Living on borrowed time?

Cathy Bayert

Waiting is powerful.  Banns, which gave anyone within hearing the right to state why two named people should not be married, used to be published for about a month followed by a three month waiting period before a wedding could be held.  They say, “Marry in haste repent at leisure.”  When people wanted to divorce in the 1950s, they often had to wait a year without marital relations before divorce could be completed. 

Romans 12:7 reads, “Let him that ministers wait on his ministry.”  

James 1:4  urges, “Let patience have her perfect work, you may be perfect (complete, whole, mature) and entire, wanting or lacking nothing.”

Waiting is important and learning to wait is an integral part of maturity.  If you get pregnant, there will be nine months of waiting until that child arrives.  Saving rather than borrowing to purchase a house or car involves waiting and carries its own rewards.  

Of the 365 days of the year, 40 of them are the Lenten journey; 36.5 days would be ten percent of the year, 40 is just over that.  Perhaps we might designate these 40 days as a tithe of our selfishness.

Observing Lent sets aside time to loose ourselves from the shackles of self-centeredness and -reliance to trust in the Lord.  We give ourselves pause and take a breath.  During Lent, we restrict ourselves to gain focus on what is most important.  We number our days that we may apply ourselves to wisdom (Psalm 90:12).

“Selah” appears 74 times in the Hebrew Bible, primarily in Psalms.  Definitions coalesce this way:  “selah” serves as a marker, inviting us to pause, reflect, and perhaps lift our hearts in praise.  It’s an appropriate word for Lent:  pause, reflect, and perhaps lift our hearts in praise.  Pause and think calmly about that!

Isaiah 28:16 warns:  “He that believes shall not make haste.”

The enemy of our souls uses the pressure of urgency to push us into decisions we regret later.  Advertisers want us to hurry up ‘cause time’s a-wasting:  Black Friday, Pre-Black Friday, Post-Black Friday, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas, every day is a day to buy stuff . . . 

Although people fast or give up all kinds of things during Lent, we might consider Isaiah 58, which outlines how God views fasting: feed the hungry; clothe the naked; visit the sick and those in prison; call the Seventh Day, the Sabbath, a delight by spending it worshipping God, not speaking your own words or doing our own pleasures, but speaking His words, and developing your relationship with Him and your brothers and sisters in Christ.

The enemy pushed and prodded Jesus to invoke his selfish desires.  His response was unexpected.  He spoke powerful scriptures.  He was victorious in spiritual battle, but then, He lived a fasted life.  He overcame through skilled use of the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12) as an example to us.

Are we willing to deny our own desires by laying down our lives daily?  Taking up our crosses, the instrument of death, and following Christ, living for others and not ourselves?

I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Galatians 2:20 KJV

Will I, “by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life”?  (Romans 2:7 KJV)

(Cathy Bayert is pastor of Greybull First Baptist Church.)