There is a last time for everything. I am a fan of Peyton Manning. There was a last time he suited up and played quarterback. My father- in – law was an avid fisherman; there was a last time we went fishing. There will be a last time we celebrate our birthday or celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas with family and friends. There is a last time for everything.
Too often, we do not realize that the last time we did something is or will be the last time we ever do it. Several years after losing our daughter, we attended the visitation for my wife’s coworker’s son who was killed in a tragic one car accident near their home. There was a last time she saw her son, a last time she said goodbye to him, a last time she told him she loved him and a last time she got to enjoy his company. So many times, we wish we could roll back the clock and make the most of these last times. So many times, we realize we did not appreciate and cherish these last times or that we have unfinished business that we did not take care of during these last times.
We visit the elderly and infirm of our congregation. Some are no longer able to attend. I wonder if they will ever be able to attend again or if they have attended for the last time. Sadly, these people want to attend but are not able. They know that attendance is not optional but a command. Heb. 10: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. They know that attendance is a good thing, that we like Jesus our example need to do good (Acts 10:38) and to be about our father’s business (Luke 2:41-52) and they so want to be able to participate. James 4: 17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. I try to reassure them that God does not expect them or anyone to do what they cannot do.
We also visit those who are perfectly able to attend but never darken the door. I wonder too if they have already attended for the last time. They are too busy; they have more important things to do. They work six (or seven) days a week or they have a weekend retreat or a concert or sporting event that keeps them out until the wee hours of Sunday morning. Sunday is the only time they have for themselves and alas, they have no time for God. Mt 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. They do not realize that they are in the process of shriveling up and dying spiritually.
For all of us, there is a last song of praise we will sing to the Lord, a last prayer we will pray, a last time we will read God’s word and a last sermon we will hear. There will be a last invitation (song) we will hear and a last opportunity to obey the gospel if not a member of the Lord’s church or if a wayward member a last time to repent and come back as a prodigal son (or daughter).
There will be a last sunrise and a last sunset that we will see. There will be a last word we speak and a last breath we take. There will be a last day we live. Unfortunately, few believe that this (today) could be the last day of their life. No doubt the rich farmer was among that number who counted on tomorrow. Luke 12 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. The rich farmer had seen his last sunrise and awoke in eternity.
There will be a last day the world exists. We dismiss the fact that the Lord is coming again and will come unexpectedly as a thief in the night. Mt 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. We discount the fact that this world is not our home, that we are just passing through and the world will end. II Pe. 3: 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. There is a last time for everything except eternity. Are you ready for eternity?