Another year has come and gone. Each of us is one year closer to eternity: “salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). Do not mourn that you are closer to death, but instead thank God that you are now that much closer to eternal life.
A generation comes and goes, but the earth remains. Though all streams flow into the sea, the sea is not full. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. Though we toil on this earth, we can take nothing with us into the next life. Though we may indulge in the comforts and pleasures of this life, we will never be satisfied (Ecclesiastes 1:1-18). The wise man and the fool, the rich and the poor, the king and the servant all will die (Ecclesiastes 2:1-17).
As one year passes and another begins, let us remember that we are dust (Genesis 3:19). Let us remember that at any moment we could be called away from this life. Who of us knows if he will make it to the end of this year? Be not like the rich fool who basked in his earthly blessings only to lose his life that very night (Luke 12:13-21). God forbid that any of us should be found without the oil of faith when we awake from death at our Lord’s return (Matthew 25:1-13).
Where your treasure is, there your heart is also (Matthew 6:21). What are the greatest objects of your heart’s desire? God and his word? Free salvation through Jesus’ death?
What is worth more than God? What on this earth is worth more than hearing His word? What is a better use of your time than coming to church regularly? Everything in this world fades, rots, fails, falls apart, does not satisfy you, does not save you, does not last forever.
Therefore, dear Christian, examine your heart. Examine your time commitments. Examine your loves. This world is passing away. Do not pass away along with it. Do not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2).
Redeem the time, which passes so quickly. Redeem it by using it to hear God’s word. Fill your flasks with oil while there is still time (Matthew 25:8-10). Come to church. Come regularly. Meditate on God’s word throughout the week and throughout your life.
The word of God preserves you for eternal life. Faith comes from hearing the word. Faith in Christ’s death saves you from the eternity in Hell you deserve for sinning against God.
Christ has risen from the dead. He has loosened the chains of the grave. He has broken through, and risen above, the cycles of meaninglessness and death in Ecclesiastes. He has opened eternity to all who believe in His life, death, and resurrection. Into the toil, sadness, and vanity of this earthly life Jesus breathes joy and hope. Joy because of reconciliation with God. Joy because of His presence. Joy due to humble, fearful, grateful faith. And hope because of God’s promise that he will raise all who believe in Jesus to everlasting life.