“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5 (ESV)
Bam! History split right in two.
The great divide.
Before Christ (BC) and Anno Domini (AD) have anchored the world’s calendar to the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth ever since.
What a difference one day made!
From the very beginning, God the Father had a plan to send his only Son into the world, and he chose the perfect time for Jesus’ arrival. Jesus came in the “fullness of time,” when everything was as it should be and the world was ready.
Punctuality can be a good thing, but mine is often not such an endearing character trait with my family and friends. They find it annoying. I am an extremely time conscious person. I’m always early (and I do mean “always”) unless I choose to be late by intention, or have been in a car crash. I have such an acute sense of the clock throughout the day that I always know what time it is, regardless of what’s happening around me. My friend, Lanette, used to arbitrarily blurt out, “What time is it?” and I would have to guess. I was often accurate to within three minutes despite the fact that I don’t own a watch and wasn’t allowed to look at my cell phone.
What is that?
Some call it an obsession.
They may be right, but I have another opinion.
Jesus came in the “fullness of time.” Since the beginning of human history and the fall of man, God the Father patiently waited for the day when he would send his only Son to earth to provide the way of reunion with him. Jesus did that. He entered history, fulfilled all that God asked of him, and provided the way for our salvation. It was the perfect moment in history for Jesus to come.
Time matters to God.
Jesus’ birth is the defining moment of history, the moment when everything in the world changed forever. It certainly was a watershed moment for humanity.
We all have defining moments in our lives that can forever mark us and rewrite our history:
- The beliefs you had before attending college versus the impact your professors had on your worldview.
- The person you were before military service and who you became when you were deployed to a war zone.
- The character traits you possessed before marriage and how they evolved after the years of adjustment.
- Who you were before having children and who you became after the sharp learning curve equipped you to parent.
- Who you were when gainfully employed and how that reverberation has redefined you since losing your job.
- The freedom you experienced before cancer and the impact the diagnosis has had on your life.
We all have watershed moments in our lives that have the ability to change us forever. I’m dealing with my own “great divide” right now. I moved from Oregon to Colorado at the beginning of December, and I’m still waiting to see how much impact this change will have on my life and my character.
My pastor in Oregon often encouraged our congregation to think globally and not forget the needs that exist in the world. As a result, many church members participated in mission trips to Haiti, Jamaica, Denmark, India, and other foreign destinations. Pastor Bill would often say that we were being “distributed” around the world to take what we learned at home and use it abroad. The influence of this small band of believers has been significant!
Confession: I never participated in one of the international outreaches; they intimidated me. Instead, I eagerly volunteered to pray for everyone else who was going, and pray I did. I figured as long as I was praying, I wouldn’t be “distributed” like everyone else. Well, I’ve been distributed. I’m looking down the barrel of my own BC/AD line that has the capability of changing who I am and rewriting my own history. Although Colorado is not a “foreign” country, it feels foreign to me at the moment, so I’ve been calling it my era “Before Colorado and After Distribution.”
2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
I believe that time matters, and I believe that God’s timing is perfect. God is all about timing and he’s all about patience. In fact, God is patiently waiting for us again. He has “delayed” his return so that all will come to repentance. He wants everybody in so, once again, God is waiting for that perfect, fullness of time moment so that he can reenter history and bring his plan to a conclusion.
Not only is God’s timing perfect, but his use of that time is perfect as well. He doesn’t waste a second. Every moment of our lives matters to God and he will pursue us even to the very end of our days on earth. His desire is that none of us perish without him, so he will continue to woo us into a relationship with him as long as there is breath in our bodies.
God cares about time.
This Christmas as I think about the great divide that occurred in Bethlehem when Jesus stepped into history, I’m compelled to think about how perfect it all was and how strategic God was. God is still strategic. He’s still perfect. He has a plan for my being in Colorado, and he has a plan for the “great divides” that occur in your life too.
Every minute matters, make the most of them.
Merry Christmas everybody!
©Copyright, 2011 by Donna Tallman.