Summary: Lent is a time for reflection, a time in which we are called to examine our spiritual life. This message is intended to encourage those who are perplexed by their own sin and help them come to see that there is an ever-present possibility of change.
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Well, here we are. Spring has sprung, so it would appear. Daylight Savings Time has begun, and we have been enjoying wonderful weather—a bit early, but who’s complaining! I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some families have already been out for a picnic. I’ve been doing lawn work this past week. A lot of kids were out enjoying the warm weather yesterday. Soon the older kids will be playing ball. And yes, they seem excited. Kids from elementary school age through high school love this time of the year because they know that the school year is coming to an end.
That makes it a little hard for classroom teachers I suppose. I would guess that they are not particularly excited about the daydreaming and diminished attention likely to be taking place in the classroom as the school year draws to an end. Parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone else who is around kids this time of year will tell you that when the trees bud, kids’ attitudes change. They develop what might be called “Short-Timers Syndrome” (“STS” for short). When kids realize that the school year is almost up, it seems as if all they can think about is getting out of school and enjoying the summer. They are ready to be done with school work. They are tired of doing the work. They are just not in the mood.
Kids may have started the school year with an enthusiastic attitude, focused and determined to have the best year ever. They may have resolved to achieve awesome grades and to contribute to the life of the school, but, unfortunately many if not most students catch the “Short Timers Syndrome” about this time of the year, and resolve goes out the window.
Now this particular syndrome isn’t restricted just to kids, nor does it always come in the spring of the year. I remember seeing short-timers attitude among fellow servicemen when I was in the Navy. You could always tell when a serviceman was getting close the end of his tour of duty. You could tell because of a change in his focus. The mind of the “short-timer” was somewhere else. Short-timers would go through the motions but didn’t put forth as much effort. They would talk about anything other than work. As far as military life was concerned, they had been there and done that. Now they were ready to get back to another life. The truth is, they stopped being sailors and soldiers long before their release from service. All it took was the recognition that their time was growing short, and like clock-work Short-Timers Syndrome began to set in.
How about you? Has Short-Timers Syndrome begun to set in? Many of us are older now. Most of us have “been here and done it”. In fact, we may have done it for quite a few years. Have you gotten to the point in your life where you don’t care quite so much anymore? Do we feel like you have done your part, so now it’s time for others to pick up the ball and run with it? Have you come to the point in your life where you are just skating, just marking time, just waiting for the inevitable conclusion, with no particular desire to be better, no particular desire to continue growing as a Christian? Have you lost ultimate concern? If you are starting to feel that way, even just a little bit, this message is especially for you. Let’s rekindle your “ultimate concern”!
We never outgrow the opportunities for spiritual growth that are set before us (see Isaiah 40:31). And yet, we may forget that if we want our relationship with Jesus to grow, if we want to be motivated to grow spiritually, if we want to get rid of our short-timers attitude, then we must set new goals to which we are willing to commit. And there is one over-arching goal that works every time. In fact it is the ultimate concern of the human soul. The Apostle Paul explains:
Paul writes in Philippians 3:7-11 (NIV), “whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”