By Dan King
My birthday is next week. Another year of life is now almost finished. I cannot refrain from reflecting a bit upon the passing of time, for it is at these milestones that we all tend to do so, even though the time meandered on like a lazy river the whole year and I never really seemed to notice. At the mile markers we pause, however, just long enough to reflect a while upon how quickly the days of our lives are speeding by, and if our hope is set upon eternity, to examine the life we have lived to see whether we are properly preparing ourselves for the “long home” of the soul.
No matter whether I like the results of my life as lived out in this last year or not, that chapter is now closed. Whatever triumphs or defeats, smiles or tears, they are now a part of past history. It is the same for us all. Someday, if God is willing, we shall be able to say the same for this new year that we are now (by the time you read this) experiencing. So are the days and years of our lives. We are either going somewhere and getting somewhere, or else we are headed nowhere and accomplishing nothing.
With that thought in mind, let me share with you a little story I heard a few years ago. It seems there was an old wise man who lived high on a mountain in a remote area. He had great wisdom and deep insight into life’s mysteries. It was said that he knew the answer to any question or problem. Two boys decided to trick the old man by giving him an impossible task. They caught a bird, brought it to the old man and asked, “What is in my hand, old man?” The sage answered, “You hold a bird in your hands.” “Is the bird alive or dead?” If the old man answered “Alive,” the boy would squeeze the bird to death; if the old man answered “Dead,” he would turn the bird loose and it would fly away. To the chagrin of the mischievous boys, he replied: “It is as you will.”
In a sense, the wise man’s reply is an appropriate commentary on the new year that stretches before me, and ultimately, every one of us. “It is as you will.” Of course, our hopes and dreams, our plans and schemes, are all ultimately subject to the Sovereign Will of Heaven, but God grants to us great latitude as free moral agents. Our time is our own in the sense that we may utilize it wisely and profitably or we may squander it recklessly.
In one of his plays, William Shakespeare has his character to lament: “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” Time is among those precious talents placed in our hands for profitable use. When the Judge comes back to make his accounting, will we have made the best use of what we have been given? Truly, “It is as you will.”
As the people of God, serving him in his eternal kingdom, “Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9).
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 9, p. 267
May 7, 1992