The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you,
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age"
January 3, 2016
1) The Days of Our Years (Morris W.R. Bailey)
2) News & Notes
The Days of Our Years
Morris W.R. Bailey
Editors note: Though the following article was written 54
years ago, it still has much relevance for today, as we begin our
When you read these lines, we will have crossed the threshold of
another year. There have been, on the part of some, the usual New
Year celebrations. With some it has been a time for making New Year
resolutions. With many business firms it will be a time for taking
inventory. As the clouds of war loom upon the horizon, and nations
are feverishly engaged in an armament race, political leaders view
the coming year apprehensively.
To the Christian, confident in the belief that "To them that love
God, all things work together for good" (Rom. 8:28), business
interests and world tensions will be of minor concern when compared
with the great issues of eternity. Nevertheless, we live in a world
of time. The skeptic, Herbert Spencer, spoke of the five
manifestations of the unknowable as time, force, action, space, and
matter. Our plans are made with regard to time, and are governed
largely by the clock or the calendar. Solomon said, "For everything
there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven" (Eccl.
3:1). Recognizing this great truth, we sow seed in the spring and
reap the harvest in the autumn. The events of history have been
recorded with due regard for time, either B.C. or A.D. In point of
duration they are spoken of in terms of days, weeks, months, and
Since time occupies such an important place in the warp and woof of
life, the fact that we have entered upon another year should be an
occasion for sober meditation. We are one year nearer to our eternal
destiny than we were this time last year. We have one year less of
our allotted span in which to serve God and to prepare for that day
when we must give account to God for the way in which we have used
the time that He has given us. The year of 1961 now lies behind us
and has merged with the eternal past. It cannot be relived. The
unkind and the unjust things that we have done cannot be undone.
Unkind words that have been said cannot be unsaid. We can only hope
and trust that God has graciously forgiven us our trespasses.
Opportunities that we have neglected have probably gone forever. We
can only hope to make use of other opportunities that will be ours
in the coming year.
The year of our Lord 1962 now lies before us. What will it hold for
us? Will it be a year of more devoted service to God? Will it be a
year of spiritual growth, or will it be a year of backsliding? What
will it mean for the church of the Lord? Will it see congregations
standing firm for the truth? Or will it see many of them drifting
into apostasy? These are questions that only the future can answer.
I am reminded here, of the words spoken by Joshua, in the long ago,
as he was giving the children of Israel last minute instructions
prior to leading them across the river Jordan and into the land of
promise. "Ye have not passed this way heretofore" (Joshua 3:4). How
much like life! Insofar as the future is concerned we will be
traveling an unfamiliar road, for we have not passed this way
heretofore. To this we may add that we will not pass this way again,
since the door of man's past is locked the moment he leaves it.
As our thoughts are turned toward the coming year,--its
possibilities and its probabilities, it would be well for us to
meditate upon a passage of scripture spoken by the Psalmist David
and recorded in Psalm 90:10-12: "The days of our years are
threescore and ten. Or by reason of strength fourscore years; Yet is
their pride but labor and sorrow; For it is soon gone and we fly
away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger, and thy wrath according
to the fear that is due unto thee? So teach us to number our days,
that we may get us a heart of wisdom."
In these words God teaches us that our lives are very brief. Even if
we attain unto our threescore and ten years, or by reason of
strength, fourscore years our life has still been comparatively
short. Ask anyone who has lived out his allotted span and he will
tell how rapidly the years have come and gone.
Even those of us who have reached middle age, realize that each year
seems to pass a little more rapidly than the preceding one. And so,
in view of the brevity of life, David said, "Teach us to number our
days that we may get us a heart of wisdom." How much we need to heed
the admonition of David. Time is a precious commodity and should
never be wasted. Benjamin Franklin said, "If time is of all things
most precious, then wasting time is the greatest prodigality." How
true! Money that has been lost, may be recovered or replaced; but
time that has been wasted is irretrievable. In these days of
inflation we budget our money and try to make it stretch as far as
possible. How much we need to number our days and crowd into them
the utmost in service to God and man, realizing that soon they will
be gone forever.
The Bible abounds in expressions that teach us of the brevity and
the uncertainty of life. Job said, "My days are swifter than a
weaver's shuttle" (Job 7:6). David said, "As for man, his days are
as grass; as a flower of the field he flourisheth" (Psalms 103:15).
Jesus told of a certain rich man whose land brought forth so
plentifully that he had no place to store his abundance of goods.
