Jump Start # 2657
Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.”
This week, we are looking at “Articles from the West.” These are some thoughts that I pulled from a recent trip to Montana and Wyoming. Beautiful country. Big sky. Big mountains. Big lakes. No photograph, no painting can match what your eye sees. Sometimes folks in the city just need to get out and enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of God’s creation that is often covered up by buildings, pavement and billboards.
The time we spent out West was fantastic. The weather was wonderful. But all around was signs that this wouldn’t last. Snow was on the mountain tops. Several park roads had gates that could be closed. There were many places to pull off to the side of the road and put chains on your tires. Signs even said that. The blue skies and warm days would soon turn into a winter nightmare. In one restaurant, I asked our server how much snow the area got. She said she didn’t know. She always left town before the winter. There are places in Yellowstone that receives more than 400 inches of snow every year. That fact would make me leave town, too.
And, all of this leads us to a thought about Jesus. For those early disciples, who got to hear His voice, see Him heal people and calm storms, they were not watching Jesus in His prime. Jesus never had a prime. We understand that expression with athletes and singers. They start out green, lacking experience and even confidence. Then they hit their prime. They are at their best. Baseballs fly out of the park. Every note is hit and held for a long period of time. But then, time, age and the weariness of life comes. The ole’ pitcher just doesn’t have the speed like he once did. The singer has to adjust the songs because no longer can those high notes be sung. They are past their prime. And, you don’t have to be on stage or a world class athlete to understand that. Look in the mirror. There are lines in your face where they never have been before. Gray spots are in your hair. And, for this preacher, that common prayer, “ready recollection,” sometimes the recollector doesn’t recollect so well.
We live with those three elements. Young and inexperienced. Applying for a job, and you don’t land it because you lack experience. And you wonder, how am I to get experience if no one hires me? Then there is the time of our prime. Hitting on all cylinders. At our best. Ideas flowing. Able to work long and hard. Productive. Strong. Then, there comes the time when the best days are behind us. No longer at our peak. It takes longer to get things done. We get tired a lot quicker. We are becoming forgetful. Names are hard to remember. We realize that we are not what we once were.
Solomon describes this in Ecclesiastes. Paul describes this in 2 Corinthians. The outer man decays, he says, and the inner man is renewed, day by day. The inside and the outside are going different directions. Such is life. This is the way we are made. Young. Prime. Aged. Like it or hate it, that’s the path we all travel. All, that is except Jesus.
Jesus never was inexperienced. He didn’t have to learn from mistakes as you and I do. He was without sin. He never had to apologize. He never told a lie. He never had to go and make things right with others. We learn from our mistakes. We learn to hold our tongue, because last time we got in trouble for speaking things that we shouldn’t have. Jesus never experienced that.
Jesus never got better and then got worse. We do. This is why you find senior tees at the golf course. We older guys can’t hit the ball like we once did. I’ve seen athletes and singers who were on the downward slide. People would talk about what they used to do. But now, they are not that way. You don’t find Jesus like that. Look beyond His humanity and His time on earth. We are two millenniums past the Gospel period. Yet, Jesus is all that He was then. He is all powerful. He is all knowing. Jesus is the same for us as He was for Peter and John. The best days are every day for the Lord. He never changes. You haven’t missed anything.
Now from this there are some things we learn:
First, Jesus understands where we are. Some of us are inexperienced and we make mistakes. We have to get our attitude and passion under control. We have to temper our words. Even though the Lord was never like this, He understands. He will be with you. His words will help you.
Second, Jesus understands the wonderful feeling of being busy and doing our best. Prime time is what we call it. Full of energy, ideas, goals and dreams. Jesus sees that. Great time to be alive. Great time to serve the Lord. So many opportunities. So many advantages.
Third, Jesus understands when we can’t do what we once did. The mind, the voice, the body, simply won’t let us. We’d love to teach, but we just can’t commit because of health reasons. We’d love to lead singing, but we no longer have any volume in our voice. We’d like to preach but our mind has a hard time staying focused and remembering what to say. The Lord understands. The Lord also knows that there are other things that we can do. If we can’t teach, we can encourage those who do. If we can’t lead singing, we can give tips to those who can. If we can’t preach, we can be the preacher’s best fan.
Finally, someday, we will be at a place where we will never change. That’s hard for us to understand. Life is about changing. It always changes. Seasons come and seasons go. Puppies become old dogs. Things wear out and fall apart. There is a time to be born and a time to die, Solomon said. That’s here. That’s now. But a time is coming, over on the other side, when we won’t age any more. No more birthdays. No more wrinkles. No more getting older and wearing out. No more becoming tired. No death. No tears. No mourning. The eternal state will find us at our best, not physically, because it’s not a physical place. But spiritually.
One of the things that is hard to put a finger on is trying to understand how an infant who died and an old man who died will be in eternity. The infant knew so little. The old man forgot so much. Will they be equal in knowledge, understanding and love? You think about all those babies that Pharaoh and Herod killed. Or, you think about all those babies that have been aborted. What will they be like in eternity? Some never knew their own name. Some, were never given a name. But on the other side, will they remain as they died or will they be in their prime?
I have always believed that the best is yet to come. The best is on the other side, the eternal side—Heaven. I think we will feel our best. I think we will know our best. I think we will be our best. Only Prime Time in Heaven, is how I like to think about it.
How about you? Have you given this much thought? You’re going to be there for a long, long time.