"From the wilderness journey of the children of Israel we can see how serious it is to waste our days indeed (see Exodus 19:1; Numbers 10:11, 12; Deut. 1 :2). Kadesh Barnea was at the border of Canaan, so that upon leaving Mount Sinai they could have entered Canaan after eleven days' journey. Instead of that they wandered in the wilderness for forty years before their descendants finally entered the promised land. What a circle they travelled! Not three or five years, but forty long years! Likewise, how many days have we wasted in our spiritual journey? Whereas a problem or sin could have been resolved and set aside in three or four days, we have allowed them to remain unsolved for several years and wasted many years. Such a loss is truly serious and should not be viewed as insignificant. 1 Cor. 10:5,6,11 tell us that the children of Israel are our ensamples and so we need to be warned.
In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ shows us how we must redeem the time by living for Him and working for Him (Matt. 20:1-8). If you are not living in the will of God, you are in God's sight as one standing idle, no matter how much of other work you might have been doing. The work done in His vineyard alone is recognized by Him. "All day" in this passage refers to a lifetime. Working for Him does not mean full-time ministry, resigning our jobs and going for full-time service, although God does call some for such ministry. But we all can serve Him faithfully in the place where He keeps us by doing His will. There are several kinds of work in His vineyard, not preaching only. The question is, what is your heart-attitude towards God's will? It makes individual consecration absolutely necessary (Romans 12:1,2). If you do not love the Lord whole-heartedly after being saved, your life is deemed as standing idle. According to 1 Corinthians 3:1,2 you will remain babes spiritually. The believers at Corinth actually wasted their time; instead of growing in the Lord, they became carnal. Therefore we need to pray like Moses, asking the Lord to teach us to number our days.
In Galatians 6: 10 we are taught to make use of the 'opportunities' to love the Lord, obey Him
and serve Him. There are several examples of this in the New Testament. In John 12:3, Mary took the
opportunity to anoint the body of the Lord Jesus Christ before His burial. The other women who went to
anoint His body on the resurrection morning could not do so. Similarly, Zacchaeus in Luke 19 took the
opportunity to set things right with the Lord and experienced the salvation although his background
was very bad; whereas the rich young ruler lost his opportunity in obeying and following the Lord,
though he was good in himself (Mark 10:21,22).
How do we redeem the time? It is by placing our lives and our time into His hands upon the
altar. Often we cut short the time of devotion that we need to spend in His presence, to attend to other
jobs. This leads only to loss. In the example of the five loaves and two fishes placed in His hands, the
Lord could bless and multiply them. Similarly, when we place our time in His hands, He will redeem it
for us and we will have sufficient time for everything that we need to accomplish.
When we look back upon our lives and on the lost opportunities, our hearts ache over the years
we have foolishly wasted. We may lament and say, "My best years are eaten by locusts. What shall I
do?" Thank God, He still gives us hope, comfort and assurance from His Word. "And I will restore to
you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my
great army which I sent among you" (Joel 2:25). Thank God, He still has a way to restore to us those
years which the locusts and caterpillars have eaten away. As for the wasted days, our ten years may
have been counted as only one day in God's calendar. But if we repent and seek His mercy and
hereafter redeem the time, one day may become equal to thousand days. "For a day in thy courts is
better than a thousand" (Psalm 84:10a), The day on earth is not clocked in heaven on the basis of
twenty-four hours. Instead, God has His way of computation. If our service is according to His will, one
day in His sight may be reckoned as many days.
A young man who was about to die, heard the Gospel and on his deathbed he received the Lord and was born again. He lived as a believer only for a month and sorrowed that he did not have any opportunity to serve the Lord. He said, "I am not afraid to die; Jesus has saved me, but I have done nothing for Him. Must I go to Him with empty hands?" This incident prompted the hymn-writer to compose the famous hymn:
"Must I go and empty handed?
Thus my dear Redeemer meet?
Not one day of service give Him,
Lay no trophy at His feet?
"Must I go and empty handed?
Must I meet my Saviour so?
Not one soul with which to greet Him?
Must I empty handed go?"
This hymn was published in 1878 and God has used it to challenge many to offer themselves to serve the Lord. Though that young man lost many of his days, he still retained a little desire for the Lord in his heart at the time of his death and the Lord fulfilled it. May we all learn to number our days and plead with the Lord to restore our lost days. May each day be equal to thousand days as we walk in God's will step by step.
EVERLASTING LOVE - (Some thoughts on the Lord's Supper) - BAKHT SINGH
"I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jer. 31 :3)
When we take part in the Lord's Table, what are we reminded of? Most of us will say that we are reminded of the Lord's death, but there is something deeper than that. In a very symbolic way the Lord is saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love". In Rev.13:8 (last part) we read, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." We know that our Lord Jesus died on the cross only about 2,000 years ago, but in the plan of God, He was slain from the foundation of the world. Long before any part of the universe came into existence, the Lord thought of us and planned our salvation. You may have been born again a few years, or even a few weeks or days ago, but in the mind of God you were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph. 1 :4). God knew about us before this universe was created, -before the sun or moon or stars came into existence. If our Lord has thought about us for such a long time, surely this tells us that His love is everlasting. How can anyone comprehend such a love? The Lord's Table is one way by which God makes us understand the greatness of the measure of His love. God's love cannot be understood easily by any man, and certainly not by reading books, or by any verbal explanation, yet God has made a heavenly plan, by means of which His love can be comprehended, understood and enjoyed by His people.
In Ephesians 3: 14-19 we have the prayer of the apostle for the believers at Ephesus, and in that prayer all the believers are included. Those believers had made very rapid progress spiritually. Unlike the people of Corinth, who spiritually remained as babes through their carnality, the Ephesians believers became spiritually mature. When the apostle wrote to them, he told them that he was praying for them with a great burden. He was very happy that they were growing spiritually, and that they were able to understand heavenly things. But he wanted them to have a still greater experience, even that they might know the love of Christ which passeth all understanding. "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and - length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, hat ye might be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph.3:17-19). That was God's highest thought for them, and that was the substance of the apostle's prayer. He told them that the love of Christ cannot be comprehended or understood by human knowledge, or even by Bible knowledge, and that it is by knowing that love that we can be filled with all the fullness of God. That is something beyond our comprehension. If someone were to tell us that all the water in the whole world could be contained in a small bottle, would we believe it? How can the water of the oceans, so deep and so wide, be filled into that one little bottle? The thought of God's fullness and might is something even greater. The purpose of the great and living God is to fill us with His fullness. That is why He came into the world to die for us; that is why He rose again, and that is what He had planned from eternity.
When man wants to do a great work, he spends many years in planning it. Our Lord planned His great work from eternity, and because it is so true, so wonderful and so mysterious, He had to choose His own method to teach us so great a truth. That is why He ordained the Lord's Supper of Remembrance. Alas! the Lord's Supper has become a mere ritual and ceremony or formality in many parts of the world. On a day like Easter Sunday, for instance, you will find crowds inside and outside a church building waiting to take part in what they call the Holy Communion. Smokers, gamblers, fornicators, drunkards, who have not been to a church building for many months, and have not prayed one word of prayer for many months, go to a church building and take part blindly in what they call Holy Communion. Yet this is not a mere ceremony in which to take part! There is not the least suggestion in any part of the Bible, to indicate that it was intended to be a ceremony or rite. Our Lord Jesus Himself ordained it. "This do in remembrance of me" He said (1 Cor. 11 :24,25). So simple and clear are His words: "This do in remembrance of me!", yet people take part in it like Hindus take 'prasadam' in their temples. Please note that the Lord's Supper is not a 'prasadam' or a ceremony.