Let us pray: Dear Savior, instill in us today an urgency when it comes to our faith. Instill in us an urgency when it comes to repenting of our sins and embracing Your forgiveness. For when it comes to our eternal soul’s future, procrastination is deadly and o so sad. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE LORD WHO LOVES TO FORGIVE SINS!
TEXT: Isaiah 55: 6-9
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
The day started off quite uneventful. The man left home and was driving to work on his morning commute. He got a few miles down the road when his car started making some strange noises. But, he was in a hurry and had umpteen tasks awaiting him on his desk, so when he drove by an auto repair place he just kept going. He kept telling himself: “It’s nothing, I’ll get to it later.” A few miles later the engine seized, the car died, and his day and his wallet took a rather large hit. Procrastination didn’t pay off.
Every one of us sitting here today is a procrastinator by nature. We all ignore warning signs and put off checking them out—usually until it is too late. I know some of you have health issues that you choose to ignore. Some of you are under financial strain, but you refuse to tackle it. And some of you engage in self-destructive behavior, but it’s not critical yet, so you put it out of your mind.
There’s an old saying that auto mechanics use when extolling the importance of regular oil changes. It is: “You can pay me now, or pay me later.” And later it will cost a whole lot more. The same is true when it comes to our souls and our eternal future. Just like in everyday life, we are usually reactive instead of proactive. I can’t tell you how many people over the years I’ve worked with who could have avoided intense inner pain if they had turned to God, listened, learned, and repented before their situation got out of hand. Well, don’t let that happen to you. To be fore-warned is to be fore-armed.
DON’T PLAY THE WAITING GAME!
One of the things that has amazed me about the hurricane disaster down South is the general malaise that proceeded it. Perhaps it’s a result of our modern, instant gratification culture, perhaps it’s a lack of personal responsibility. But, I grew up in a time and place where people had to wait for things as malls weren’t omnipresent. We also believed in self-help and planning ahead for blizzards and disruptions. So we had plenty of food and water on hand. Every home was a little self-contained fortress. In fact most families could have eaten for a couple of months with no additions to their family larder. We didn’t play the waiting game when it came to adversity, we were taught to be proactive instead of simply reactive. And because of that we didn’t worry when the “storm of the century” hit.
Are you waiting for the “perfect storm” of spiritual despair to hit your own life? Have you ignored God’s warnings about sin and its cancerous effects upon your heart? Do you dabble in pornography thinking that the 6th commandment doesn’t apply to you? Have you succumbed to the modern culture of greed in America and spent beyond your means thinking that the 9th and 10th commandments with that word “coveting” are archaic? Is God an afterthought in your life, or not?
I really believe that most people put God and “church stuff” off because they think that they’ll make amends with Him later on. The problem is: things can occur to prevent that. For how many die in car accidents? When will the next terrorist strike occur with no warning? Will you have a heart attack and drop dead unexpectedly? Don’t play the waiting game! That’s the message of Isaiah today. Notice his urgency as he writes to you: “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near. Let the wicked man forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.”
Right here God’s prophet defines sin in two ways. He speaks of both actions and thoughts. Let’s examine that. Most would agree that actions such as stealing, cheating on your spouse, teen-agers engaging in sexual practices, slander, drug addiction, etc. are to be avoided. But, God doesn’t just want us to go through the motions of uprightness. He isn’t just a God of the body, He is a God of the heart. He made, bought and paid for our whole being with His blood on a cross. So, He also demands that our hearts, our thoughts, also conform perfectly to His holy will. Don’t wait, either. Don’t put God off for another time. You know how you feel when people blow you off. You know that eventually you’ll simply walk away from them and give your attention to another who embraces it. Well, the same is true of God. He’s here today. He’s here right now. Now is the time to repent of all your sins and as Isaiah says: “Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
God didn’t play the waiting game when it came to saving our souls. If He had waited to react to human goodness He’d wait forever and nothing would have gotten done to save us. For as St. Paul says: “The good that I want to do, I do not do. But the evil that I do not want to do, that I keep on doing.” No, God was proactive in saving us. When we least expected it and least deserved it, He sent His Son to suffer and die on a cross to freely pardon all our mistakes and failures to live up to His high calling. Christ cleansed our souls and our bodies from the inside out so that we wouldn’t have to wait for joy and peace to come our way, but so that we would and could possess them right here, right now!
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
How do humans operate? Well, we procrastinate, we ignore problems hoping they will go away on their own (the ostrich syndrome), and we tend to think we’re only answerable to ourselves.—But all of those approaches to life get us into trouble in the end. However, God meets You here and now with His grace and forgiveness. God confronts sin head on before it is too late. And God says: “You’re answerable to Me, and My answer to your inner pain is the boundless love and forgiveness of My Son, Jesus Christ.” Thank God that He didn’t and doesn’t play games with us. So, don’t play games with Him….Amen