Summary: This sermon is a challenge to each of us as we enter a new year
Each Day I Live
15So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.
16Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.(NLT)
Introduction I’m sure you’ve noticed that each year almost all the major news magazines put out an issue with special pictorial sections recalling people and events that made news during the previous year. And, of course, this year the election, economy and the war in Afghanistan dominated the news reviews of 2009. Many of the magazines also include articles by experts predicting what they expect to see happening in the years ahead. Some even go so far as to make predictions covering the next 10, 20, or more years in the future. In the past, a few of these predictions have proven amazingly accurate, while others couldn’t have been more wrong.
For example, back in 1967, experts predicted that by the turn of the century technology would have taken over so much of the work we do that the average American work week would be only 22 hours long and we would work only 27 weeks a year. As a result, one of our biggest problems would be in deciding what to do with all our leisure time. Well, I don’t know about you, but that prediction certainly missed the mark as far as my life was concerned. In fact, most of us seem to be very busy people.. We are always in a hurry. We walk fast, talk fast and eat fast. And after we eat, all too often, we stand up and say, “Excuse me. I need to go on a diet.”
So here we are, the first Sunday of 2010. I wonder how we’ll do this coming year. Will we be as busy? Will we make any better use of our time? In 369 days, when 2010 is over, will we be looking back with joy or with regret? Will we be looking at the future with anticipation or with dread?
There is a passage of Scripture I believe can be of help to us as we look forward to the New Year, if we’ll listen to it. The passage is Ephesians 5:15-17 and here is what it says,
“Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
I think in this passage the Apostle Paul presents some important lessons that we need to consider.
I. Our Time on This Earth is Limited
First of all, we must be very careful how we live because our time on this earth is limited. The Psalmist wrote, “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life” (Psalm 39:4). And then again, “The length of our days is seventy years - or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).
I realize that for some of you younger folk, 70 or 80 years sounds like a long, long time. In fact, I can remember when I thought anyone over 40 was ancient, but no longer. It is all rather relative, isn’t it?
For teenagers in love, talking together in the car, an hour or two seems like a blink of an eye, but for mom and dad worrying about what’s going on out in that car, an hour or two seems like an eternity.