The unexpected is around the corner and will not consider your schedule or list of priorities – or your lack of faith in Jesus
By Donald Whitchard
Matthew 6:34,Acts 24:25,James 4:13-14,Luke 12:13-21,Luke 16:19-31
Summary: The Scriptures tell us, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” (Proverbs 27:1). Too many people in these last days forget that they may not have tomorrow. The need to be prepared to meet God is now.
All of us at one time have put things off until the last minute, such as the writing of a research paper for school or studying for exams. We put off important decisions at our place of work, or filing tax returns, buying your family Christmas presents on or near Christmas Eve, or asking that girl or guy to marry you before he/she gets tired of waiting and then complains to you about lacking commitment. All of these are examples of procrastination, which is defined as “a putting off to a future time, or delay.” Just as we tend to put off decisions, chores, or anything else that needs our attention, the same problem also applies to those individuals who serve the LORD in varied fields of service. A good example are those pastors who tend to wait until Saturday evening to write their sermons. That may be the only time they have due to other responsibilities to both family and congregation. Regardless of what you do or where you live, there are too many people who believe that they have plenty of time to accomplish their objectives or make decisions when they do not, and neither do you. Putting off anything that involves your well-being is nothing more than a fool’s wager. Tomorrow is never a guarantee for anyone, especially when it comes to the matter of where you stand before God and the reality of eternity.
If you are a serious follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and have tried to share your faith with anyone, how many times have you been told that they would “think about it,” or “check with me later,” or “not now” or for you to go away and quit bothering them? One of Satan’s favorite tactics is to have someone think that they have plenty of time to make their peace with God, that is, if they even bother to give Him any attention at all. The horrible shock will be when they close their eyes in death and end up in a place where they didn’t expect to go, never to return (Luke 16:19-31; Hebrews 9:27). During my time in the field of healthcare chaplaincy, I responded to calls from the ER/Trauma Center, Intensive Care Unit, Critical Care, and regular rooms to visit with patients and their relations to offer prayer and counsel as the time for death arrived. There were also calls where death had already stopped by and the family and/or friends were either at peace or unspeakable grief if the deceased had apparently not made their peace with God, or whatever deity they chose to either believe. Every time this happened, I would silently ask to myself, “Where are they now?” I shuddered at the thought of patients or anyone else in a situation of extreme crisis or impending death who had not settled the issue of their eternal destination. Unexpected deaths gave me cause for concern and I wondered if those people who had been alive one minute and dead the next had been prepared or had placed their bets on settling the issue “later.”
The Lord Jesus taught about dealing with tomorrow and its anticipated problems. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), He emphasized that all we are given is right now (Matthew 6:33-34), and that we need to devote our time seeking and being a part of the kingdom of God. His apostles followed this advice during their time of ministry with Him. Read for yourself and see that nowhere in the Gospels are there any instances of wasted time or words. However, there were times where Jesus told them to depart from the crowds and take the time to rest for a while (Mark 6:31). We all need “down time” to refresh our minds and bodies, but then we are to resume our duties and work for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Jesus had a specific mission He had to accomplish and was not about to waste His precious time arguing with the nitpicky and hypocritical Pharisees or indifferent rulers like Herod Antipas. Souls were at stake and the Gospel needed to be preached in the entirety of Israel. The apostles were instructed and then sent out to proclaim the message of redemption through Christ (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 9:1-6, 10:1-12, 17-20; Acts 1:8). His words were never trivial or random. As God Incarnate, He accomplished everything needed to redeem us from sin. All He needed to say is found within the pages of Scripture, although, according to John’s Gospel, He did far more than could be written (John 21:25).
Scripture emphasizes the need to get right with God NOW (2 Corinthians 6:2). To wait is to do nothing at all and end up suffer the eternal, horrific consequences. Scripture presents tragic portraits of people who thought that they could “borrow time” from a tomorrow that never arrived for them, such as the rich fool, the rich man in hell, and Lazarus in heaven (Luke 12:13-21, 16:19-31). The Roman governor Felix decided to put off hearing more from Paul concerning Jesus, salvation, and the future. He never called for Paul again and ended up paying the price for his choice (Acts 24:25). His request for a ” more convenient season” came too late. Going back to the experiences I faced as both a pastor and a chaplain, I witnessed the arrivals of men and women brought into the ER who were classified as D.O.A. (Dead on Arrival), and sent to the morgue who, while still alive, more than likely had not given any thought to spiritual issues or where they would be after death, that is, if they even believed in it. Then, all of a sudden came the unexpected heart attack, aneurysm, stroke, accident, or other reason. Their appointed time had arrived for them (Ecclesiastes 3:2; Hebrews 9:27). Again, the question of “where are they now?’ comes to mind.
There are cases of people who repent of their sins and call on the LORD in the final moments of their life such as the thief who was crucified next to Jesus (Luke 23:39-43) who will be rewarded for their faith along with those who have served the LORD for many years with joy (2 Corinthians 5:10). The point is that we who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ did not put it off or give excuses but heeded the call to come to Him at that moment. He alone gives us access to eternal life and a place with God the Father (Matthew 11:28-30; John 3:16, 14:1-6; Acts 4:12, 16:31; Romans 5:6-11, 6:23, 10:9-10). The status of your age, health, net worth, or personal belief that nothing is going to happen to you makes no difference to death, who is no respecter of persons. Either you are prepared, or you are not. There is no place for indecision or indifference to this issue. You cannot invest in a future that may not be here for you. You cannot borrow time from tomorrow, nor even a few moments from what is left of this day. The unexpected is around the corner and will not consider your schedule or list of priorities.
In December of 1975, I gave my life to Jesus Christ without delay or excuse. I am assured by His death for my sins upon the cross and His resurrection from the dead, along with His Word that I will be with Him for all time, free from the curse of sin and death and will possess a new life that cannot be described by our small words (1 Corinthians 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8). If the Bible is true, then neither you nor I are without any excuse not to respond to its message of repentance and forgiveness for sin and to give our all to the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact is that tomorrow may not come for you, but death could. All you have is right now and to ignore this to withdraw counterfeit funds from the bank of wishful thinking. Come to Christ today.
My book, “The Scope of Biblical Prophecy” is now available at: www.parsonsporch.com. It is a general look at the role and importance of Bible prophecy, the importance of correct interpretation of the Scriptures, the varied ways of how the last days events are to occur, and that in the end, Jesus wins.
YouTube: The Reality City Review
Dr. Donald Whitchard
Donald was born and reared in the authentic “Cajun Country” of southern Louisiana. He is a graduate of Louisiana College (B.A. in History Education/ Biblical Studies, 1984), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div. In Christian Education, 1994) and Andersonville Baptist Seminary (Doctor of Ministry, Biblical Exposition, 2000). He has been in the Gospel ministry since 1986, serving as an evangelist, interim and supply pastor, hospital and rescue mission chaplain, high school and college teacher, and pastor to churches in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
In 2018 he began to devote his time to Internet and social media evangelism and outreach. In 2021 he became a member of the Oklahoma Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, using his skills as a writer to contribute articles and sermons to websites such as Rapture Ready, Sermon Central, and Inspirational Christian Blogs. His YouTube webcast, “The Reality City Review”, a broadcast dedicated to teaching books of the Bible, can also be found on Facebook, Gab, Parler, GETTR, and Savior Connect. He writes Bible studies and curricula for churches in southeast and central Asia and Africa, the locations of which are anonymous. He can be contacted at: email@example.com for inquires, information, and speaking/preaching engagements. He can also be found at http://ocosbe.org/donald-whitchard/
HIs website is: www.realitycityreverend.com.
A copy of his resume is available upon request.