Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Time will tell


"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The servants asked the owner, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ said the owner. Let both grow together until the harvest.’" — Matthew 13: 24-25; 28, 30 (NIV)

 By Bishop Robert Hayes Jr.

The master said no when his servants wanted to pull the weeds sown by an enemy in the master’s field, weeds growing intermingled with the good crop.

How he responded to the servants’ question deserves attention. The master knew the weeds at that stage would look exactly like the wheat. He said, "Let the wheat and the weeds grow together until harvest." He knew time would eventually distinguish the wheat from the weeds.

Time. Time will tell.

Just as we know that time eventually revealed the difference between the wheat and weeds, we also must understand that time works the same way on a human soul. Eventually, your inner self will surface. Time will expose who you are, your passions and loyalties, the real you.

American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this memorable quote on time: "What is time? The shadow on the dial, the striking of the clock, the running of the sand, day and night, summer and winter, months, years, centuries — these are but the arbitrary and outward signs, the measure of time, not time itself. Time is the life of the soul."

One lesson in the Gospel parable is that time sifts men and women like wheat. Whatever motives govern and dominate your life will, over time, come to the surface; that is an inescapable fact.

Likewise, time helps you grow into deeper knowledge of yourself. And if your purpose for living is not honorable (much like those weeds), then time also gives you the opportunity to change.

The Scriptures are ripe with stories of people filled with contempt and hatred, who lived alienated from God. One such person was Saul, the Pharisee who held the coats of the men who stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Saul was the enemy of the early church, sowing weeds among the followers of Jesus.

How could someone so filled with animosity toward Christ ever change?

But he was changed. As Saul made his way to Damascus one day, planning to arrest Christians who had been converted to the Way, a brilliant light from heaven blinded him, knocking him from his horse to the ground. The voice of Jesus asked him, "Why are you persecuting me?" Jesus gave Saul instructions to go into the city, where he was helped by one of the very disciples he was pursuing. (Acts 9)

His name was changed to Paul, and in time he became the most vocal proponent of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

In our time, Paul’s stirring written words still inspire us:

"If I speak in the tongues of men and angels and have not love…"

"All things work together for the good to them that love God…"

"If Christ is for us, who can be against us?"

Time tells all. Perilous enterprises, circumstances, and unseen events sort and sift us out. And just like Paul, God gives us opportunities to change before the harvest comes.

It is time to make the most of the unique gift that is your life.

You can bundle up the weeds that choke you from doing what God would have you do. Throw them into the past.

Take advantage of the time you have to make the most of each day, striving earnestly to live a God-focused and Christ-centered life!

Before his conversion, Saint Augustine was one of the most notorious men of his time, according to reports. His early life was dominated by numerous affairs and openly cynical displays toward the world. One story describes the day a former mistress spotted him walking down the street. He also saw her, but he was too embarrassed to confess his conversion. He ran in another direction!

But the woman ran after him, shouting, "Francis, Francis, it is I! It is I!"

After a brief race, Francis stopped, turned, and faced her. His simple response to her was, "Yes, I know it is you, but it is not I."

His life had been totally transformed.

You have the capacity within you to change if you truly want. You don’t have to wait until harvest time because, if you do, it might be too late.

Do it now! Do it today before you run out of time.


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