— J R Miller, 1899 —
The Lord Jesus Christ said: “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you” (Jn 12: 35b). Sometimes darkness is very welcome. It is welcome to the weary man who can scarcely wait until the sun sets to cease his toil. To him darkness means rest. It folds him in its curtains, away from the noise and strife, and restores his exhausted strength. Darkness is welcome in many a home, for it is the signal for the home gathering of loved ones and the joys of the evening fireside. All day the hearthstone has drawn upon the hearts of the scattered household, and the coming of the night—is the signal for the home gathering.
But it is not a friendly darkness to which our Lord refers. The figure his words suggest is that of a wild beast coming upon the traveller, pursuing him, overtaking him, pouncing upon him, devouring him! Thus it was that Jesus urged His disciples to walk in the light while they had it, to be quick to use the few moments of the day that remained, before the devouring darkness should swoop down upon them!
The lesson is for us. Most of us live as if we had a thousand years to stay here in this world! We loiter in the golden hours of our little days—as if the days were never to end! We do not see how swiftly the sun is whirling toward his setting, while our work is but half done, our task perhaps scarcely begun.
We fritter away days, weeks, months—not noticing how our one little opportunity of living in this world is being worn off, as the sea eats away a crumbling bank until its last shred is gone! We set slight value on time, forgetting that we have only a hand-breadth of it—and then comes eternity!
What did you do yesterday that will brighten and glorify that day forever? What record of blessing in other lives did you give it, to carry to God’s judgment? What burden did you lift off another heart? What tear did you wipe away? On what soul did you leave a mark of beauty? Where is your yesterday?
Many of us fail to appreciate the value of ‘single days’. ‘A day is too short a space,’ we say, ‘that it cannot make much difference if one, just one, is wasted—or idled away in pleasure!’ Yet the days are links in a chain, and if one link is broken—the chain is broken. In God’s plan for our life—each little day has its own load of duty, its own record to make. We never know the sacredness of any particular day—what it may have for us amid its treasures.
Its sunshine may be no brighter than that of other days, there may be no peculiar feature in it to mark it as ‘special’ among a thousand common days, and yet it may be to us a day of destiny. If we fail to receive it as God’s gift—we may miss and lose that without which we shall be poorer all our life and in eternity.
How often do we see afterward, that the days which are gone, were bearers of heavenly gifts to us—which we had not the wit to recognise, nor the grace to take? When they have passed beyond recall—then we see what we missed in wasting them. How these lost days shame us—as they turn their reproachful eyes upon us out of the irrevocable past!
“Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” There are many illustrations of this coming of darkness, this ending of opportunity. The lesson touches everyone’s life. There is the darkness that comes—as season after season of privilege closes.
Here the teaching is especially for the young: Some things God gives often; some only once. The seasons return again and again, and the flowers change with the months—but youth comes twice to none! Youth is the time for preparation. The success of the after life depends upon the diligence of the first years. A wasted youth—is followed by the darkness of misfortune and failure.
Youth is the time to gather knowledge. It is the time, too, to form good habits. It is the time to make good friendships. It is the time to follow Christ. It is the time to train the faculties, for the best work in life. It is the time to prepare for life’s business. When youth closes, with its opportunities, leaving one unready for the days of stress, struggle, duty, and responsibility that must come—perilous indeed is the darkness that wraps the life and drags it down!
Many young people are wasteful of time. They fail to realise its value. They appear to have it in such abundance, that they never dream it can end. They do not know that a day lost in golden youth may mean misfortune or failure for them sometime in the future. They do not know that missed lessons, squandered hours, minutes spent in idleness, may cost them the true success of their life, bringing failure or disaster, and may even blight their destiny. Young people should walk earnestly while they have the light, redeeming the time, buying up the opportunity, lest darkness overtake them. They should not make the mistake of imagining they have so much time that they can afford to let days or hours or even minutes be wasted. They cannot afford to lose one golden minute of any day. That may be the very minute of all that day on which their destiny hangs. (… to be concluded)
(Extracted from Gracegems website)