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Wednesday Word — September 2, 2020

September 2, 2020 | Jay T. Smith

Running Out of Time

I read this morning in the paper that an asteroid is on a potential collision course with Earth and could arrive in November 2020. Asteroid 2018VP1 has a .41% chance of colliding with Earth as it comes within 280,000 miles of our blue planet on the day before the 2020 election. It has been entertaining seeing the social media memes of mayhem and disaster concerning the election, and even more so now considering an asteroid is headed our way.

Interestingly though, the response has been a bit humorous: “it figures,” or “maybe this will put us all out of our misery,” or “maybe this event will win the 2020 lottery of disasters only to rivaled by a potential Yellowstone eruption.” My favorite is “COVID + Politics / Asteroid = Ahhhh.” Now I can’t speak towards the scientific issues surrounding COVID or the asteroid, but I can tell you about worry, time, and what’s important.

Time Has an Expiration Date

We become so concerned or worried about what will happen tomorrow that our time today is lost, forever. The most important and ultimately perishable or fleeting possession we have is time. What you do with time you possess defines you. Life has always been temporary; it has an expiration date, unknown to us now, but it is coming. I recently purchased a blackberry smoothie at the grocery store. It was a lovely, refreshing break drink. So, I bought two more and put them in my refrigerator. However, I had failed to see that they were perishable and eventually they fermented and exploded in the fridge. No joy there.

Today you have been given time. What you will do with that time will define you. Part of your time will be spent working at a job, but part of it will be yours to do with as you will. Will you “spend” that time worrying about an event you cannot control? Will you spend time being angry about politics? Will you spend time glued to the television, living vicariously in an alternate reality that makes you forget about the present reality. OR, will you make that time worth something? Will you spend that time making memories with those whom you love? Will you spend the time engaged in an activity that brings peace and health to your heart and mind? I am reminded of Jesus’ words here in Matthew 6:25-34. It’s a long paragraph, but worth the reflection:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Our Allotted Time

Every one of us is running out of time. The day we were born the clock started and our Creator has been watching to see how we spent the time allotted to us. Yet, our world paralyzes us with fear, replacing love and joy with anxiety and anger. We are frozen in the moment and the moments pass, empty of what is important, full of what is not.

Do not let politics, asteroids, or viruses steal from you the time you have been given. You have been given today. What will you do with it? How will you make someone’s life better and, in the process, make your own richer? In doing so, what will your experience of God the Creator of all be? Asteroids and viruses come and go.

Jay T. Smith

President and Bridger Professor of Theology & Ethics

Dr. Jay Smith leads the Yellowstone Theological Institute as its president. Dr. Smith has served as minister of youth, music and as senior […]

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