Summary: We find that we have dallied or been irresponsible, and the things we said we want to accomplish are impossible at this late date. But God is capable of redeeming even that element of irresponsibility if we renew our commitment to Him.
Takoma Park Baptist Church, Washington, DC, August 28, 1988
Here we are at the end of summer, or nearly so. It's the end of August, which is at least psychologically the end of summer. It's the end of the summer feeling, for now it's back to reality, now it’s back to business and a breathless run through days and nights of activity. It’s the end of summer, I know, because students are packing up and heading back to their universities. It has to be the end of summer, because teachers are getting back in those classrooms and dusting off those supplies and those lesson plans. And if the Redskins are finishing the exhibition games and writing new contracts, can fall be far behind? No, it’s the end of summer.
Where does the time go? Is that what you are asking and feeling? Where does the time go? And I was going to do so much with my summer! Why, somebody says, I was going to get that closet cleaned out while I had a little extra time, without so many activities. I was going to plant that garden that had been on my wish list for such a long time. Where did the time go? Can it really be the end of summer already?
As for me, you know, just about the time the summer was beginning, we got our second computer in the church office. I think it arrived while I was attending the Southern Baptist Convention, and so I made a mental note that this summer I would learn to use these magic machines. After all, it looks bad when the secretary and the associate pastor are doing all sorts of mysterious things and the pastor is still dipping his quill pen into India ink. So that was going to be my summer project.
Well, first there was Vacation Bible School. Not a good time to get into something new. And then in July just a rash of counseling sessions, everybody needing attention at once. Can't concentrate on sitting at a machine when people need help. And then August, and suddenly we are doing revival planning, we are doing budget development, we are off to Ridgecrest. Where did the summer go? Where did the time fly off to? If I had learned to use the computer, maybe I could find out where it went! But no, the summer is ended and I did not accomplish what I set out to do.
Come to think of it, a whole lot of life is like that. There are all kinds of good intentions that most of us carry around, but we never get down to them. We never quite find the time to accomplish what we have said we want to do. And suddenly we wake up and find out that there isn't really any time left. The summer is ended, and 'we have to get on with other things. The summer is ended, and the chill of fall is coming, and no longer is there the leisure of saying, “Some day, one day.”
I say a whole lot of life is like that. There is nothing to compare with the frustration of coming to a certain stage in your life at which you realize that you have missed something you will not be able to recover. There is nothing quite so anguishing as waking up to the fact that it is the eleventh hour, and there is practically no more time to achieve something that was very important. You're a high school senior, and all of a sudden you realize that unless you get it in gear right now, I mean right now, those grades will not get you into McDonald's Hamburger College, much less Harvard or Howard … and the summer is ended.
You're a parent, and this morning you see that that child of yours is not really a child anymore, that there are others who influence him, that there are other sources for her mind to draw from, and if you are going to shape that mind, that heart, it's just about too late. The summer is ended.
You're a man or a woman of many years, you've nurtured many dreams and hopes. You always thought of yourself as having plenty of time. One day you would learn that new skill, one day you would travel somewhere, one day maybe you would make that fantasy come true. But have you looked at the calendar? Have you felt that pulse lately? It is the end of summer. It may be just about too late. The summer is ended.
Here we are at the end of August, at the end of summer, and what has happened? Where are the good intentions of May and June? Where are the fond hopes of two months, three months, three years, thirty years ago? Scorched and shriveled, shelved and set aside, still waiting for us to get down to them. The closet still jammed, the garden full of weeds, the pastor still computer illiterate, the summer is ended, and it may be too late. Frustrating.