Robert D. Smith, author of 20,000 Days and Counting, shares, “IN 2009, MIDWAY THROUGH MY FIFTY-FOURTH YEAR LIVING on this planet, I came to a realization that changed my life forever: I had been alive for nearly 20,000 days!
That’s 480,000 hours.
1,728,000,000 seconds.”[i] The following six words, Smith confessed, “. . . made a huge impression on me.”[ii]:
“‘No reserves, No regrets, No retreats!”
CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY, HEIR TO THE BORDEN, INC. FORTUNE
NOVEMBER 1, 1887, D. April 9, 1913
(HE LIVED EXACTLY 9,290 DAYS)”[iii]
According to the 20,000 DAYS CALCULATOR[iv], I have been here 19,835 days as of (03/13/16). Ironically, Terry Wilhite, gave me an autographed copy of 20,000 Days and Counting this past week and I stand at this moment almost exactly at the same point in time of the author when he wrote the book and I have found encouragement from the story of William Borden of Yale for many years, or days. I do not just want to count time; I want my time to count! How about you? Psalm 90:10-12 reads, “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Remember, those words were written by Moses, who lived 120 years. Even Methuselah, who lived 969 years, could confess, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14b).
As many of you know, my mentor, Dr. Stephen F. Olford (1918-2004), the man to whom I dedicated Don’t Miss the Revival! profoundly influenced my life and ministry. Dr. David L. Olford, Stephen Olford Professor of Expository Preaching at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, shared the following in a message titled, “Waste, Worship or What?”: “Many years ago when my father was a student, he was in a motorcycle accident. He developed double-pneumonia and was very ill. While at home in Wales, he received a letter from his father, Frederick Ernest Samuel Olford, who was in what is now Angola, West Africa. Fred Olford knew nothing of his son’s physical crisis, which actually occurred at a time of spiritual crisis, as well. It took months for news to travel back and forth in those days. In the letter missionary Fred Olford wrote were words written directly to Stephen: ‘Only one life ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.’ These words pierced young Stephen’s heart. He surrendered afresh to God, prayed for healing; and God graciously wrote the rest of the story. These words have a message for us all. It is really true that what is done for Christ and to Christ will last. It will be remembered. It will last; it counts; it matters.”[v]
Tom Hearon, former Baptist Student Union Director at my alma mater, William Carey University, recently shared that his most memorable chapel service from his college days at Mississippi College was when Bible professor, Dr. Philips McCarty, said, “Life is short. Use your time well and choose wisely. You are dismissed.” Hearon explained it was, “A one-minute message that has stayed with me.”[vi]
Ephesians 5:15-21 reads, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”
Note three challenging truths for changing times.
1. The challenge of following under the Lord’s command. (Ephesians 5:17-18) “. . . do not be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is” and “do not be drunk with wine, but be being filled with the Spirit.” The issue is control. Who is in control of your life? People fall into two categories: those who are out of control and those who are under control. While self-control is beneficial to individuals and to society, there is a more excellent way. What is it? It is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, which is the essence of “being filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18b). Literally, those words could be translated, “be being filled with the Spirit”. Romans 8:9b reads, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” While He is resident in all believers, is He president? Remember the word of Stephen recorded in Acts 7:51, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.” Are you retaining the controlling interest of your life from the Lord? or are you releasing the controlling interest of your life to the Lord? The contrast is clearly seen in 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
Part Two Coming Soon!
[i]Robert D. Smith, 20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012), 5.
[ii]Smith, 20,000, 21.
[iii]Smith, 20,000, 19.
[iv]20,000 Days Calendar Accessed: 03/13/16 http://www.therobertd.com/the-book/ .
[v]David L. Olford, “Waste, Worship or What?” Sermon Notes (Mark 14:1-11). Accessed: 03/09/16 http://www.wfil.com/11645833/ .
[vi]Tom Hearon, Notes from a Personal Interview (03/08/16), Used by Permission.