Today and Tomorrow
Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “ Today if you hear His voice, (Hebrews 3:7)
Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring. (Proverbs 27:1)
Today is the wise man’s day; tomorrow is the fool’s day. The wise man sees what ought to be done and does it today. The foolish man says, “I will do it tomorrow.” Those who always do the thing that should be done today are successful for time and eternity. Those who put off until tomorrowwhat should be done today will fail for time and eternity. “The Holy Spirit says, ‘Today.’” Man in his folly, says, “Tomorrow.”
I have no doubt that thousands of men and women intend to be Christians at some time, but they keep saying, “Not yet, not today.” I am going to tell you not merely why you should become a Christian, but why you should become a Christian today.
The sooner you come to Christ, the sooner you will find the wonderful joy that is found in Him. In Jesus, there is an immeasurably better joy than there is in the world, a purer joy, a holier joy, a more satisfying joy.
The fact is not open to dispute. Everyone knows that it is true. Go to any person who followed the ways of the world and then tried Christ, and ask him, “Which joy is better- the joy that the world gave or the joy you have found in Christ.” You will get the same answer every time. The joy found in the world cannot for a moment compare to the joy that is found in Christ. If ever a person had an opportunity to try what this world can give, I had it and I tried it. I tried all that could be found in the world; then I turned to Christ and tried Him. My testimony is the testimony of millions of others who have found that the joy of the world is not real joy. The joy of Christ is everything.
Anyone who has really found Christ wii tell you there is a joy in Christ that is higher, deeper, broader, wider, and more wonderful in every way than the joy the world gives. The sooner you come to Christ, the sooner you will have that joy.
Whether it is coming to Christ in salvation or whether it is engaging in the work of Christ, the hindrance most often used by the devil is procrastination. He is aware that we have limited days in which to follow and serve God so he urges us to put off coming to Christ. He will persuade young people to “live life” and wait till they have done certain things before they commit their heart to Christ. He knows that in their procrastination, he will be able to persuade them to engage in destructive behavior that will end in some form of tragedy. He will persuade them to blame God for their situation and convince them that God doesn’t love them so he may keep them trapped in sin. He will persuade parents to wait till the kids are old enough to take to church for he knows that when they get old enough they may have no desire to do so. He persuades people to wait till they get past things, knowing that as soon as one thing is resolved another will spring up.
We find even in the church today that many of the people of God place things as a priority above their walk with God without realizing that this strategy of the devil is working to make them vulnerable to his devices and tricks.
Oh, how powerful is this tool of procrastination of the devil. His first goal is to persuade us to put off being saved. How many times have I sat with someone at the end of their lives and heard their expressed regret that they put off being saved. When I worked as a hospice chaplain, I would often tell people that hospice was a gift for it made people aware of the brevity of life and yet provided an opportunity for the grace of God in His mercy to offer salvation to the sinner. I’m thankful for each of those who gave their hearts to Christ in those last days and moments. Not everyone gets such an opportunity for many pass into eternity without warning, lost in their sins. Those who came to know Christ in their last days almost to a person expressed regret that they had waited and wasted their lives. I remember on man who had lived a deep sinful life. His first question was why would God have someone like Him that had lived such a life and was now dying and would have no time to make restitution to do anything good. As I showed him scripture about how God loved the thief on the cross, he began to weep and that day invited Christ as His Savior. As I visited the home again, his sister stopped me at the door and said, “All these years I have went to church. I’ve tried to live right but I have never had the joy I see in my brother who was saved the other day. I realize that I have never received Christ and His joy.” We prayed together and when we finished her face literally glowed with the joy of Christ. It was obvious that the brother had procrastinated and continued to live an open sinful life, but sadly though the sister had the outward appearance of being religious, she too had put off surrender to Christ. But, oh the joy that filled that house that day and all the days as that sister and brother shared their joy together. As the funeral the sister said to me, “I certainly made miss my brother, but I can’t grieve for the joy of knowing he is with Jesus and I will join him in eternity.”
This is the joy that comes with receiving Christ and how foolish it is to put off receiving such joy. There are many religious people in this world who haven’t received Christ. They may participate in ritual and religious practices. They may live moral lives and be upstanding citizens but they haven’t found the joy that comes when Christ and the Holy Spirit dwells in their hearts. This is a good spiritual check. Is there something inside you that rejoices at the mention of the name of Jesus. Are you excited about gathering with other believers to worship? The Bible says, “The joy of the Lord is our strength.”
Now if the devil can’t convince us to procrastinate in being saved, he then tempts us to procrastinate in doing the work of God. Suppose someone decided they would put off eating again and again. Don’t you think that at some point they would begin to starve? Suppose someone would put off going to work. Don’t you think that at some point they would be broke? Suppose someone put off a necessary medical intervention. Don’t you think that at some point they would become sick and die?
The Psalms and Proverbs tell us over and over about the brevity of life. Words such as vapor and illustrations such as the grass that grows withers are given to remind us that life is brief and that before we notice it is past and gone. Every hospital, nursing home; every funeral home and cemetery reminds us that life is short and unpredictable. The Bible says that every person has an appointment with death. Jesus said that we ought to work while it is day for the night comes and nobody will be able to work.
We have lots of meetings in which we discuss the state of the world and how much society needs Christ. We sit around tables and talk about the decline in the church. We remember the “old days” when worship services were well attended and we are sad to see so many empty seats on a Sunday morning. We leave those meetings and go home and say someday we will do something. We fall into the trap of procrastination and say tomorrow we will begin working toward growing the church and reaching the community.
What I’ve learned over the years is that tomorrow never comes and another day of my limited days has past and wasted. This is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today.”
O beloved let us shake of our lethargy; let us sense the urgency of the time; let us first of all turn to Christ in full surrender today and let us engage in sharing the gospel toady to those who know not Christ realizing that they and we are living on borrowed time.
“The harvest is past, the summer has ended and the gathering of fruit is over, But we are not saved,” [comes the voice of the people again]. (Jeremiah 8:20)
Do you not say, ‘It is still four months until the harvest comes?’ Look, I say to you, raise your eyes and look at the fields and see, they are white for harvest. Already the reaper is receiving his wages and he is gathering fruit for eternal life; so that he who plants and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, ‘One [person] sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap [a crop] for which you have not worked. Others have worked and you have been privileged to reap the results of their work.” (John 4:35-38)
Every day we get older. Every day we draw nearer to the end of our lives. Every day somebody steps into eternity, some into heaven, others into hell. Every day someone needs to hear the gospel. Every day someone needs to receive Christ. Who will tell them if not us? When will we be saved or when will be become a worker for God if not now? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Next year? Or never for time has ran out?
Will we take our gifts, our talents, our faith to our grave without it ever being used for the kingdom of God? Will we stand before Christ on that day with empty hands and empty lives? Will we have no jewels in our crown to lay down at his feet? On judgement day will we see those banished from the presence of God that we had an opportunity to witness Christ to? On that day will we be able to say, “God, I have done my best. I gave You my life to work through. You and Your kingdom was my first priority. I did not wait, I worked while it was day. And now here I am as your servant.” Will you hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in a few things?” Or like the servant who hid his talent, will you hear, “Depart from me, I know you not?”
Dr. John Thompson