From the Preacher’s Pen…
Our look at several of God’s gifts to us continues. The gift of labor helps us to find value as we grow and learn. Friendship teaches us to be a part of a team that we might accomplish more together than separately, and money teaches us what we may accomplish in doing for and helping others rather than selfishly doing only for ourselves. The gift of family gives us a glimpse of the Heavenly relationship envisioned by God for His people, while gratitude helps us to be truly thankful and enables us to count our blessings as we realize how rich and numerous they really are. The gift of laughter gives us a view of God’s own real joy and the gift of problems allows us to experience, know and understand in order to grow. God’s gift of learning shows that He treats us like adults as we grow to better know, understand and teach others and dreams teach us of the beauty of hope and faith.
Next, let’s look at…
The Gift of a Day
Time seems to be the one ingredient that we always are lacking. How many of us would gladly have one more day with a loved one that is no longer with us? At the same time, how often do we put off time with a loved one until another day?
The gift of a day is often best appreciated when we can no longer have that day back. And in that simple fact is an urgent lesson from God.
Deborah, the judge of Israel, reminded Barak, her general, that this is the day (Judges 4:14) of victory over the enemy. David was reminded of the same lesson by his soldiers as Saul lay sleeping (1 Samuel 24:4). Barak and David would both use the opportunity to show their spirit as soldiers of God, although in quite different ways.
It was that same lesson that David would later share in Psalm 118:24: This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. The important lesson is, of course, so much more than just being happy today. Today is a blessing that is best used wisely. How we use it speaks volumes as to who we really are.
The writer of Hebrews repeats this lesson some five times. Two of those are God’s lesson to not be like the generation that died in the desert and use today to listen to and obey God (Hebrews 3:7, 15). Another (Hebrews 4:7) is cited as a prophecy by David reciting the same thought to us: Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.
Hebrews 3:13 stands out as both a humorous comment and a joke to keep us thinking: But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
In God’s own kind, lighthearted way we are reminded that we only ever have today. As the old saying reminds us, Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised, it is only today that we have. The question for us is, how will we use today.
If you knew that you were going to die tonight, how would you live today? If you knew this was the last time to say, “I love you” or hug someone, would you make a point of treasuring that time today?
Let’s be even more introspective. If you knew that today was the very last day for you to prepare for eternity, what would you do?
You see, today really is the day that the Lord has made. And He made it for you to use and treasure… not waste. Use it to show love and tenderness. Use it as the day of salvation, for that is indeed what it is (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:2).
Use it wisely that you might value every moment God gives you. Use it wisely so that when tomorrow comes, there will be no regrets. Use it and treasure it as God’s gift to you.
— Lester P. Bagley