There’s a short poem about money I heard a long time ago that I’ve never forgotten. Here it is:
Money talks; that’s no lie.
I heard it once; it said “Goodbye!”
But let me reword it a bit, like this:
Time flies; that’s no lie.
I heard it once; it said “Goodbye!”
Actually, I don’t think time says “Goodbye” at all. It just rushes by without so much as a “See you later!” It really is astonishing how fast it goes.
Now, I couldn’t convince my 5-year-old grandson of this. If he’s waiting for something good—his birthday, or Christmas, or for his daddy or mommy to come home after being away—then to him, time passes excruciatingly slowly.
But the older you get, the faster time seems to go. You’re a kid. You’re a teenager. You’ve graduated from high school. You’re married. You’re having babies. Before you know it, your babies are teenagers. Then they’re graduating from high school. And then, wait—what?—they’re getting married? Now your kids are having babies? And that makes you…a grandparent? How did this happen?
Somebody asked an elderly man what it was like getting older. He said, “You eat breakfast every half hour.” Boy, I know how that feels! (It is so weird being the same age as old people!)
I think about things that have happened—sad things like losing my parents and grandparents, or my wife’s parents and grandparents—and then I’ll think: “That was four years ago!” Or ten. Or fifteen, or twenty. Even so many of the good things are so much farther back in the rearview mirror now. It’s been five years since our youngest grandson Augustus was born. Soon it will be six years! It’s been eight years since I went to Israel with my son Josh. I wouldn’t have missed being a grandpa for the world…but I became a grandpa when Andrew was born fourteen years ago! I walked my daughter down the aisle fifteen years ago. In just a little over a month (if I make it that long) it will be twenty-five years since you called me to be your pastor. Unbelievable! It’s been thirty-five years since I met my good friend Paul Bertsch, who has encouraged me so much spiritually and musically. It’s been forty-five years since Rae Anne and I got married. And it’s been forty-eight years since we went on our first date and she knocked me off my little webbed feet. (No, my feet aren’t really webbed. She’s like the princess who kissed the frog, and I’m the frog…try to keep up.)
Speaking of feet, I’ve developed a little numbness in my toes. It’s no big deal, just a little annoying. They’ve done tests and ruled out all the serious stuff—pinched nerve, diabetes, leprosy—and so my doctor tried to reassure me. He said, “It’s just that some of the nerves in your feet are dying.” Oh, good: part of me is getting a head start! I wonder if I’ll get to Heaven and look down to see part of my toes missing? And an angel will say, “Oh, someone is bringing them now.” (I ponder deep theological questions like this sometimes.)
I often think of conversations I had with Jack Jones. Jack was a real interesting guy. He tuned pianos, worked on electronics, and was the only person I ever knew who had his own Tesla coil. (Look it up. It’s cool!) He also worked on clocks, and he was the one who told me that the tune chimed by a grandfather clock at the top of the hour is actually an old hymn. He brought me a sheet with the words on it. I keep it folded on top of my grandfather clock in my study at church. There are several versions of the words, but here is the most common version:
O Lord our God,
Be Thou our guide
That by Thy help
No foot shall slide.
There’s even a version of these words inscribed in the clock room of the Big Ben tower in London, England. It was supposed to help people remember to depend on God whenever they heard the hour chime. It’s a shame that most people don’t even know there are words to the clock tune.
Also inscribed on most clocks is a Latin phrase: Tempus Fugit. It’s on the face of my grandfather clock, right at the top. It means Time Flies. And we can all say “Amen” to that!
Moses wrote about this in the one Psalm that is attributed to him: Psalm 90. The King James Bible renders the last part of verse 9 this way: “…we spend our years as a tale that is told.” The translators supplied the last phrase (in italics). The English Standard Version, leaving out the supplied phrase, translates it like this: “…we bring our years to an end like a sigh.” The word translated “sigh” meant “a murmur, a sigh, a meditation, a low growling”. It could mean a tale told in a low murmur around a campfire at night, just to pass the time. Tales like that were just entertainment. They weren’t worth much, certainly no more than a sigh. And even a good story is over too soon, and we sigh when it comes to an end, and we wish there was more. And we sigh when we come to the end of our lives, and we wish there was more.
And the good news is that because of Jesus, there is more. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b) And He told a grieving sister named Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who believes in me shall never die.” Then He asked her a question that He asks us all: “Do you believe this?” (John 10:25-26)
That’s a good question: Do you believe this? Do you believe in Jesus? If you do, then hang on to Him with all you’ve got. And when you’re weak, remember that He’s hanging on to you, too, and He won’t let you go. He said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28) How about that! How do we even imagine eternal life? Life like His, where time doesn’t fly, where the moments don’t pass by almost before you know it. Life where time works differently—“with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (2 Peter 3:8, quoting Psalm 90:4). Life where the good things can be treasured and savored indefinitely, and time with people we love never has to come to an end. All this pondering is inadequate, but it points us in the right direction. We can hardly conceive it…but we yearn for it. We yearn for Him. This world can’t satisfy our longings. I hope you learn this before your time is gone. What we really are yearning for is Jesus and Heaven…Him and Home.
We’re going to live somewhere a whole lot longer than we live in this world. Here, time flies. There, it’s eternity. Eternity without Jesus is too horrible to contemplate. Eternity with Jesus…well, as the song says, we can only imagine.
Give that some thought!
Soli Deo Gloria!