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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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Time Matters

On a drive in the country, a city slicker noticed a farmer lifting one of his pigs up to an apple tree and holding the pig there as it ate one apple after another. The farmer repeated this with a second and then a third pig. "Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about," said the citified fellow, "but wouldn't it save a lot of time if you just shook the tree so the apples fell to the ground?" The farmer responded, "Time?

What does time matter to a pig?" Time may not matter to a pig, but time matters for you and me. Since 1904, Jennie Wilson's fabulous gospel song "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand" has been teaching people, "Time is filled with swift transition — Naught of earth unmoved can stand – Build your hopes on things eternal, Hold to God's unchanging hand" (first verse). Age-old words from the timeless Bible remind us time matters: "The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.... 5o teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:10, 12). Time mattered to Jesus who said, "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work" (John 9:4). The night Jesus spoke of can be death or the judgement. Jesus lived with a daily conviction that time matters. The night before He died, He said to His Father, "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.... it is finished" (John 17:4; 19:30). Jesus accomplished the will of God for His life on earth because He was aware that time matters.

Some people are apparently under the impression they have all the time in the world, but none of us do. Time matters because every moment carries each of us closer to an inevitable collision with death, God, judgment and then eternity (Hebrews 9:27). And though time seems to drag when you are three but wanting to be 5, or five wanting to be 10, or twelve wanting to be 16, a soft, silent, imperceptible moment arrives when you realize you aren't killing time anymore but that time is now killing you. In the words of the Bible's metaphor in James 4:13, "What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." George Loukides creatively reminds us why time matters in a poem entitled,

"The Ages of Man"— Baby bottle, rocking crib; Walking, talking, tidy bib. Pencil, paper, grammar school; Reading, writing, Golden Rule. Growing, learning, in a daze; Rockin', rollin', high-fl craze. College buddies, actions rude; Liquor, army, language crude. Working, saving, bride and groom; Children, cottage, money boom. Christmas, Easter, mountain lakes; Meetings, hobbies, leaves and rakes. Prestige, Wall Street, pain in head; Doctors, ulcers, rest in bed. False teeth, fatty, lots of dough; Fifty, sixty, had to go. Time matters because each of us is on a journey toward eternity. Sooner or later, ready or not, all the ages and stages of life will be over and we will have to go! The year 2009 is upon us. Make its days and weeks matter. Love God, study the Bible, pray, serve others, seek the kingdom first, attend worship faithfully. May 2009 bring you closer to God and nearer to Heaven.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