By Curtis Shelburne
Won’t it be nice to be out of time?
I repeat: Won’t it be nice to be out of time?
I don’t wonder that you’re confused. You’re probably thinking: Whaddaya mean? “Nice” to be out of time? I find myself “out of time” already innumerable times every week, and running out of time may be many things, but nice is not one of them. Try another word, Dumbo.
How about “frustrating?”
Maddening? Depressing? Infuriating?
I think all of those words well describe how most of us feel when we “run out of time.”
A job to do.
A test to take.
A vacation to enjoy.
A conversation to savor.
A flavor to savor.
A letter to write.
A book to write.
A book to read.
A race to run.
A game to play.
A nap to nap.
A puppy to hug.
A marriage to delight in.
A child to raise.
A laugh to laugh again.
A friendship to nurture.
A story to tell.
A time to say, “I love you.”
A life to live.
And you can add plenty of items to my list. But don’t take too long, or . . . you’ll run out of time.
The bell will ring.
The alarm will go off.
The vacation will end.
The job will lose its joy.
The time for the laughter will be lost.
The strength you need to play the game will vanish.
The friendship will be fractured or the friend long gone.
The marriage, still cherished, will be over because marriage takes two and one has passed away.
The marriage, now bitter, will be over because marriage takes two and one has run away.
Ah, we’re always running out of time-until the day we really run out of time when the grim reaper visits and . . .
I was bemoaning to my brother the other day that I had one week in which to do the work of two. It’s so hard to get ready to be out of town, but I need to go. My e-mail to him ended, “It’s always so hard to get off [on a trip]!”
His reply: “Not if you have a heart attack, like the guy I’m burying this afternoon. He’s off! Too bad that’s what it takes to finally stop the race.”
Hmm. So we run, and run, and run. And sometimes we even remember why we’re running and stop to realize that some of what we’re running after might even be worth the race. Some. But then we run out of time. Really.
But think about it. For those whose faith is in the eternal God of Heaven, surely one of Heaven’s best blessings will be to be “out of time.” Really. And to have all eternity to drink in God’s joy and do, well, anything that brings Him glory and magnifies His-and your-joy.
No tears there, we’re told. No clock-watching, either.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at