First Mennonite Church
January 2, 2022
Every Moment Counts
Texts: Matthew 16: 1-4; Ephesians 5:6-16
In Greek there are two words for time: chronos and kairos. Chronos is time in the quantitative sense and in the chronological sense. It is the kind of time that can be divided into minutes, seconds, years and so on. This kind of time is what we talk about when we say, “How much time do I have to finish my project?” It is the kind of time you can organize in chronological order, 11:00 A.M., 2:00P.M. etc.
Kairos, on the other hand, is time that is qualitative, not the kind of time measured by a clock. It is the kind of time that cannot be measured because it is characterized by what and how something happens in that time. This is the kind of time you talk about like when you go to celebrate Christmas at your relative’s home and you say, “Oh, we had a marvelous time!” Or like when the children of elderly parents call a meeting to tell their aging parents it is time for them to begin considering in getting a care provider. It is truth-telling moment or time.
A common theme in these two passages and the one of our Old Testament passage is the importance of time. Every moment counts and the time only counts because something timely or crucial happens in it.
In Matthew chapter sixteen, Jesus was tempted to perform a sign in order to prove his identity as the Son of God. The Sadducees and the Pharisees wanted a heavenly sign in order to believe. But Jesus rebuked them for not being able to discern the timing of God’s work and the agent through whom God was working. The Pharisees and Sadducees, Jesus says, know how to interpret the meaning of the very same phenomenon when it appears in the sky. If the sky is red in the evening, they said the following day would be a fine day. But if the sky was red in the morning, it portents a day of storm and bad weather. However, they failed to see God’s presence and work in Jesus.
The passage in Ephesians begins with a strong warning from Paul regarding words, whether gossip, the news circling around, philosophies on trend, but especially regarding false teachings. Paul urged the church to be cautious about empty words, for the wrath of God come on those to heed empty words.
These days, nothing gets people in trouble as fast as through speech, the use of words. Sometimes the best way to avoid this kind of trouble is by staying silent. The wise Solomon says,
When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but the prudent are restrained in speech.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
the mind of the wicked is of little worth. (Proverbs 10:19, 20).
Let us be careful with our words. May we pray with the psalmist who asked the Lord:
Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
Then, Paul urged the church to “walk in the light” (KJV), something he mentions three times (v.2, 5, and 8). Paul was certain about the visible change Christ makes in the life of the believer. Christians do not only know the light of God in Christ, but they also reflect the light of God in the world around them. Therefore, when we remain connected to the source of eternal light—God, Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit is in us, we become little lighthouses stationed by the dark edge of the ocean, serving as guide and hope to those at sea.
Light has a remarkable power in the darkness, no matter how big or small the source of light is.
Last Saturday night, Lilian offered to drive from Lost Hills to home. It was raining, windy and very dark. As she drove over that stretch of hills/mountains between Lost Hills and the junction of Highway 41 and 46, she said, “It is scary how dark it is here.” “Isn’t is a wonderful thing that cars are equipped with headlights? They prove to be very valuable component,” I said.
Let us hear it again from Paul:
Now in the Lord, you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.
After speaking about light, Paul makes this powerful evangelistic command.
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Here, Paul sort of pounds on the podium and exclaims, “Wake up! Wake up! Let Christ’s light shine on you!
Our passage concludes with a wise advice for us here at the beginning of the New Year. Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise,making the most of the time, because the days are evil.
Just yesterday, we hung up a new calendar. Today is the second day of the New Year. We have turned to a new page of the chronos type of time, where January will give way to February. Winter will give way to spring, summer and fall. We have started a new year, when we look forward to another birthday. Today is Lilian’s, by the way. And life and time—the measurable type of time, will continue to march on, however, life and time, is limited for each of us.
In the song, Only One Life, CT Studd says:
Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its days I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Hence, the warning of Paul, “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise,making the most of the time.”
Here, Paul is calling us to transform the chronos time to a Kairos time. “Make the most of this Kairos—this special time in God’s will for us, “because the days are evil.”
My dear brothers and sisters, we know so well how fragile life is. We know how reality changes from one moment to another. Thus, it is of utmost importance that we take advantage of every moment we are given by God to be alive and able to do something in his name. Every moment counts, so let us be careful how we live, not as unwise people, but making the most of the time we have.
God knows our human tendency to put off the moment when it is time to do something, when it is time encourage someone, to call a friend or member of the church, to give to someone in need, to give a word of appreciation, to say, “I love you,” to a loved one, to take on the project you have been dreading for long, and so on. God knows how many excuses we have put in order to delay the word of apology we need to give, or embark in the long-range change we need to make. God knows how many times we have deceived ourselves with thinking that there might be a better time to do or say something we have been resisting on doing or saying. God knows how many times we have kept inactive, believing someone else will do what God is telling us to do.
My loving brothers and sisters, the moment has come for each of us to take advantage of this moment in our lives. Every moment counts before God. Let us be discerning of these times! Let us transform the measurable time to a divinely appointed time.
As we begin 2022, let us determine to speak the words of God to others. Let us not wait for others to do what God is calling us to do. And there is plenty of hard work to do. Let us practice fairness and patience, even when there is a high price to pay for these. Let us act kindly, for it reveals it is the heart of God that governs our lives. Let us walk humbly. It is the way of peace amidst a world of violence. And above all, let us love. God is love and those who love are born of God and are children of God. Every moment count, therefore, let us be careful how we live, making the most of the time God is giving us. Amen!