The first day of this month Becky and I celebrated my birthday. Early that morning as I took Lady for our customary walk I stood gazing at the heavy frost which had fallen on Oak Hill and the fields across from our home. My thoughts raced back to all the yesterdays which had filled my life. Then looking once again at the diamond encrusted ice crystals I was reminded that yesterdays are like the glistening frost; captivating to look at, but disappear with the rising sun.
Now I understand better the phrase, “It seems like it was only yesterday.” Yesterday, I almost lost the sight in my right eye. I was three. Yesterday, I invited Jesus into my life and started to school. I was five. Yesterday, I learned to ride my bike and joined the Cub Scouts. I was ten. Yesterday, I told God I would do anything He wanted me to do except be a preacher and I joined the Boy Scouts. I was 12. Yesterday, I almost blew up the church parsonage with my chemistry set. I was 13. Yesterday, I went hunting for the first time. I was 14. Yesterday, I graduated from high school. I was 17. Yesterday, I graduated from Union University. I was 21. Yesterday, Becky and I were married. I was 22. Yesterday, I graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I was 24. Yesterday, I surrendered to the call to full time evangelism. I was 27. Yesterday, Drew was born. I was 33. Yesterday, Becca was born. Later that year Becky and I had lunch with Rev. Billy Graham. I was 35. Yesterday, I received my Doctorate of Ministry from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. I was 39. Yesterday, God reminded me He has allowed me to preach in a thousand churches and conduct crusades both nationally and internationally. That yesterday was January 1. I turned 67.
While sitting in my study later that day, I reached for one of my favorite antiquarian books, “The New Whole Duty of Man, Containing the Faith and Practice of A Chriftian; Necefsary for all Families”. It was printed in 1767. In the section on: “Time, how to be fpent” the author states, “The time which God has given us, for working out our falvation, is more valuable than can be expreffed; for on the fpending thereof depends our happinefs or mifery to all eternity. There is little of it at our difpofal; what is paft is flipped from us; the future is uncertain; the prefent is all we can call our own, which is yet continually paffing away.” Though written in old English, the words are as relevant today as yesterday. I pray that what hours, days, weeks, months and years I might have left will be wisely spent for His kingdom sake.
I can hear the voice of my father as he would often say in his sermons, “One life will soon be passed; only that which is done for Christ is all that will last.” It is comforting to know that our yesterdays, todays, and by His grace our tomorrows are in His care. As we read in Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”