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Summary: The impetus of time, can be one of God’s pin pricks to keep us from living an insignificant life. Impetus can be defined as increased activity in response to a stimulus.

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The Impetus of Time\Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Text: Ps 72:20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.

Impetus can be defined as increased activity in response to a stimulus.

How many of you like the food network TV show called Chopped?

They get a basket of crazy insane ingredients that should never be paired with the other items in the basket, often times the chefs have no idea what some of the foods are, they are given a limited amount of time, it is counted down, and then ready or not the host says times up, stop what you are doing.

Some contestants wind up with food they have serious allergies to. Some orthodox Jewish contestants have been asked to cook shellfish or pork. Vegetarians have had to cook meat. In like manner God sometimes asks us to do things that are way beyond what we want to do or feel capable of.

Wow, how like life is that!?

We are given a basket of mystery ingredients.

We don’t get to pick the ingredients.

We only have a little time to work with them.

We know there is a great reward if we make something special out of what we have been given.

This past week on another cooking show, "The Next Iron Chef," they had a contest called, transformation. All the contestants were given canned food products, (anathema to real chef’s) such as spam, tuna fish, clams, and canned chicken. Their job was to transform it into something of culinary excellence, again they had a time factor to deal with, and a promised reward for success. That is life in a nutshell. I could preach on all those life truths, but have chosen to concentrate on just one of them today.

Today I want to talk about the impetus of the clock.

There is this notion in certain parts of Christianity that all the dealings of God, are pleasant and joyful. For such people there appears to be only one verse in the bible; John 10:10 "...I am come that you might have life, and that more abundantly." But when we peel back the layers of biblical truth one of the first things we find is that, "a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." (LK 12:15) So then, whatever abundant life is, it is not about having possessions, as much as it is about being a possession of God.

In our message today I want to talk about woulda, coulda, shoulda and answer the simple question: "are they friend or foe?" Woulda, coulda, and shoulda are first cousins, to "times up, stop what you are doing." Today we are going to look at this passage in Psalms, and relate to Paul, Jesus, and us.

First we note there is a time that earthly prayers will be ended, this is true even for those who are of significant note in the scriptures. It is appointed unto man, once to die... We all have an appointment with death, at that juncture all praying for others will cease. As I reflect on that somber truth, woulda, coulda and shoulda lurch at me from the shadows. Will my prayers be critiqued? If they were put on a scale and weighed how much would the scale move? Have my prayers been self-centered or selfless. Will I be rewarded or chopped?

When I pass from this life to the next, what will remain? Have I left an inheritance of stored up prayers for my children, my family, my nation, my world? The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended! I remember in school there always came a time in the examination where the teacher would say, put down your pencils, time is up. That day is just a little bit further over the horizon, for all of us, thinking on that fact, though I am a pastor I still feel woulda, coulda, and shoulda nipping at my heels. Oh how I long to be able to say with Paul, I have finished the race, to have a sense of completion of all assigned tasks. But I travel this road with these three miserable companions, woulda, coulda, shoulda. Yet there is a part of me that knows, they are friend and not foe.

I am not talking about living under a sense of condemnation, but of living under a sense of compulsion. Until that time Paul knew his journey had ended he lived with a drive and a compulsion that he could not say no to. Listen to how he describes his sense of drive and mission and compares it to being in bondage:

Ac 20:22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Ac 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

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