Proclaiming “Today!” in a World of Tomorrows

By the time you read this post, my baby sister will have graduated from high school. She was born on a wintery night while I was away at my first semester of college. We are the rosy bookends of the family, reining in the bramble of four brothers who fall between us. It seems like just last year I crept into the sweet dark hush of my parents' bedroom to peek at her for the first time. Soundly asleep in her cradle, she was blissfully unaware that my (then) fiancé and I had just driven eight hours in a raging blizzard to meet her.

That was a week of firsts for my sister—her first breath, her first time being held, her first night at home. This week, she is having a week of "lasts." Her last track meet. Her last time opening her locker. Her last band concert. Her last walk through the halls of Negaunee High School as a student. You remember what that's like, don't you? The end of high school is a strange goodbye—the first in a long line of lasts for graduates.

Remember? Just a minute ago we were freshmen, and suddenly we realize the end is drawing near. At once, we begin to see things through fresher, older eyes. The haze of friends and cliques and football games and bad cafeteria food clears, and we see what we failed to realize until this very moment: There will be one last time.

One Thousand Marbles

For too many of us, that commencement ceremony into adulthood marks the end of considering "lasts." With cards and wishes and Oh, the Places You'll Go, we are sent off into that lucrative American dream—The Future. It's a vision dripping with years and years of unlimited possibilities. It's all that our parents have hoped for. It's all that we've been working for. Surely it will last . . . forever! Right?

Wrong, of course. But as I sit here today, nineteen years after my own graduation, I'm not all that far from those childish notions that my life on earth will last forever. I regularly put off until tomorrow what should be done today. And I'm not just talking about dusting (although there is that). Loving and serving my husband better, doing crafts (which I hate) with my daughter, telling people about Christ with my actual voice, not just words on a screen . . . These are things I neglect even though I know the misty truth of James 4:14. But why?

Because the cosmos sings to us two lethal lullabies. One says, "Live for today; tomorrow may never come!" The other swoons, "Give yourself a break. You've got loads of time. You can do it tomorrow." Who among us has not drifted off to that tune?

My husband and I were recently reminded of the elusive nature of "tomorrow," when in the course of our church's marriage conference, the speaker played a short video based on a story called "1,000 Marbles."

The video tells the story of a middle-aged man who connects with an older gentleman via Ham Radio. With a fuzzy, warm grandpa voice, the older man recounts how, at age fifty-five, he realized that with a life expectancy of perhaps seventy-five years, he only had about twenty years left to spend with his beloved wife. He went to toy store after toy store that day, until he had acquired 1,000 marbles—one for each Saturday he hoped to have left with his sweet bride.

On this particular day, he was about to take out the last marble, and I don't think any of us left the conference without an image of that empty jar. Actually, our speaker gave us each a single white marble as a vivid reminder of the truth we read in Job 14:5—that we are not guaranteed tomorrow:

"Since his days are determined and the number of his months is with you [God], and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass."

Dear friends, we have an allotment of marbles to spend. At this very moment, I don't know if I have a thousand marbles left or ten. Neither do you. But I do know this: We live in a world that encourages us to put off doing what is right until "tomorrow." But the Lord calls us to proclaim, "Today!"

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Waiting on the Lord is a recurring theme throughout Scripture. But for some things, tomorrow may be too late. Here are three warnings regarding how you and I are to spend today:

1. Don't wait for salvation.

Take a look at the narrative of Zacchaeus' encounter with the Lord Jesus, paying attention to all of the words telling us that time is of the essence:

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, "He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner." And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:5–10, emphasis added).

Zacchaeus had a divine appointment with saving grace that day. There was no "wait until I get my life together" option. Jesus said "hurry," Zacchaeus obeyed without hesitation, and his eternal fate was sealed that very day! Sister, if you are being prompted to trust in this Jesus who transformed little Zacchaeus' life and heart, don't wait! Cry out to Him for forgiveness and salvation today!

2. Don't wait to encourage the brethren.

In Hebrews 3:12-14 we read, "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called 'today,' that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end."

Today is the day to care deeply for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and that begins in the local church. The context of this passage is Jewish brethren within the church who were either unsaved or saved, but tempted to add elements of the old Levitical system to their new life. Modern-day believers can apply this in that we have a responsibility to call to account unbelief among professing believers. We have a responsibility—corporately and individually—to exhort and encourage one another every day.

Are you seeing what I'm seeing here? Being a part of the the Body of Christ is not only for Sundays. It's not only for within the church walls. And it's not, "Well, the Bible says every day, so I'd better make myself a checklist of someone to encourage every day so I can get that obligation taken care of." No! We are called to joyfully be an intrinsic part of the ebb and flow of one another's lives. That is going to take time and most of all vulnerability. But it is necessary if we are going to persevere in the faith.

3. Don't wait to run after your husband. Don't wait to run after Christ.

Were you able to hear Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth's series on the Song of Solomon? If not, take the time to go back and listen! She did an especially wonderful job of unpacking chapter five, where the bridegroom beckons his bride, but she makes excuses and delays until it is too late and he has left without her.

I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had turned and gone. My soul failed me when he spoke. I sought him, but found him not; I called him, but he gave no answer (Song. 5:6).

Wives, there is no gentle way to apply this. If today you and I are not pursuing our husband, loving our husband, obeying our husband, we must arise. One day it will be too late!

And to all of us, if we are lying in bed, aimless, while our Christ, our Savior, is calling us to chase after Him with unrelenting passion, we must arise. One day, that last smooth, white marble will be removed from the jar, and we will meet the Christ whom we may have neglected to pursue. Oh, that it may not be so!

One Last Time

This month, as summer winds up and we commence graduations and weddings and vacations and all things tomorrow, let's not forget about today.

Today is the day to engage with your sisters in Christ.
Today is the day to drop everything and lavish love on your husband.
Today is the day to share Christ with someone.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes (James 4:14).

How will you spend your marble today?

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Laura Elliott

Laura Elliott

Natives of Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula, Laura Elliott and her husband, Michael endeavor to serve the Lord with gladness in Minnesota as they raise five sons and one daughter, while ministering at Chisago Lakes Baptist Church and School, where Michael serves as the school’s administrator. Laura’s passions include words, music, and encouraging women to pursue the God of Scripture in every season of life. In her so-called free time, you might find Laura cooking (or watching Food Network) at home in North Branch.

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