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There Is a Too Late!
The Great Deception
How often do we hear the phrase "It's never too late." This phrase usually has something to do with changing your life in some way. For example, George Eliot once said: "It's never too late to be what you might have been." And Maya Angelou tells us: "I'm convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they're stones that don't matter. As long as you're breathing, it's never too late to do some good." Also, the famous basketball player, Michael Jordon, gives us this advice: "My father used to say that it's never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, "You never know what you can accomplish until you try."
While I understand the reasoning behind each of these statements, and there is truth in each, I would humbly submit that there is a too late in life. We have to stop thinking that we have all the time in the world and realize that God has placed us on this planet for a short period. In that time He has created us for a purpose that only He can help us fulfill. If we squander that gift of time, it is gone forever.
There are many examples of a too late in life. Here are only a few.
I. Too Late for Marriage Reconciliation
There can come a time when it's too late to reconcile with a mate if you've neglected them for other things. Certainly at their death it is too late to get back the time you could have spent demonstrating your love to them and building a strong relationship. It is a sad thing to see a spouse, at the grave of their husband or wife, expressing their regret for the things they didn't say to or do for them while they were alive.
And while the Bible doesn't condone divorce, nevertheless I have witnessed the break-up of marriages where one spouse refused to reconcile. Even though Paul recommends that a couple get back together, you can't do anything if one of the parties will not cooperate. Of course, I've also seen divorce, leading ultimately to a spouse marrying another person, having children by them and starting another family. Reconciling at that point would require the break-up of two families.
II. Too Late to Rear Children Properly
And how about the 18 to 20 years that we have to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Parents often spend so much time working to give their children all the latest material goods and gadgets that they forget that the greatest gift you can give to a child is time.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells us this about parents and children:
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."
These verses imply something quite crucial in the rearing of children. The parents have to be around the children a lot in order to impress on them the commandments of God. As all parents know, the kids grow up so fast. Before you know it, if you haven't impressed upon them your values, you could find that the world has impressed upon them it's own understanding of morality. By that time it may be too late to change them.
III. Too Late for Wasted Youth
Ecclesiastes 12:1 says it best when it tells us: "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them".
The truth is, unless we die early, we will all get old. Our body will not be as strong or as able to do things that it once found quite easy. For many who haven't done the Lord's will with their bodies, it may get to the point where they regret their misspent youth. The many productive years that God had given them will one day be only a memory of things that might have been.
And, if nothing else there is the Judgment Seat of Christ, where all Christians will stand and answer for the things done in their bodies, whether good or bad (II Corinthians 5;10). Those things not done for the Lord will be like wood, hay and stubble burned in a fire before our eyes. And Scripture teaches that we will suffer loss for these wasted opportunities (I Corinthians 3:15). What a terrible thing to see your whole life burned before your eyes and being saved "so as by fire." There is no doubt that there will be regret at the sight of such a thing. But by then, it will be too late to change it.
IV. The Ultimate Too Late
None of the other "too lates" compare with the ultimate one found in Scripture. There will come a time when it is too late for salvation. A man can go his whole life without accepting the gift of eternal life, offered to us by God's grace based upon the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus is the only way into heaven (John 14:6) and those who refuse such a great salvation have no other means to reconcile them to a holy God. There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that the unsaved dead are given another chance beyond the grave. They will be raised to a judgment of condemnation for the sins they have committed. And at the Great White Throne Judgment of our Lord, there will be a too late.
It is my hope that those who read this will search their lives and see where they may be wasting opportunities to fulfill the will of God. And may none of us fall for the lie that "it's never too late" We all must heed the advice of the Apostle Paul and : "redeem the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). We must make the most of each and every opportunity to do what is right and good. May we someday look back on our lives and be thankful for all that the Lord has accomplished through us. And may we never have a moment of regret for that which it is simply too late to do. Yesterday, is gone. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to us. Let us do now what we know is right. Then in the end, we can cast our crowns before the feet of Him who has given us the time and the energy to bring to Him glory by what we have done.