As the old year closes and sinks into the infinite sea of eternity, and as we stand on the threshold of the new year that lies mysteriously veiled before us, strange feelings and serious thoughts of eternity come to us. How extremely important it is to stand still in this busy time of rushing and running and to mentally reflect on the past and look forward to the future! Yes, how necessary it is to look at matters in their proper light, in the light of eternity, and in the light of the Word of God!
The worldly person cannot perceive it, but he whose spiritual eyes are opened and whose aspiration is not to live in vain in this world will realize how short and void time is, how transient the things of this earth are. With the psalmist, he can agree: “Indeed, you have made my days as handbreadths” (Psalm 39:5). Yes, our life is like a vapor that lasts only a brief time but then disappears!
With such serious contemplation, who would not recognize the value of time and how necessary it is to make proper use of it and to heed the exhortation of Scripture: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16)! Time is only a tiny fragment of eternity, only a breath, only brief moments compared to eternity.
Do you know, oh soul, the meaning and value of time? It is a gift of God entrusted to you to be utilized for God’s glory, for the good of your fellow men, and for your preparation for eternity. Your eternal destination depends on the utilization of the short span of time. Depending on how you utilize this time, so will be your condition in eternity. Oh, how fateful a moment can become! What a lot of responsibility is often connected with it!
An opportunity comes to everyone, and we must seize it. At a certain time in our life, every person comes to a point where they have to choose which way to go. At some point, everyone comes to the crossroad of two paths, one of which leads down to eternal perdition and the other to the bright heights of the eternal homeland. Each of us is confronted with a decision, an eternal decision. Oh, what a serious thought! How many have failed to make the correct choice at this point. They will regret it for time and eternity.
How many precious, immortal souls have gone into eternity since the last year’s end, and how many among them were not ready to meet their God! One’s heart should tremble at the thought of eternal condemnation. How many are taken away daily by drunkenness, addictions, and other sins! The world is falling deeper and deeper into sin. Further and further, it is drifting away from God. Closer and closer it comes to destruction!
What will the new year bring? Only God knows the future. However, His children can see the signs of the times, which tell them that all the events that have happened so far are only forerunners and that even greater and more serious things are in store for us, and the end of time is approaching. Oh, let us therefore be sober, let us watch and pray, for the Lord will come at an hour when we do not expect it.
Dear soul, hold silent contemplation! Stand still and look back into the past and also forward into the future! Say with the psalmist: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23, 24).
Also examine yourself to see if you are in the faith and how your soul is doing. Ask yourself: How have I spent the time that has passed? For whom have I lived? What were the motives of my heart? Was it selfishness and self-interest, or was it love for God that animated my deeds? What fruits did I bear for eternity? What progress have I made? What is the state of my spiritual life anyway? Am I still on the right path, or have the little foxes managed to sneak into my vineyard and destroy the vines? Examine yourself seriously, dear soul, for self-deception is easy, oh so easy. Satan makes concerted efforts to deceive the children of God, to blind their spiritual eyes. How many souls would he like to persuade that all is well with them, when in fact everything is wrong, and that instead of the narrow path, they are on the broad one that leads to eternal damnation!
Oh, how serious we should be about time, about life, and especially now when there is so much sorrow, misery, and distress in the world. Therefore, let us make every effort in the new year to help our fellow human beings who are suffering in body and soul, so that God’s name may be glorified and many more may be saved. Let us strive and earnestly pray that we may make the most of the new year for God and eternity as we have never done before. Let us live as if each day were our last, so that we may be ready at all times to meet our God and give an account of our lives with joy.