James 4:13-15 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

No matter how much we would like to stop time, we cannot! We can change our routines, but we cannot stop time. Some events seem to slow it down, but they do not. Some events seem to speed it up, but they do not. The passing of time steadily moves on—at an unhurried pace. It is only faster or slower in our minds.

A few days ago I enjoyed looking at some Mayan ruins that pre-date Jesus’ birth. To enter the restored area, a person walks through a very wide stone wall. The wall is a marvel in itself. As I walked through an archway in this rock wall about 10-12 feet wide, I was amazed at all the flat stones fitted together to make the wall and archway. The stones were not enormous—maybe between 10 and 12 inches long. Each stone fit precisely with every other stone. No mortar held these flat stones together. Each silently witnessed centuries of time as it touched the stones above it, the stones beneath it, and the stones on the sides of it.

I marveled at the number of stones it took to build this enormous, three-sided wall which started at a cliff by the sea and returned to another point on the same cliff. I marveled at the engineering, the materials, and the time it took to construct this wall enclosing an enormous area that included enormous buildings. I marveled at the eyes that looked at this wall in past centuries, and at the eyes from many continents then looking at the wall.

All the eyes beholding that wall thousands of years ago are dead. All the eyes looking at it now will die. Morbid? No! Fact? Yes! The foolish person is not the one who lives with an awareness of his/her death. The foolish person is one who lives his/her life as if time can be forgotten or ignored.

Time measures life. When life ends, time ends. To use life wisely, a person must use time wisely. Perhaps we each spend a lifetime building a wall. The question: does our wall exist to include or to exclude?


David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 5 May 2005

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