“For if we had not delayed, surely by now we could have returned twice”.
Some things in life create a sense of urgency; certainly, Joseph’s brothers had this sense, as Joseph, the brother whom was sold into slavery was now testing his siblings to discover how their hearts had grown. Al Pacino begins his eloquent locker room speech in the movie, On Any Given Sunday, – “You find out when you get older, they start taking stuff away from you”. It’s true. The real question is: “Who are the “they”? A friend once told me that when you’re in that time of life, when building your business or career, when trying to raise your kids, when everything in life seems urgent, late and desperate, life itself is simply a “blur”. You probably utter the phrase several times over “something’s gotta give pretty soon or I’m going to lose my mind”, and all the while the old folks around you just smile and tell you, “IT will pass”. Well, the “IT” is the “They”. The circumstances of life begin to whittle away at the things you believe that you possess. You sold out to something; job, relationship, status, whatever, that instead of growing toward grace has now become a burden dragging you down to Sheol.
Oh, you read stories once in a while where folks get a “do-over”; some previous misfortune comes around again and the opportunity to make amends is presented. This is not the norm. Joseph’s brothers had that chance. Occasionally, we hear a story like that of the 3 young women held in captivity who were freed in the last three weeks, but more times than not the circumstances are much different. When the clock strikes 12, what we have is what we’ve traded for in the last hours of daylight; hence, our sense of urgency. Who takes the things from us, who are the “They”? Solomon wrote these words: “Time and chance overtakes them all”.
When you see your youngest child participate in the last event of their youth; or pack their belongings, and drive away from under your roof, permanently; Solomon’s words and the word “They” will have a clearer meaning. We can draw one thing from the world of competition and that is this: “The spirit of a man will give-in, long before the flesh will collapse”. You can run a horse until it dies of exhaustion, a good hunting dog will retrieve until it collapses. Why? Because they understand what they were made for and they know there is only so much time to accomplish it.
When asked, which is the greatest commandment,
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Can it be any clearer or have any greater sense of urgency? When your son wants to play catch or your daughter wants your time, and the workday has been long, you gotta remember, there is only so much time to accomplish it. When you have an opportunity to forgive and bestow a little grace toward someone, versus all other options, let the horse as it was described to Job be your inspiration.
Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?
Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting?
It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray.
It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword.
The quiver rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance.
In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’ It catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry.
A close friend passed this quote on to me and I considered it might be one of the all time best.
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body. But rather, to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “‘Wow! What a ride!'”
If you think about it, we probably are capable of more effort in the right places. Cuz sooner or later our time and opportunity are gonna run out; and then, “they start taking stuff away from you”. Ain’t it so!