T42D: Don’t procrastinate
Rodders on readiness …
Last week in Thought for Today I related the story of four-year-old Colton Burpo who had a near death experience and went to heaven and how short our life span is in comparison to when we consider eternity.
This week I would like to continue with that theme, in relation to not putting important issues off.
I am sure we are all familiar with the story of the little boy who cried ‘wolf’, wanting rescue, when there was no wolf coming. After many false alarms, when the day finally came and there was a wolf, the people didn’t believe him and he suffered the consequences.
In a similar way, back in the 1880’s civil engineers examined the South Fork Dam in Pennsylvania that controlled the waters of several rivers that flowed down towards a valley where 14 miles upstream was the town of Johnstown. Concerned by what they saw, they told the town officials, ‘The dam is unsafe and you are in great danger. You need to relocate.’ The officials said, ‘We’ve heard it all before. The dam is all right.’ A year later the engineers visited the dam and again came back saying, ‘We are warning you; you are in danger every hour.’ By this time the engineers’ report had spread to the townspeople, and they laughed it off, saying, ‘They’re just trying to scare us.’
A few months on, the engineers issued the same warning, and again the potential danger was dismissed. Fifteen days later, on 31 May 1889, a boy on a horse rode through the valley shouting, ‘Run for your lives! The dam has broken and the water is coming.’ But the people laughed at him, certain he was trying to scare them. After several days of extremely heavy rainfall the dam broke releasing 14.55 million cubic meters of water. Suddenly a wall of dirty water struck, and, in less than thirty minutes, Johnstown was in ruins. According to one account, 2,209 people died that day. The flood accounted for damage worth $17 million [in 2020 that would relate to $481 million].
The challenge today is that we may have heard the message and the claims of Jesus Christ on our lives so many times that we can become anaesthetised to the gospel. The problem will be that one day it may be too late and then we will not have another chance.
One night in 1912, RMS Titanic, the largest passenger steamship in the world and considered by many to be unsinkable, struck an iceberg and sank in the icy Atlantic. 1,517 people died. Following the disaster, the scene outside the White Star Line office in Liverpool was one of anxiety and grief as friends and relatives of those on board the ill-fated vessel thronged the building. On both sides of the main entrance, notices were posted. One said, ‘KNOWN TO BE SAVED’; the other said, ‘KNOWN TO BE LOST’.
From time to time, a company official walked out with a piece of paper that contained the name of another passenger. When he held it up, a deathly stillness swept over the crowd as loved ones of the missing waited to see which side he would write the name on.
The day Jesus was crucified, God looked down from heaven, and wrote ‘KNOWN TO BE SAVED’ on the cross, and started writing names in ‘The Lamb’s Book of Life’.
The message of the cross hasn’t changed. You don’t have to be a scholar to understand it. In fact, most people who come to Christ don’t know a lot about the Bible. All they know is they need a Saviour, and God loves them. All you have to do to receive eternal life is repent of your sin and put your trust in Jesus. The instant you do that, God writes your name ‘in the Lamb’s book of life’ and you become a member of His family, guaranteed a place in heaven. And it can happen for you today.
In the 1970’s an American gospel writer and singer, Larry Norman, sang a song called, ‘I wish we’d all been ready. The chorus goes like this:
There’s no time to change your mind,
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind.
A man and wife asleep in bed,
She hears a noise and turns her head.
He’s gone. I wish we’d all been ready.
So today, don’t put off the most important decision you will ever make because none of us knows what tomorrow may bring.