The Thief of Time
Today’s message to you is a very serious one, and it is a warning. There is someone coming into our ranks who is uninvited. He has been doing a wicked work, and you need to beware of him.
Who is this “person”? Before revealing his name, I will tell you some of his characteristics so that you can easily identify him. This person is a cheat, somebody who takes advantage of other people. This person that we must beware of is an intruder. He involves himself in other people’s business. He is a thief; he robs people of their property, their lives, their eternity. This person holds back people’s progress. His name is Procrastination.
In 2 Corinthians 2:11 we read, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” That is the main purpose of this message: We need to prevent Satan from taking advantage of us. We do not want to be unaware of his devices. You see, Satan, in his cleverness, often uses Procrastination to do his work.
We are told that Procrastination is the thief of time. I have seen him working. He has robbed many people of their blessings. He has held back the spiritual progress of many. And we do not want you to fall victim to him. Procrastination tells you, “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.” In spiritual matters, this thought comes to many young people. They are young and healthy, and that is their hope of the future. They postpone what they should do today because they think they have tomorrow. That is a dangerous idea indeed. Nobody is sure of tomorrow! The only time you can be certain of is today. But Procrastination will not allow you to make the best use of this day.
Today you have an opportunity to come before God and lay all your problems and spiritual needs before Him. This opportunity is a golden one.
Today you have an opportunity to come before God and lay all your problems and spiritual needs before Him. This opportunity is a golden one. The windows of Heaven are open and the blessings of God will come down copiously. But Procrastination comes your way and begins to discuss the matter with you. “You had better do some other thing,” he tells you. “There is plenty of time tomorrow to take care of the needs of your soul.” Don’t allow him to have his way in your life. Opportunity knocks at the door of every person, but the outcome depends on how you respond.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” That means when you have a chance to get hold of God, accept it and move forward with your whole heart, because one day your opportunity will be over.
Yes, it may please God to allow you to enjoy long years in this life. But that is the exclusive choice of God. And what if you did have a long life? That is no reason why you should postpone until tomorrow what you should do today. You don’t know what will be in your tomorrows. But you have today, so respond to God with all your power, with all your will.
Perhaps you have heard about the way of salvation and still have not taken that step. What are you thinking? Do you plan to get saved next year? Who told you that you will live to see next year? You think you will seek God next Sunday? Who told you that you will be alive next Sunday? You must make the best of your opportunity today.
Think about Felix, the governor of Judaea. He had the opportunity of hearing the Gospel through the ministry of Paul the Apostle. When Felix heard what Paul had to say, he trembled. But instead of taking a step further and acknowledging his sins, he said, “At a convenient time I will call upon you and hear the whole matter.” But he never had a convenient time. Do you want to be like Felix?
When Paul went to Athens, he saw that the city was very religious. They had raised an altar for every god and goddess that they were worshiping, and there were altars all over the place. In an attempt to not annoy a god they did not know, they had even lifted up an altar to the “Unknown God.” Paul told the Athenians that the God they did not know was the God he was preaching to them. He taught repentance. He taught salvation. He taught them that they would face the judgment of God. But when the Athenians heard this, they mocked. They said, “Go! We shall call thee again.” But they never had the opportunity.
There are also some people who do make use of their opportunity. Samson disobeyed God, broke his vow, and lost the power of God. He was in great affliction, but in that sad condition he turned back to God, and began to feel the presence of God once more. Samson was waiting for his opportunity, and one day it came. His persecutors brought him before the people to torment and mock him. But Samson started to pray. “O God! This is my chance. I want to make the best of it.” At his request, they took him to the posts of the house where the great crowd had gathered. As he leaned against the posts, he looked toward Heaven, and God restored his mighty power. Samson shook the pillars of the house, and there was a great collapse. The Bible tells us that he killed more of Israel’s enemies in his death than he had in his lifetime. Why? Because he made use of the opportunity that came his way.
Bartimaeus was blind and a beggar. He was by the roadside asking alms. One day, opportunity knocked at his door. Jesus was passing by. When he heard this, he did not say, “I know He is passing by, but I will wait and let Him come to me.” No. Immediately he started to cry out, “Jesus! Thou son of David, have mercy on me!” And he began moving toward Jesus. Of course there were obstacles. No doubt that agent, Procrastination, was there. Perhaps he whispered, “Why should Jesus pay attention to you? Wait till some time when there is not such a crowd. It will be easier to talk to Him then.” But Bartimaeus would not listen, and something wonderful happened that day. He received his sight and went home rejoicing. Why? Because he made use of the opportunity that came his way.
Do you remember the account of the two malefactors who were crucified on either side of Jesus? Their lives were almost over. No time left for prayer, no time for restitution, no time for consecration. These men were just moments from eternity. But they still had an opportunity. One of the men railed on Jesus, crying, “If You are the Son of God, why don’t You come down? Deliver Yourself and us!” The other chided him, “We are justly receiving what we deserve. But why are you saying such things to this just man?” The thief did not have time to say much. Jesus was soon to die. So he just looked at Jesus and said, “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Immediately Jesus told him, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” That thief didn’t pass up his moment of opportunity.
You know, here in this life we make appointments to attend to one thing or another. But God does not make appointments like that. He says, “Today is the day.” God’s appointment isn’t next Sunday. It isn’t next month. It isn’t tomorrow. He says, “today.” At this time, this hour, He will bless us.
Do you need something in your life from God? Don’t procrastinate, but make use of your opportunity today.