With the now warm weather and springtime growth comes a host of fresh vegetables and fruits. While visiting our local fruit stand, our eyes go wide with the deliciousness that nature presents, yet often our eyes are bigger than our appetites, and we end up buying more than we need. Now normally, that purchase isn’t a problem, but with all of what we are buying being local produce, the shelf life on a lot of these items isn’t very long. The amount of purchases that must thrown out to the animals can be heartbreaking, but at least someone is enjoying them.
With spring produce and warm weather also comes spring cleaning, when we go through our pantry and refrigerator, looking for things that have found their way to the back and as such have become neglected and lost. More often than most, these items are well past their expiration dates, and despite looking just fine, have gone bad on some level. Moving on to our medicine cabinet in this cleaning frenzy, we traditionally find a multitude of no-longer used medicines that have also migrated past their expiration dates, and are now not as effective as they once were, or just aren’t healthy to consume. The power of time takes its toll on all things, apparently.
Time seems to be the enemy of us all. Most things of this world don’t age well and have a point where the rising tide of time overtakes what is best in all things. Even wine, despite getting better with age, reaches a point where it turns to vinegar. When I walk the hallways of high school and spot young couples in love, by measuring the flames of passion that radiate, I can usually judge with a decent amount of certainty how quickly those flame will extinguish and the relationship will expire. And despite our best efforts, our bodies don’t escape the ravages of time. Most scientists and physicians suggest that, given the proper diet and treatment, the human body can work perfectly for the first 40-50 years before it starts to break down on its own, and that’s if we treat it well. Founding father William Penn said that, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” Time is a commodity, but we often don’t trade well with it.
Like our bodies and things of this world, each of us have an expiration date, too. At some point, death will be the great expiration collector and will come for us. What makes us different, though, is that often there is no telling as to when that expiration date is. The Bible and other pieces of literature are filled with warnings about the fleeting nature of life, about how we must seize every moment of every day, or about how we don’t know how long we have. Proverbs 90.12 give us this advice: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” If we realize that our time is limited, then we will most likely use our time wisely, and the biggest concern should be where we are headed after our expiration date.
A great deal of the population, when considering the afterlife, feels that it’s not something they need to think about at this point. They’ve got time. Yet if we live with this foolish notion, like rotted fruit, we will find ourselves out of time before we know it. We need to live wisely while we still have time, and for many, that means committing our lives to Him as soon as possible. With no knowledge of how much time is left, as even tomorrow may be our last day, we must firmly stand on the promises of His kingdom, and not the possible failing promises of a long life. Assurance is found in what we know for sure, not in what we think may be. If we live knowing that any day might be our last, then our decisions, especially those about the afterlife and what we are truly living for, will be handled with grace and wisdom, and our future will be secured. Amen.