Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool

I don’t know about you, but I often struggle with keeping prompt in my appointments. I have very good intentions: I never INTEND to be late, but often circumstances beyond my control seem to conspire to prevent me from being on time!

My oldest son’s wedding was this past weekend, and it was out of town. It seemed like I was constantly struggling to be “on time” for each event! Traffic was bad, or someone was still getting ready when it was time to leave, or I got a last minute phone call that I had to take – all of these matters happened at one time or another, and we were barely on time for several appointments!

All of this brought a principle to mind that I sometimes forget:  I am NOT in control of matters here in this life!  Many times I walk around as if I own the place, but the truth is that I am often unable to control the most meager circumstances of my schedule!

We are often reminded of this in the Bible.  Jeremiah tells us, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”  (Jer. 10:23).  Jeremiah is not promoting some fatalistic doctrine here; rather, he is reminding the errant and estranged nation of Judah that men should never think they are the masters of their own destiny!  Nebuchadnezzar was reminded of this:  when he was lifted up with pride at all the accomplishments he believed to be his own, God reminded him in a very drastic way that he was not the ultimate authority (see Dan. 4)!  James writes,

13  Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16  But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. James 4:13-16.

  I am reminded of the truth of this passage almost on a daily basis, as I struggle to meet my daily schedule.  I have learned not to boast of what I will do in a day, but rather ask God for help making each appointment!

The life of Jesus, however, is another story entirely.  We know that He was fully man, and yet He was fully God – a perfect and supernatural mix of human and divinity!  And while He certainly performed many acts in His earthly ministry that demonstrate His divinity, some of the greatest evidences of the deity of Jesus Christ are found in the things he did NOT do while here on earth!  One thing we never find Him doing is getting in a hurry.  Nowhere in any gospel do we read that He got behind in His schedule and had to rush to get to any appointment.

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if we were on time, every time?  There would never be an instance of embarrassment because we walked in late for work, or church, or a dentist appointment!  What if we never missed a train, never missed an opening pitch of a little league game, never missed a child’s award because you just couldn’t get there on time?  No apologies, no tears, no regrets!  Wow!  What a life that would be.

Martha and Mary thought that Jesus had come too late when their brother, Lazarus, died.  But even then, He wasn’t one minute tardy!  When He arrived on the scene, Lazarus had been dead for four days and was already decaying.  But Jesus simply spoke the command, “Lazarus, come forth!”, and Lazarus walked right out of that grave.  

Jesus was never late because Jesus had perfect understanding of the circumstances, and perfect control of the circumstances.  He never had to beg the pardon of anyone because He had failed to meet an appointment.

Jesus is never late in spiritual matters, either.  In John 5:25, He tells us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”  Of what does He speak here?  Surely not the resurrection:  He covers that in verse 28, telling the disciples that the hour is coming, but not here yet.  In verse 25, He says that the hour is already here – it “now is”. 

It is clear from the context that Jesus is speaking of the new birth, that same phenomenon of being “born again” that He describes to Nicodemus in chapter three of John’s gospel.  Here, He is telling us that it is His voice that calls one from spiritual death unto life in Himself – not the voice of the preacher, or the missionary, or any other person, but the voice only of Christ Himself.

And in the new birth, He is on time, every time!  He is never late; for each of His children, that new birth occurs right on time!  For the great Apostle Paul, it was on a dusty road near Damascus (Acts 9).  For a wretched, dying thief, it was on a wooden cross on a bloody hill (Luke 23:39-43).  For John the Baptist, it was in His mother’s womb (Luke 1:41-44).  In each case, Jesus was there at the right time, delivering on the promise made in John 6:37, “ALL [not ‘some,’ not ‘most’] that the Father giveth me SHALL some to me. . . .”  This “coming” to Him is, contextually, speaking of the new birth. What a wonderful promise!  What a wonderful Savior, Who will not miss a single one of His children, and will never get there “too late” – He’s right on time!

May we contemplate the punctuality of our great Savior in His saving grace as we go about the daily tasks of our own lives.  And one day, we will bask with Him in glory in a place where no time exists, no clocks are punched, and no one is ever late again!

May the Lord bless you this week!

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor