The Time is Short!
James Smith, 1860
"But this I say, brethren — the time is short!" 1 Corinthians 7:29
Our time on earth is short — and it is daily growing shorter! Life quickly glides away — and death and eternity quickly approaches. In a little while — we shall close our eyes on all the scenes of earth, and be done with all the concerns of time. Few things fly swifter than time, or teach us more solemn lessons. Yet we slight them, and forget them, or fail to improve them. O for grace to derive comfort, reproof, and stimulus from the brevity of time.
"The time is short!" Then our troubles must be short, for they are all limited to time. They are the offspring of sin, and will not out-live their parent! Every trouble, leaves one the less to be endured. Soon the last trouble will arrive! Let us therefore bear them with patience, endure them with fortitude, and rejoice in the prospect of bidding them an eternal farewell. Our sharpest, severest trials — will soon be ended! And then, all that will remain, will be eternal peace and joy.
"The time is short!" Then the pleasures of time will soon terminate! As sweet as they are, they are fleeting. Prize them as we may — we must soon part with them. Not one of them go with us beyond the dying bed. Let us not, then, value them too highly, or set our hearts too much upon them. Earthly comforts, worldly distinctions and honors — will soon have passed away. The rich and the poor will soon meet together in the graveyard. The peasant and the prince, the beggar and monarch — will alike slumber in the dust. Let us then, if tempted to think too much of the worldly distinctions, or value too highly the comforts of life — remember that time is short!
"The time is short!" Then our opportunities to be useful must be few and brief. A short day, at least, is all that is allotted to us, to do good below. Therefore we are admonished to work, while it is called today, for the night comes when no man can work.
If I write for God — I must do it now.
If I speak for Christ — I must speak now.
If I try to save souls from eternal death — I must do it now.
If I would comfort the sad and sorrowful — I must do it now.
Whatever your hand finds to do — do it with all your might; for there is neither work, nor device, nor wisdom in the grave to which we are fast hastening!
"The time is short!" Then Jesus will soon be here. He is coming, and his people are crying, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!" He is coming, and his Word assures us, "He who shall come — will come, and will not tarry." How will many things appear, which now occupy our time, engross our attention, and steal away our hearts — when Jesus comes? On this astonishing event, we should fix our eye. On this glorious manifestation of Christ, we should set our hearts. For this majestic appearing of the Son of God, we should prepare and watch. A few short days, or months, or at the most years — and Jesus will be here. He will come, and gather his saints to him, make all his people like himself, and so they shall be ever with him.
Lost sinner, "the time is short!" Are you saved? Are you ready for the coming of Jesus, or the day of death? What will the end of time bring you? Where will it land you? How will it find you? Will it find you a new creature in Christ Jesus? Will it find you pardoned, justified, and sanctified? Will it find you prepared — ready — waiting, for Heaven and glory? Or will it find you dead in sins, without Christ, unsanctified and unsaved? Look into the matter now, attend to your soul and its salvation at once, for it is of the greatest importance. O flee from the wrath to come! O seek, seek the Lord, that you may be hid in the day of his fierce anger, and stand accepted before Christ at his coming.
Backslider, "the time is short!" Repent and do your first works. Go and return to your God, from whom you have so deeply revolted. Seek afresh the application of the atoning blood, and the cleansing operations of the Holy Spirit. Beware, O beware, lest coming suddenly, your Lord finds you sleeping! Beware, lest you be found naked, and so be ashamed before him at his coming! Rather, seek to be found without spot, unrebukable, and blameless in the day of Jesus Christ. Your conduct has been base, your sin is grievous — but there is merit in the blood of Jesus, there is mercy in the heart of Jesus, and there is a full warrant in the Word of Jesus for you to return, and be fully blessed.
Discouraged Christian, "the time is short!" Go on with your work. Do not look too much at the clouds, nor pay much attention to the winds — but plow in hope, sow in hope, and watch in hope for a harvest. You are not able to command success — but you can be faithful; and your master has promised to reward your faithfulness at his coming. Yield not to fear, listen not to unbelief, give not way to Satan, for "the time is short," and your work, however feeble, however imperfect, however unproductive it may now appear — shall be fully rewarded.
Believer, "the time is short," lift up your head with joy. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for tribulation will soon cease, sorrow will soon flee away, and the days of your mourning shall be ended.
Time is the limit of your trials, temptations, and troubles.
Time is the limit of your conflicts, doubts, and fears.
Time is the limit of your pains, privations, and griefs.
Beyond time — all is peace and pleasure, purity and perfection, happiness and rest! Lift up then your head with joy, for your redemption, your eternal redemption draws near!