“The sun sets fast here!” I have heard that phrase from many first-time mission trippers to Middle Earth; you know, that beautiful country named for the invisible line that circles the Earth at its beltline. In fact, you hear it a lot in places closest to the equatorial zones of the planet. The reason is because the sun rises and sets in a much more perpendicular fashion there than it does in the north and south, where the oblique angle of the setting sun results in lingering rays of light for longer time. Make sure you’re not out on a lazy, leisurely stroll in the jungle toward the end of the daylight hours, unprepared for the sudden darkness nightfall brings.

Life is a lot like that. Some people are given lifespans that wind down predictably, with dusk at the end of a long full day. When light wanes and shadows come, they casually prepare for the darkness that night brings. We could compare the lives of other people to those who are caught out in the midst of the day’s activities when the sun sets and night catches them unprepared. How will your life end?

In 1 Chronicles 29:13-15, David prayed,

“And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.”

He rightly says that all we have and are is a gift from God. How we use all that He has given us is our gift back to Him. We should never think we have earned what we have, or that anything we can give to Him or His people did not come from Him. Your life, gifts, resources, and days are His, but placed in your hands to use for His glory. The rich fool in Luke 12:13-21 forgot that truth. He believed the lie that he had earned by his own resourcefulness – and had a right to hoard – all he had amassed. Like many today, he lived by the mantra, “Get all you can, can all you get, and sit on the can.” God said he was a fool for thinking and living like that.

Night is coming when no man can work. Right now, you have life and resources that God has given you. He wants you to use your life, money, days, and influence to get the Truth to the lost and to help the homeless, hungry, and hurting. I talk to people all the time who tell me that they hope to do missions one day, to give more to missions when they pay off their credit cards, car, or student loans, and some of them sincerely think they will at some point. Maybe.

Sun sets fast on the equator. Some of you are living at metaphorical latitudes that will enable you to enjoy your twilight years, peacefully watching the strength and length of your life ebb out, while others of you live where your lives will go from light to darkness with little warning.

I recently heard an Indian man say, “There is no present like the time.” At first, I thought he had made a mistake in remembering the proverb. Then I realized that he was precisely right. What can you give God and a hurting world right now? There is no present like the time.

Dr. David Sills

Dr. David Sills is the founder and president of Reaching & Teaching International Ministries, a missions professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaker, and author.

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