As I get older, it seems that time passes more quickly than it did when I was younger. And lately, I have had several things happen that just reinforce how much I have lived. Today, our daughter, Jill, was asking me about my younger years and some of the family history. I couldn’t help but be reminded that one of my cousins and I worked together when we were much younger – in the mid 1970’s. I recently received a letter from him – he’s now 81 years old… I couldn’t help but think about all the things that have transpired since I last saw Cousin Ron in Hattiesburg, MS more than 40 years ago.
And then there was the chance earlier this week to assist a neighbor who had received a telescope as a gift but needed help assembling it. Many of you probably don’t know that I used to love watching the night sky and some time ago I learned a fair amount about telescopes and the different constellations – particularly in the winter sky. Finding the North Star (Polaris), the Big and Little Dippers, Orion and my old friends, the twins Pollux and Castor are things that I almost do automatically each winter.
I have forgotten some of the stuff I knew and, for sure, I get frustrated from time to time using my own telescope to find heavenly bodies in the night sky. As you may know, there have been many opportunities to view some of the planets lately as we have been in a somewhat active period of skywatching.
Well, I finally got our neighbor’s telescope working and I really felt good about the whole experience. So much so that I felt the tug to get out my own scope and start to play with it again. It’s been a while – years I am afraid – but like an old friend, it was there on the shelf just waiting to be picked up and used once again.
The problem is that there were several loose parts and I had to go through and tighten things up. Then, I took the tripod out of the closet and found that it was broken – undoubtedly a brittle part that just finally fell apart. I got industrious and called several companies that deal in parts and gave them my telescope model number in the hopes of finding another tripod.
They reminded me that my scope wasn’t a current model and while I thought that I had purchased it 10-15 years ago, I found out that it went out of production in 1992 – almost 30 years ago. Apparently, I bought it in 1989. I absolutely couldn’t believe it. I remember the day that Janet and I went to Miami from Ft. Lauderdale where we were vacationing at the time to look at, and then purchase, our scope to watch the night sky. It seems like it was yesterday!
On hindsight, I guess that I wish that we had bought a larger one, but at the time, it was the most that we could afford. Since then – every several years or so – I get it out, set it up and spend some time surveying the cosmos from our driveway or the back patio. It can be a lonely experience – alone in the middle of the night – and so my attention span would wane from time to time and eventually the scope went back on the shelf until the next urge to explore the galaxy came upon me.
But I had no idea how long it has been since we made that trip to Miami. I figured out that it has been more than 11,300 nights that I have had the chance to view the night sky since that fateful day. And while I have certainly learned quite a bit, I am by no means an expert and every time I get excited about the night sky, I almost have to start from scratch.
However, whenever I realize how much time has passed in my life, I remember a certain psalm that was immortalized in a popular song a number of years ago. And that is our verse for tonight. We are told by the psalmist, in Psalm 84:10, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere…” Just think about that. Heaven must be an awesome place to think that one day there is better than 1000 days anywhere else. Of course, time really doesn’t have any relevance in heaven – since we will be there for eternity.
My encouragement is that Jesus has gone before us to prepare a place for us to live with Him for all time. My prayer is that we will make use of each and every day we are on this earth to model the behavior that Jesus would wish for us to exhibit to others. Because the thousands of days that we have here on earth are all opportunities to show grace, joy, hope, encouragement and the love of Christ to others. And that’s what it is all about, isn’t it? Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…