much like I resent the ticking clock. Instead of altering my choices, I vainly wish that time would stop. Instead of choosing more of the things of God, do we vainly wish God would declare that the temporary things we are chasing after are actually His things?
Do you hear the ticking clock? When you think about how you’ve spent your life, do you lament the wasted time? Do you lament the wasted energy on the things that just do not last? If you do, what are you going to do about it? Will it just be something that you feel bad about? Or, will you start today making new choices? Choose those things that will last. You won’t regret it.
Something to think about, Pastor John