ODJ: the gift of time

October 2, 2013 

READ: John 12:20-36 

Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity (v.25).

As a nurse, Geri knew that at any moment she might be called on to help in a medical emergency. But she never really expected it. One day, as her family were on holiday in a northern resort town, a man near her suddenly crumpled to the ground. Geri’s training kicked in. Her quick actions kept him alive.

Later the man wanted to give her a tangible expression of his deep appreciation. So he presented her with an exquisite clock engraved with the message: “Thank You for the Gift of Time.”

Long ago a Judean king asked God for the gift of time. Hezekiah had rid the land of pagan worship practices and guided his people back to life based on justice, mercy and obedience to the one true God. But in his late 30s he became deathly sick. At that time, he “turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord” (2 Kings 20:2). Then he “wept bitterly” (v.3). The result? God added 15 years to Hezekiah’s life (v.6).

We can relate to the young king’s reaction to bad news. But Jesus knew that His death was necessary—something that required the surrendering of His will (Luke 22:42). Speaking of His own death, He said, “Unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives” (John 12:24). Then He invited us to join Him: “Anyone who wants to be My disciple must follow Me . . . . And the Father will honour anyone who serves Me” (v.26).

Those who truly learn to live find themselves caring less and less about clinging to life. As Jesus said, “Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity” (v.25). —Tim Gustafson

Read 2 Kings 20:1-11 to learn the amazing story of Hezekiah’s new lease on life. What does verse 6 say about God’s motive for extending his life? 
What would it mean for you—in practical terms—to disregard your life in this world? What priorities of yours are based in this life only?