[Papercut Press Publishing] 1998-04-20 - But When?

Psalm 100:2, Serve the Lord with Gladness...

This is something I came upon during my Saturday reading. It is concise, and well, it hit me fairly well. It was written by the Episcopalian J. C. Ryle and if you would like I will provide you with the proper citation.

Reader, I dare say you mean one day to be a decidedly religious man. You hope one day to be a really serious Christian. But when is this to be? I say again, When?

Are you waiting till you are sick? Surely you will not tell me that this is a convenient season. When your body is racked with pain, when your mind is distracted with all kinds of anxious thoughts, when calm reflection is almost impossible, is this a time for beginning the mighty work of acquaintance with God? Do not talk so.

Are you waiting till you have leisure? And when do you expect to have more time than you have now? Every year you live seems shorter than the last: you find more to think of, or to do, and less power and opportunity to do it. And after all you know not whether you may live to see another year. Boast not yourself of tomorrow--now is the time!

Are you waiting till you are old? Surely you have not considered what you say. You will serve Christ when your members are worn out and decayed, and your hands unfit to work? You will go to Him when your mind is weak and your memory failing? You will give up the world when you cannot keep it? Is this your plan? Beware, lest you insult God.i

Are you waiting till your heart is perfectly fit and ready? That will never be. It will always be corrupt and sinful--a bubbling fountain, full of evil. You will never make it like a pure white sheet of paper so you can take to Jesus Christ, and say, "Here I am, Lord, ready to have Thy law written on my heart." Delay not, but begin as you are.

Oh, lingering reader, are not your excuses broken reeds? Be honest; confess the truth. You have no good reason for waiting.

Take the advice I give you. Resolve this day to wait no longer. Begin at once to seek God. Repent of your sins. Believe on Christ and be saved. "Behold now is the accepted time; behold, Now is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:2

It is my firm belief that few people find them serving Christ more than they should. This makes Ryle's challenge to us all the more personal. No matter where we are in our walk with the Lord, we are still refining, purifying our hearts and lives. May God grant grace to us all that we may resolve to pursue this holy task with new earnestness.

Soli Deo Gloria,