And when Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, because I must stay at your house today.” Lk 19.5

They say that opportunity knocks only once. The phrase means that we have to recognize opportunity when it appears and take advantage of the moment, since we’ll not have another chance.

Jesus shows us another reality. He created his opportunities. He didn’t wait for opportunity to appear. He didn’t wait around for the moment. He by whom the world was created continued creating on earth opportunities to take the Father’s word to people. Continue reading

By J. Randal Matheny © 2015

In the corner of my eye, went past
A streak of yellow, a sunlit flash —
For a butterfly, too straight and fast —
A bird it must be, in glorious splash.

I raced outside to search the skies,
In case it circled back to behold,
But never again appeared to my eyes —
Mysterious blur of gold.

now is the timeYesterday was the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere. It’s called solstice. The summer solstice will be the longest day. In the Antarctic polar circle, yesterday was the only day of the year in which there was no light, only a 24-hour period of darkness.

Whether the day is short or long, there is always time to do what we need to do.

We must perform the deeds of the one who sent me as long as it is daytime. Night is coming when no one can work.
John 9:4 NET

On the day Jesus said this, he cured a man blind from birth. He used the moment to teach several truths. Here, the Lord speaks figuratively.

“Day” indicates the span of our life, opportunity, the possibility of the moment. “Night” means death, the loss of possibility, the failure to act when the chance appears.

Nobody can turn back the clock. The lost opportunity can never be recalled. We must do God’s will while we still have life. That means today. The “day” of today. The “day” of now.

Thus will we give glory to God taking action today, doing his works while there is time.

 

Our friends know by now that our family doesn’t watch TV, hasn’t for the last, oh, 12 years. Not Brazilian, not American.

Sure, we watch a bit when with family in the U.S., mostly news and old movies. We see some TV when in the homes of other people, or at the local padaria when we stop in for coffee.

But our television menu is on the starvation side.

We do watch a few movies here and there, both in the mall cinema (rare) or rented for home viewing (less rare).

So you’ll probably not be surprised when I say I have never watched an episode of Oprah. I have no idea who Seinfield is or what he does. Madonna and Britney are just names to me. Shows like “24” or “Lost!” register absolutely no spike on the excitement meter, having never seen either. (I can’t say that about “House.”)

Don’t consider me deprived; I think of myself as blessed.

Because I do not waste hours at a time on television, I have hours to spend reading the Bible, praying to God, and meditating on his benevolence.

I spend hours encouraging people in good works. More hours in writing, of all kinds. Hours in thinking how to maximize efforts, involve more people in the business of the kingdom of God, motivate others to give up leadership for servanthood.

With limited time, we pay a price. Jack Lewis once wrote that if you want to become a biblical scholar, you can’t read comic books.

My mission is to move people toward God. To help those who have no relationship with him enter into Christ. To advance those in Christ closer to his throne, more like his image, deeper into his mission.

At times, I feel as if I’m an ineffectual missioner, because the fruits of the kingdom are not always in the visible results. But eternity will show the traces we have left.

Once we enter the heavenly gates, I imagine the Lord will show us, much as he revealed in the book of Revelation the invisible war behind the persecution of the Roman Empire, the spiritual fruits that were born as we dedicated ourselves to faithful service.

Or maybe our works will be burned up, and we’ll be saved with only the shirt on our backs.

Though we deeply hope and pray for the former, we confess that God is sovereign and he will do what is right by us and our works.

And Oprah? Her ratings will fade, and her show will end, like everybody else’s.

“Now what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2 NET).