Beware of tomorrow!
Beware of tomorrow!
I wonder if you’re familiar with the following proverbs. They each have to do with tomorrow. What is tomorrow? It is, says one proverb, “the day when the idle man works, and the fool reforms”. Or it is, says the other, “a period nowhere to be found in all the hoary registers of time, save perchance in the fool’s calendar”. Hence the advice of our title: beware of tomorrow!
If we’re honest, we’ve all been that idle man at some time or other. There’s gardening or homework that needs to be done, or the car needs to be washed, or there’s something in the house that needs fixed. And we can’t be bothered doing it today. “Tomorrow”, we say. “Tomorrow”. Many of these things, admittedly, it’s no big deal to put off to tomorrow. But not everything. And certainly not the all-important matter of getting right with God.
Have you heard the appeals of the gospel to do that very thing? To get right with God? The gracious command that you turn from your sin in repentance? The invitation to look to Jesus Christ for eternal life? Perhaps you’ve heard them many times. Perhaps, too, you’ve said to yourself, just as many times, “I must do something about this”. And you’ve been perfectly serious. “I should be a Christian. I should turn to the Savior. I should not go on and on saying ‘no’ to him”. But nothing changes. You keep putting it off. “Tomorrow”, you say. “Tomorrow”. Always “tomorrow”.
Now these proverbs are nothing if they aren’t blunt. Tomorrow is “the day when…the fool reforms”. The only register in which you’ll find tomorrow is “the fool’s calendar”. Hard words, you say. But not inappropriate if putting things off to tomorrow is your life habit. And certainly not inappropriate if you are putting off getting right with God.
And here is why. Since we cannot guarantee tomorrow it is simply foolish to bank on it. Take another proverb. This time from the Bible. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27.1). Do you know in advance what tomorrow will bring? Do you know for sure that you will even see tomorrow? What if Christ returns before another sunrise? Or death successfully tracks you down before today is done? Isn’t it folly to put off the matter of your eternal salvation to a tomorrow that may never dawn?
Richard Hudson Pope was a children’s evangelist. When his mother was dying she said something to him that deeply influenced him in his work. “Dick”, she said very earnestly, “it’s a good thing to be in time. Tell them to be in time”. And then she repeated it: “Tell them to be in time”. Don’t put off, in other words, the all-important matter of getting right with God.
It puts me in mind of a hymn I knew well as a child. The chorus haunts me still:
“Be in time/Be in time/While the voice of Jesus calls you be in time/If in sin you longer wait/ you may find no open gate/ and your cry be just too late/Be in time”.
Let me leave you with the appeals of God’s word itself: “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isaiah 55.6). “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden you hearts” (Psalm 95.7-8). “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6.2).
You hear the message? The time to come to Jesus is now. Right now.