Then he thought of a plan. He said, "I will tear down my barns and
build bigger ones, and there will I bestow all my grain and my
goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up
these many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God
said unto him, Thou fool, this night is thy soul required of thee,
and these goods that thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?" (Luke
God called this man a fool. Why? From the divine standpoint there
were several reasons for calling him foolish. He was unthankful for
his blessings. In fact there is no acknowledgment on his part that
God had given him his bountiful harvest. Then too, he left God out
of his plans for the future. Further, he had a false sense of
values. He seemed to think that his riches would supply everything
But another, and perhaps his greatest mistake, is seen in his use of
the expression, "these many years." He thought that he had a
long-term lease on life. And how mistaken he was! Already death was
knocking at his door. God said, "This night shall thy soul be
required of thee." Yet many are making the same mistake today and
living as if they expected to be here forever, not heeding the
warnings of inspiration and the events of history which teach us
that life is so uncertain. The holiday season just past has
witnessed the usual number of tragedies. In the air, in flaming
buildings, on crowded highways the grim reaper has struck without
warning leaving a trail of frustrated plans, broken homes and
As touching the uncertainty of life, the language of James is very
pertinent. "Come now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will go into
this city, and spend a year there, and trade and get gain; whereas
ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye
are a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth
away. For ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live and
do this or that" (James 4:13-15). We have a cloud of mist as it
hangs out in the early morning air, and how quickly it is dispelled
by the rising sun. One moment we see it. The next moment it has
disappeared from our view. How much like the life of man! So short
and so uncertain. One moment he stands before us a conscious being,
vibrant with life. But tragedy strikes, and the next moment he lies
before us unconscious and locked in the cold embrace of death. On
this basis James teaches us a lesson that is sorely needed. He tells
us that our plans for the future should be made subordinate and
subject to the will of God. Someone has well said, "Man proposes;
but God disposes." This is so true with regard to the uncertainty of
life. The best-laid plans are often frustrated by the sudden
visitation of death.
The Bible lays considerable emphasis upon making the proper use of
and the most use of the time that God has given us. Jesus, himself,
set an example along this line. "I must work the works of him that
sent me while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work"
(John 9:4). Thus Jesus taught that this lifetime is all that we have
in which to work for God. Soon will come the dark night of death
when we must leave our unfinished tasks to others.
In writing to the Ephesians, Paul said, "Look carefully how ye walk,
not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are
evil" (Eph. 5:15,16). Thus Paul taught that time is something that
must be redeemed. The footnote makes this perhaps even clearer when
it says, "Buying up the opportunities." During our lifetime we will
have opportunities to do good. Time can be redeemed only by making
use of our opportunities. The Christian who places the proper value
on time will never neglect them. Once they are gone they will
probably never return.
How much of our time is given to God and to the things that relate
to God's kingdom? Many professed Christians seem to think that an
hour or so spent in the worship service of the church on Lord's Day
morning fulfills their obligations. Statistics sometimes reveal
things, which are cause for grave concern. Such is true of an
article I read some time ago in which the writer gave a breakdown of
the average life of seventy years and the amount of time spent in
various activities. The facts presented were as follows: Three years
spent in education, Eight years spent in amusements. Six years spent
at the meal table. Five years spent in transportation. Four years
spent in conversation. Fourteen years spent in work. Three years
spent in reading. Twenty-four years spent in sleeping. Three years
spent in sickness. The reader will be reminded that the above
figures only represent an average.
But the disturbing aspect of the matter is that the article further
pointed out that if one spends an hour in church service each week,
in a lifetime of seventy years it will amount to about five months.
Think of it! Sixty-nine years and seven months of our life spent in
temporal pursuits. Five months of our life given to God. Yet many
Christians think that their only obligation is to be present at the
worship service on Lord's Day morning. What shall be said for those
who attend only casually?
1961 is now past. 1962 lies ahead. We cannot change the past. We can
only hope to make the best use of future opportunities. Lord, teach
us to number our days. To those who wish to make 1962 a better year,
we commend the words of the apostle Peter, found in 1 Peter 3:10,11:
"For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his
tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him
eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it."
- Via Truth Magazine VI: 4, pp. 1, 8-9, January 1962
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians continue to remember in prayer
the family and friends of Lonnie Drain (who passed away
December 27), Danielle Howard (swelling in arm), Anita
Young (healing from hip surgery that removed the bursa), Shirley
Davis (hip trouble), Deborah Medlock (pain around
shoulder area), Mary Vandevander and Sue Wooten (shut-ins),
Andra Johnson (difficulty in pregnancy), Misty Thornton
(heart trouble), and Michelle Rittenhouse (heart
WordPress version of this bulletin:
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith
comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John
8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10;
5) Be baptized in water for the
remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not,
salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM
& 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
(Gospel Observer website)