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Walking in Newness
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December 31, 2014

Earl Palmer
January 2015

Keep awake therefore, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming....Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. Matt. 24-42, 44.

The discipleship teaching throughout the New Testament is clear; we are to live in obedience to the gospel as present tense Christians living wide awake and carrying on the ministry that God has given us to do, leaving the time boundaries in his hands. We should not worry about the shortness of time nor about the time it takes to invest the gifts of God’s love and faithfulness in the lives of people here and now. Time is on our side because we live and work within the hours, days, weeks, and years that belong to the Lord of time.

Therefore as Christians we are the ones who should be able to relax and live without the disorienting panic that crowds in on the human spirit when time is reduced to a theoretical or predetermined chart. When this happens to us, then chronological time itself becomes the real Lord of our lives and it usually terrorizes us. Time, when it is framed in our mind by either a secular or religious schedule, has the effect of diverting our attention away from the Lord of history to a plan of history. In both instances these time dogmas become a very poor substitute for a present tense living relationship with Jesus Christ the Lord.

Maybe as a pastor I should avoid preaching any timetable as if I know more than I do. It is enough to focus on what we do know. I believe the unflappable St. Paul has this in mind when he encourages his friends at Philippi to trust here and now in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known to everyone. The Lord is close by. Phil. 4:4-5

When one week or year ends and another week or year begins, we who trust in the Lord of Time should live on and through that boundary in the same way as in the face of any other boundary, in daily gratitude and in daily responsibility as disciples of Jesus Christ.

St. Augustine put time in its right place: “O God who art ever at work and ever at rest, may we be ever at work and ever at rest.” Because of Christ we are not a people of timetables or charts or predictions, but people of relationships with God and with each other. We leave the future in God’s hands.

We might as well because the future is in God’s hands whether we leave it there or not. 

 

Earl Palmer is author of many books, including the newly published To Run the Race: St. Paul's Second Letter to Timothy.  Rev. Palmer will present a seminar on "Healthy Heart, Healthy Mind: The Book of Philippians" for New College Berkeley on May 2.  To read more articles by Earl Palmer go to Earl Palmer Ministries
http://www.earlpalmer.org.
 

Posted on December 31, 2014 at 4:43 PM
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