As is true in most communities across the nation, our town was built around crossroads connecting north and south with east and west. Certainly the landscape has changed from its early founding, as historic pictures reveal. Days of dirt roads, horse-drawn wagons and simple stores where folks came for goods to supplement their agricultural lifestyle are gone. In their place is a bustling community of pavement, cars, lights and businesses. Time restructured this place with the ticking of the clock.
The light at the intersection was turning red as I approached. I stopped my car and used my idle time to review the familiar surroundings. The landscape had changed considerably in the few decades since I had moved in and, one of the changes had been the addition of a clock tower. Sitting there, I glanced up to check the time and was caught off guard. I looked again. Within the stately brick tower, the clock face stood with its black roman numerals, but void of the critical components … the hands were gone! Those slender arrows that conveyed the minute and hour had vanished; presumably removed for repairs.
I hadn’t realized how often I actually looked to that clock until the moment I discovered it had stopped. It made me pause. Time certainly is a precious element of our lives and what we do with it matters.
In the first Chapter of Acts, Luke records Jesus’ ascension into heaven. He accomplished what He had come to do and was returning to His royal position. The disciples met together and asked a parting question of Him. “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.’
‘But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’
‘Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (NKJV)
Parting words are significant and the parting words of Jesus make it clear that we are here for a time and purpose ~ and alone in neither. Believers have been promised that we can live out our days empowered by the Holy Spirit for God’s glory and our good.
Time is such a small window in the face of eternity and it’s easy to lose sight of its gradual closing. Will we treat it carelessly and be startled when it stops? Will we use it selfishly and regret its passing? That’s our bent, but it doesn’t have to be. If we look to Jesus, we can gain perspective with our time and assurance of our eternity.
Now is the time to nurture that relationship. Now is the time to seek Him, to share His love and the Good News of forgiveness with others. The invitation and Great Commission is given in the context of time. There are only two options: embrace it or postpone it. Why risk the second? We may have good intentions for tomorrow, but what if it doesn’t come?
What if tomorrow is the day Jesus steps back into this world and the hands of time are permanently removed? Opportunity stops. Good intentions end. Accountability comes.
The clock tower was a reminder of the inevitable. Today the Savior waits a moment longer before His appointed return. The clock is ticking, but soon the hands will be gone.