Preparing the ground and planting summer grazing, spraying pastures, vaccinating and worming calves for weaning, building catch pens, developing marketing plans for our cattle, soliciting Corporate Sponsors for our ministry farming needs, preaching, sharing the Gospel, coordinating mission work around the world, raising missions dollars, ministering to the needs of people locally, raising a family, and the list goes on and on! These are indeed busy times in our lives here at Cattle for Christ, and I am sure it is for you as well.
If we do not guard against it, we can easily get so busy or distracted by doing good things, that we allow our priorities to get out of order and neglect what is most important. We assume that we will always have tomorrow and that there will always be other opportunities. Whether it be getting our lives right with the Lord, studying His Word, healing broken relationships with others, showing love and affection to our families, encouraging or befriending others, dealing with our own sin, reaching the world with the Gospel and love of Christ, or whatever it may be that is undone, we take for granted that there will always be tomorrow to make things right.
The reality is that our lives on this earth are short and our opportunities to invest our lives in things of eternal significance; things that really impact the Kingdom of God and the lives of others, are indeed limited. No matter if we have another 30 minutes or 30 years, in just a flash, the time will have passed us by and our lives and opportunities to live out God’s purposes for our lives will be forever past—then we will face eternity.
For many years now, especially since I read the book Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, I have tried to make sure that I do not live a wasted life. In some areas I have done better than others, but I am grateful that the Lord used this teaching to give direction for my life.
I sincerely believe that if at the end of our lives, we look back and all we have done is to have been a successful business person, lived a good life, been a good citizen, been good to our family, worked to develop a successful farm, produced the most renowned cattle herd, or even worked to keep a ministry alive or the church doors open---but yet have not lived our lives to serve Christ, to do the Lord’s will the Lord’s way—our lives will have been wasted. If what we do with whatever time we have left does not outlive us and have eternal significance by accomplishing God’s purposes for our lives and the lives of others, our remaining time will be lived in vain no matter what we accomplish.
During the last year I have lost a brother-in-law that I loved very much and lost many dear friends. Just in the last month I have seen good friends lose a two year old child and grandchild in a tragic accident, seen others die, and seen other loved ones face life threatening diseases. It is during these times, the Lord reminds me that our time is short and our opportunities to invest our lives in the things that are ‘most important’ and have eternal significance are coming to an end!
In life, we often have opportunities to “do over” and make right what did not turn out the way we wanted, opportunities to correct our mistakes. God is always willing to take us back and forgive our sin when we come to Him in repentance and faith through the shed blood of His Son Jesus.
However, there are some opportunities that once they have passed, are forever gone. I think of strangers and friends that the Holy Spirit told me to talk to, to visit and pray with, to share the Gospel with, and I did not do it. I think of times He has shown me financial needs of others and told me to meet them but I did not. I think about all of the times I wish I could have a “do over” with my wife and children and correct all the mistakes I made with them. I wish I could take back all the words that I have spoken that hurt them, or relive the times I had with them that I do not remember because I was distracted by other worries. These things can be forgiven, but cannot be undone.
Our lives are indeed short and our opportunities to invest in eternity are coming to an end. “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work”. (John 9:4).
Let’s not waste the rest of our lives! Whatever time we have left, let us live it for Christ by loving Him and serving and reaching others for His sake. In the end, nothing else will matter. If He died for us, surely we can live for Him! “And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2Cor5:15)
This poem says it all:
“Two little lines I heard one day,Traveling along life's busy way; Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart; Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done; Then, in 'that day' my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat; Only one life,'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God's holy will to cleave; Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears; Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will; Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score; When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say; Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep; Faithful and true what e'er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life; Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn; Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne; Only one life, "twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,"Thy will be done"; And when at last I'll hear the call, I know I'll say "twas worth it all"; Only one life,'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last”.