Just One Sentence

Condensation is commonplace in today’s modern world. From condensed milk to powdered eggs and potatoes we find that many familiar items are reduced, condensed, or dehydrated so that they take only a fraction of their former space. Records are reduced to micro film, even the dead are cremated to a handful of ashes.

In reading the lives of the kings of Israel and Judah we find that a life of some 30 to 70 years is eventually reduced to just one sentence. ”And he did that which v as right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.’ Or, ’And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.” In between these two extremes we find ”And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart” and ”He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.’

Has it occurred to us that our life is also going to be condensed to just one sentence. What will that sentence be? Think of all the things we have done, all our hopes, plans, all our activities, all the things we have learned, places we have gone, people we knew, goods we acquired, money we earned and spent, jobs we’ve held, homes we’ve owned, cars we’ve driven, children we’ve raised, degrees we’ve received, awards we’ve won. meals we’ve cooked, a whole life of activity, condensed to just one sentence. Let’s stop where we are right now and contemplate that sentence. If it were to be written today, what would that one short sentence say? We need to remember Paul’s words of warning ”For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” We know what we would like to say if we could write that one sentence condensing our whole life into just a few words, but we are not the one that will pronounce it. Jesus will reduce our whole life into just a dozen or so words. What will he say about us’? Although he will state the verdict, we are the ones that will give him the material from which he will condense a life to a word. When milk is condensed, the non-essentials are removed and only the solid nutrients are left. When gold is refined in the fire, the dross is burnt up, the gold remains. When the wheat is winnowed, it is the chaff that blows away. When God condenses our life, all the extraneous non-essentials will be gone. What will be left? Only what we did for Jesus will remain.

Take a life of 66 years, 22 years of sleeping will be taken off, while another 22 years of laboring for the bread that perishes can in the main be discounted. We’ll have spent almost 6 years eating, a good 4 or 5 years commuting to and from work, perhaps 3 solid years of just reading the daily newspaper. We may have consumed 3 years in school and how many years we frittered away on trifles light as air, only God knows.

Now let’s take just a week instead of a lifetime and condense it down to just one sentence. We spent 168 hours last week. None spent more and none less, but how did we spend them? Would Jesus be able to say that we did that which was right with a perfect heart, right but not with a perfect heart, or evil, last week? Only the things we did for God will count. How much of the last 168 hours counted?

If Christ does not come this week, we will have a brand new 168 hours to spend and if he does not come this year, we’ll have 8,736 hours to fill with the things of God or the things of this life. Next week and next year can be different from last week and last year. It all depends on how we choose to fill those hours. May Jesus say of us at his coming that we did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.

Reproduced with the kind permission of the respective author. Visit Thechristadelphians.org for more Minute Mediations.