Links Daily Devotional

Never Too Late

At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction!” (Proverbs 5:11-12, NIV)

My father passed one of those milestone birthdays last fall, the kind corporations celebrate and advertise when they’ve been around that long. We humans tend to be more quiet about such things. Age and beauty are at odds, after all.

But I am proud of my father. He does more range work than any amateur I know, and he maintains a comfortable single digit handicap. He’s still frustrated when he’s missing putts, and he keeps seeking the edge that will make him better. If others are saying, “Give up, old man,” he doesn’t seem to hear them. He’s still learning, looking for what’s new, layering it into the tested and proven.

This is what our spiritual lives should look like. We turn to God, and then we follow everywhere he leads. “Further up and further in,” said C.S. Lewis through the mouth of one of his Narnian animals who saw ahead to the wonders of eternity.

It is easy to think, in the face of such eager and victorious perspective, however, that there may be no such place for you, that you have wasted too many years, let too many opportunities slip by. I’ve heard this from those whose younger lives (and often their middle lives too) have been spent in what the Bible calls “folly.”

When Solomon wrote the opening pages of his proverbs, he warned his sons of the allurements of the adulteress. Sure, there were sexual pleasures in view here, but Scripture also commonly links adultery and idolatry. Both are functions of unfaithfulness; both dismiss the wise instructions of God and pursue that which does not last. Solomon wrote, “[Do not go this direction], lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel.”

So maybe that is how you view your own life—lost to the rash choices of unwise and prolonged youth.

But in steps Jesus, as he is always doing.

In Matthew 20, the Lord told the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. And here we see that the vineyard master’s favor fell equally on those who had worked all day and those who had come looking for work at the eleventh hour, not long before quitting time. This is the mercy of our God, allowing us still to turn to him, to learn what is right, and to do it in new wisdom.

Be encouraged. The wasted years, “the years that the locusts have eaten,” can be redeemed and restored (Joel 2:25). Your heart, your mind, your relationships, your work, your leisure—these can be reformed in the hands of the Potter. Let him do his work in you.

Jeff Hopper
May 6, 2015
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