This is an online version of my column for the 25 January 2023 edition of the Billericay & Wickford Gazette.
Salvador Dali’s painting ‘The Persistence of Memory’ speaks to me of how time melts away before our eyes! And the older I become, the quicker time flies!
In my first article of 2023, I’m going to use the acronym TIME:
Time is in God’s Hands
Do you remember the song: ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ made popular by The Byrds led by music legend David Crosby who recently? It wasn’t until I became a Christian that I realised the words were taken from Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. However, we don’t have to be a theologian or a scientist or a pop singer to know there are ‘times and seasons’ in creation as well as ‘times and seasons’ in our lives. As those words remind us: “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die.” The Circle of Life that the Disney film ‘The Lion King’ so beautifully portrays, continues – as indeed it must.
Invest in Others
Whenever a new year arrives, we reminisce at what the previous year was like don’t we? We think about the decisions we made and the things we wish we hadn’t done. A New Year is a time to resolve to live life differently. How might this coming year be different for you? Might you resolve to invest in others by offering support and encouragement to those who are struggling with life? Might you consider volunteering to support a community group, such as a Foodbank, to enhance the lives of those around you? Might this be the year when you think about the well-being of others rather than yourself? It’s a challenging thought, isn’t it? But easier to put into practise than you might think.
Make the Right Decision
Making the right decision is not always straight forward. Some of my most disappointing moments in life have turned out to be some of my greatest opportunities and that is the most wonderful part of being a Christian. The problem is, of course, that God’s plan for our lives doesn’t always fit in with our plans and that can be a painful struggle. But if God is ‘in control’ then it follows that He does have a time and a purpose for everything. But this isn’t fatalism, nor does it rob us of our freedom or responsibility. It is the wise providence of a loving Father who promises to make everything work for good (Romans 8:28). Making the right decision matters, because …
Eternity is in our Hearts
One of my all-time favourite films is ‘Gladiator’ starring Russell Crowe. I actually have a Gladiator movie poster on the back of my study door which includes a famous line from Maximus Decimus Meridius: “What we do in life echoes in Eternity.” A Christian premise if ever there was one – it’s also the ‘strap line’ on my website! Ecclesiastes tells us that God has: “Set eternity in the hearts of all people.” Christians believe that at the end of time, God will call us to account for what we have done with our gifts and talents and our knowledge of Jesus. If that is so, then each of us must make the most of the time we have here on earth and make it count. As Crosby once said:
May each of you use your TIME wisely in 2023, not only for yourselves, but for the benefit of those around you in your community. May God’s richest blessing be upon you and your family for all that this New Year will bring your way.
COLUMN: Billericay Reverend’s Christmas Message
COLUMN: Billericay Reverend ‘People’s last words full of love’
COLUMN: Billericay Reverend’s World Cup prayer for England
COLUMN: No reason to be frightened of Halloween says Billericay Reverend
COLUMN: Billericay Reverent pays tribute to the Queen
COLUMN: Billericay Reverend thanks our local farmers
COLUMN: Billericay Reverend reminds us of the importance of rest
Excellent advice, Paul