Losing An Hour
This past weekend most of us “lost an hour.” Many complained about this sleep shortfall we incurred as our clocks sprang forward for Daylight Saving Time. Some made up for it with a Sunday afternoon nap.
The Bible talks often about important “hours” we cannot afford to lose – or miss. Most of these are not literal 60-minute timeframes. Rather, they are moments of opportunity. To miss these hours would result in great spiritual loss. While hardly an exhaustive list, consider these as you are still recovering from a deficit of rest.
The Hour of Eternal Salvation
Jesus spoke to His would-be followers about the need to hear His word and believe the truth in order to “pass from death to life” (John 5:24-28). Jesus stated, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.” Jesus declared that He was able to impart life to spiritually dead people. This spiritual transaction also became a foreshadowing of the hour that would come when all who are in their graves will hear His voice in resurrection life.
I thank God for that hour in my life when everything changed. This dead soul was brought to eternal life by Christ and the grace of His Gospel. Now, resurrection to life is a sure hope.
ACTION POINT: Today, if you hear His voice calling you to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, respond in repentance and faith. This is THE one hour you do not want to lose, because in doing so you lose your own soul.
The Hour of Spirit-Empowered Witness
In Matthew 10:19-20, Jesus told His disciples not to worry about what they should speak when they are brought before “kings and governors” to give witness to the Gospel. Jesus promised, “It will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” When we miss our “hour” of Spirit-empowered witness we fail to share the good news with a lost soul and lose the eternal reward of obedient, Gospel-oriented living.
ACTION POINT: Prayerfully expect open doors to share Christ today. Trust the Holy Spirit to give you the wisdom and words to share Christ.
The Hour of Ultimate Life Purpose
Early in His ministry, Jesus was pressed by His mother to demonstrate His deity when a wedding party ran out of wine. He responded, “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). Later, as Christ prepared for the final days leading to His sacrificial death on the cross, He prayed, “…for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name” (John 12:27-28a). A few verses later, the Gospel writer notes, “Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1).
Christ understood and communicated the importance of His ultimate hour of purpose. His life, His teaching, His miracles, His preparation of His disciples – they all led to the moment when He would fulfill His mission of offering His life on a cross for the sin of the world. Similarly, we cannot afford to be unclear or to lose this “hour.” We are here on this earth for a purpose, and all components of our life must ultimately converge in a clear purpose.
ACTION POINT: Review your life-mission statement and pray for clarity about how to fulfill it today. (If you do not have a written statement, check out our book The Seven Most Important Questions You’ll Ever Answer.)
The Hour of Sacrificial Discipleship
In John 12:23-26, Jesus spoke again of His impending death as the “hour” of God’s glory. Then He turned to His disciples, explaining that just as a grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die before it produces much grain, “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.”
In our society that typically runs toward convenience and comfort, we are challenged to not miss the “hours” of our life when we are called by Christ to live sacrificially, disregarding our very lives in order to serve His cause. Much is at stake in this hour as we choose obedience, eternal significance, and lasting reward, even when it is costly.
ACTION POINT: Ask the Lord to reveal to you today the costly choices you can make that will counter the natural tendency toward self-centered living.
The Hour of Watchful Prayer
After inviting His inner circle of disciples to join Him in a period of intense and urgent prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He found them sleeping. Perhaps in a more literal tone, He appealed to them, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40-41).
More significant than a lost hour of sleep is the setback we incur when we miss the urgent and vital moments of prayer to which we are called as we co-labor with Christ in His work. Just as the disciples could have been dialed in to this imperative moment and prepared for the trials that awaited them, we have many opportunities to partner with our Lord in prayer for kingdom purposes and our personal empowerment. Instead, we lose the opportunity by our neglect and dullness.
ACTION POINT: Set aside extended time to pray (alone and with others) as you approach crossroads of key decisions and important assignments.
The Hour of the Lord’s Return
Jesus spoke frequently of the “hour” of His return. Illustrating with the surprising judgment of the days of Noah, Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only … Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:36-44).
Every day should be spent in light of the return of Christ. We cannot afford to ignore the paramount importance of this coming hour. We can live with spiritual vitality, urgency, and influence – knowing that all things will ultimately consummate in Christ’s presence and under His judgment.
ACTION POINT: Consider the impact of Christ’s return, even if it were to occur today. Stop procrastinating about the right things you know you need to do. Confess and turn from any sin that undermines your spiritual readiness. Don’t leave any regrets on the table.
Copyright © 2013 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.