Jump Start # 2917
2 Corinthians 6:2 “For He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold, now is the day of salvation.”
There are several repeated words in our verse today. The apostle borrows and quotes from Isaiah. He was putting a time reference to these words. A long, long time ago Isaiah said this. Here it is. This is it. Very much like Peter doing that with a prophecy of Joel as he preached in Acts 2. Twice Paul says, “Now.”
Now is a tough one. We like to put things on a shelf and get to them when we are ready. Later, is better than now, we think. Later, I’ll have more time. Later, I can really look into it. Now, I have other things to do. Now, I don’t have time.
When the jailer from Philippi was converted to Christ, the text tells us that it was “the same hour of the night.” The preacher Ananias told Saul, “Why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins.”
Recently, I was talking to a dear soul about being baptized. This person wanted to do it. However, they wanted to wait a week and be baptized on their birthday. I told this person that could be done. But I said, “If baptism puts you into Jesus, where are you between now and your birthday?” The answer blurted out, “I’m not in Jesus.” Then I said, “Do you believe that baptism washes away your sins?” “Yes,” was the answer. “Between now and your birthday, where are you sins?” “I still have them,” the person said shockingly. “I need to be baptized right now.” I smiled. We did it. It was wonderful.
Now—that’s what Paul said. Now is the time. Now is the day. Now. Remember ole’ Pharaoh in the midst of the ten plagues? God sent frogs. There were frogs everywhere. I expect when Egyptians got out of bed, they stepped on frogs. Open a cabinet door, and frogs leaped out. Frogs on the table. Frogs on the chairs. Children would be screaming because frogs were everywhere. Finally, Pharaoh caved in. No more frogs. Tell your God, is what he wanted Moses to do. But, he said, “Tomorrow.” They had to spend the night with those slimy, creepy frogs. Frogs in the bed. Frogs making so much noise that no one could sleep. Pharaoh wanted changes, but not now. We’ll take them tomorrow. Another night with frogs.
Now—now is the time. Now is the day. Now.
First, now is all we really ever have. Sure there is a past, but we can hit the rewind button and go back there. We can’t go back to last week and do things over. And, we can’t leap ahead to next week. Sure we plan things for the future. We anticipate a tomorrow. But now is all that we have. The President only has a now. The college student, it’s now. You and I, all we have is now.
Second, some things must be done now. That brings the sense of urgency and importance to the table. A child walks in with blood dripping rapidly down his arm, you don’t say, “Wait until the commercial and I’ll take a look at it.” No. You hop up Now. You have some friends over, and someone spills a drink, let’s make it Big Red, on your carpet. You don’t say, “I’ll take care of that tomorrow.” Nope. You hop up, you grab some paper towels and you try to save your carpet. Those are obvious.
What about when your teen says, “I want to talk to you about something?” Is that a now moment? If you are not careful, you can push that into the category of “later,” and later he doesn’t feel like talking. You missed your moment. Paul said as we have “opportunity” let us do good to all. The time to send the get well card is when the person is sick, not when they’ve recovered and are back to services. There is a now moment.
Some problems, troubles and issues must be dealt with now. Those brave fire fighters out West who are trying to stop massive wild fires that are burning literally miles and miles of forest would sure loved to have been on the spot when the fire was just so small that it could have been stomped out with their feet. By the time they knew of the fire, it was massive, destructive and dangerous. So are some problems. And, sometimes those problems become massive, destructive and dangerous because no one felt like dealing with them at the moment. The “now” was pushed into “later,” and that later became so ugly that the church split, some left, some were ruined.
Third, now is the best time to do what is right. You can pray to God, Now. You may not be able to get in to see your doctor now. You may not be able to get a table at a restaurant now. However, now, right now, you can talk to the God of Heaven and earth. Now, you can decide to do better. Now, you can praise the Lord. Now, you can thank God. Now, you can encourage someone. Now is the moment. Now is now. So many wonderful things can be done now. The local cemetery is full of people who had ideas, plans and dreams for tomorrow. They ran out of “now.” But this is what we have. Now, you can smile. Now, you can hug. Now, you can do something that will make a difference.
Two times Paul said “now.” Sure is something for us to think about…NOW