Yesterday I looked in amazement at the most incredibly tempting display of chocolates I’ve ever seen. I was in The Chocolate Factory – looking at over eighty different varieties of deliciously gorgeous fabrications, all designed to perform the incredible miracle of converting the money in my wallet into chocolate in my tummy!
What an extraordinary conversion experience – changing a well-used piece of paper, with a picture of the Queen’s head on it, into something that deliciously melts in the mouth – the best chocolates I’d ever seen!
A book that was a favourite of yesterday’s generations was The Adventures of a Three Guinea Watch by Talbot Baines Reed – a story which related the adventures of the watch as it passed from owner to owner, describing in the first person everything that happened to it.
There were many variations on this theme in popular literature – especially the adventures of a sixpence, a shilling, or even a five pound note! In those days of my father’s youth, such notes were white, very large and very valuable – probably more nearly equivalent to about £500 of today’s money. I did see one once when I was a child!
Money has that extraordinary capacity to be converted into just about anything we like. When we spend it we get something back and that ‘something’ can be very good or, sadly, very bad. The money has no ability to make its own choices. It is only spent according to the will of its current owner.
Spend money on drugs and the money could kill you. Spend it on some chocolates from The Chocolate Factory and you will experience a short period of intensely enjoyable eating. Spend it on some vital medicine and it could save your life! Spend it on the Word of God and it could be used to show you the way of eternal salvation.
Not everyone, however, has money to spend, even on chocolates. But there is one thing, that is equally distributed among every single human being that everyone can spend. Nobody has more of it than anyone else. And no-one can complain that they’ve got less of it than someone else! What is it? Time!
Time is an extraordinary thing – we all spend exactly the same amount of it every single day of our lives – 24 hours, or 1440 minutes or 86400 seconds. That’s our daily allowance. And we can’t save it up and spend it tomorrow either. If we don’t use it we lose it.
So what we do with our time has to be the single most important consideration for each one of us. For one thing’s certain – the time we have left to live is getting shorter by the day! Every twenty four hours that passes adds another day to the time we have been on the earth, and lessens the amount of time we have left!
In seeking to help people who are struggling with the consequences of what they have done with their lives, one of the commonest expressions I hear is “if only . . .” And what follows is usually a description of something they spent their time doing which has only produced bad fruit in their lives.
Sometimes people regret the years of pleasure seeking at a time when they could have sought the Lord – and, having missed the opportunities to put their lives on a solid foundation when they were young, they didn’t have anything to fall back on, later in life, which would have given them the wisdom to know how to avoid those catastrophic mistakes.
No wonder Hosea wrote “it’s time to seek the Lord”. He knew that if we miss out on the most important search we can ever make, we will never be able to experience the “showers of righteousness” that God longs to bless us with (Hosea 10:12).
I was in the middle of writing this blog post, when I heard the tragic news of David Wilkerson’s sudden passing in a terrible car accident. Everyone knows of David as ‘the Cross and the Switchblade man’ and the founder of the Times Square Church in New York. I will write more on David’s amazingly fruitful life on another occasion, but his sudden passing came to me as a very timely reminder that while my times are in God’s hands, how I choose to spend the time that God has given me is definitely my responsibility.
After hearing the news of David Wilkerson’s passing, I returned to writing this blog with a renewed sense of urgency, knowing the importance of only spending my time on those things that will be a blessing – to God, to others and to myself. The day when time runs out for any one of us is not something we can determine or plan for. It’s always time, therefore, to seek the Lord’s plans and purposes for our lives – yes, every day.
PS. For those who are now curious about the location of The Chocolate Factory, it’s in the village of Orton in Cumbria, UK – a great place to visit, and a good cafe as well. You can find out more at: www.kennedyschocolates.co.uk