A story is told of a Jewish
rabbi, aged and revered by his students. He was dying, and his students
came to him to ask him the questions they thought most important. One
student asked, “On what day should a man repent?
The rabbi’s answer puzzled the
student: “A man should repent on the last day of his life.”
“But how can anyone know which is
the last day of his life?
“That is why a man should repent
“But I am young and strong,” you
say, “and there are many years before the end.” Really? Is it
so? Hear the words of Solomon:
I again saw
under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the
warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor
favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.
A familiar Scripture reading, and
who are you to say that time and chance will not overtake you? Indeed,
Solomon makes the matter clear in the next verse:
Moreover, man does
not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a
snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls
So heed the words of this wise
man; you are not guaranteed tomorrow. Thus you should repent every day.
There is another reason, however,
which is more subtle and sinister. Each day that goes by without your
repentance tightens sin’s grip on your throat. The sin which will be
difficult to renounce today will, in time, become so strong that you will find
you do not have the strength to give it up.
What should you do? Repent,
of course, and ask for the clean heart He will give you as you do.
Why is this important at the time
of Communion? Because at Communion we deal with the fact that we are
sinners, and He is our sacrifice of atonement. Repent, therefore, and
looking back—and see the sacrifice He made for your life.
looking at today. “Just as I am” comes to Jesus today; for today is the
day, now is the hour.
looking forward to His return, when all the thoughts of a man’s heart and the
actions done in secret will be proclaimed to one and all.
Today just might be the last day
of your life.