Our changing world, timing, and other sundry thoughts

The world is always moving beyond and below the disciple of Christ. Many a saint expresses surprise that society is changing, but such surprise betrays an expectation of the world that can only be true of heaven. The world is in a state of constant degradation (not stasis, and certainly not evolution), while heaven provides the only safe and stable environment for humans. That is why we must work to get to heaven, rather than focus our energies on improving society.

• To what point does a faithful saint attempt to stop the doctrinal seepage that invades the church generally? Or does one just stay at home and work with the local family of God, and let the rest of the brotherhood slide? That was the question a friend asked recently. Obviously, God is in charge of his kingdom, but how far does he want his people to go when the walls are breached elsewhere?

• No good, recent Portuguese Bible version is free to copy and reproduce. Copyrights, which I appreciate and respect, as a writer and publisher, have them all tightly bound up. Should the Word of God be treated differently from the way we work with other books? (English Bible versions aren’t in much of a better situation.)

• Timing may not be everything, but doing or saying at the right moment, or within the right window of time, can mean the difference between success and failure. Portuguese has no single word for it. My Port./Eng. dictionary tries to explain it with a couple of phrases. But that doesn’t mean timing is only a concept restricted to some cultures. One phrase the dictionary missed was a hora H. The right moment, with a capital M, might be the best translation.

• Some people possess a perfect sense of timing. The good comedian, who knows the right pause before dropping the clincher. The politician who skillfully milks a situation or crisis. The general who wins the war. And, why not? the successful blogger. Check the web for big discussions about the best time of day and of the week to blog.

• Maybe Eccl. 3 implies that sense of timing. “For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth” (v. 1, NET). If everything has its right time, we’d better know when that is, don’t you think?

• Then, some things don’t need timing at all. Like evangelism. Or, if you prefer, preaching the gospel. (Most people think preaching is done only behind a pulpit. But back to the point.) So says Paul, “proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2 NRSV).

• Maybe, just maybe, one reason the message should be proclaimed all the time is that the world is always moving beyond and below the disciple of Christ.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?