The title of this study comes from a Ralph Stanley song of the same name. It’s sobering to think we might be almost home; that is to say our time on earth is nearly done. The truth is we can’t be sure. A good portion of us won’t know our time has come until that day or very moment. Yet we go about our time here on earth as though it’s infinite. James speaks quite clearly to this and gives us another way to look at our presence in these earthly bodies.
James 4:13-17 (KJV)
13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
If the Lord will! That’s really the only way to look at it. Instead, we like to go about this life focusing on how good we are. If we were true to ourselves, we would admit that every breath we take is just further longsuffering that the Lord must endure. Even the best of us fall short of the glory of God. No matter how hard we try, we can’t live up to His perfection. Worse yet are those who don’t even try. It pains me to see fellow Christians who’ve made that choice to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior, yet they go about their days as if nothing has changed. Some don’t even care and act as if they don’t know in their hearts that their carnality is repulsive to the Lord. Others think, just one more time, then tomorrow I’ll change or get back on track. The reality is you don’t know if tomorrow will come. In another favorite bluegrass gospel song (Thank You, Lord, For Saving Me) Larry Sparks displays an example of what the Christian’s attitude should be:
Thank you, Lord, praise your Name
For the breath that I breathe
Thank you, Lord, for every blessing I receive.
Please keep me humble
And to work for Thee
Thank you, Lord, for saving me.
I needed you so bad
You saved my soul and I'm so glad
Please use me, Lord, that's my plea
Let the light shine in me
So the whole world may see
Thank you, Lord, for saving me.
We should be pleading with the Lord to use us. We should want to be an example for the whole world to see. If you’re going about your Christian life and others don’t see that something is different, you’re not living to glorify God.
Philippians 2:13-18 (KJV)
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
Stanley states in his song, “I know my race is nearly run.” Paul describes running the race to receive our prize: an incorruptible crown.
1 Corinthians 9:24-26 (KJV)
24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run…
Stanley finishes his song, “I can’t turn back now, for I’m too near home.” If only we all felt that way. If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, I urge you to examine your choices. Have you turned back? Or are you sprinting home to the Lord?
If you haven’t made that choice, now is the time. Don’t delay. Only the Lord knows if you’ll get another chance. Explore our website further to learn more about the beautiful gift of grace that God is offering you or join us for our weekly Bible study.
Wednesdays - 5:30 PM in the Rhinelander Goodwill Community Room