I believe that it was Earl Nightingale who said, “Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.” Time? Where has it gone? It seems like only last year that we were coloring Easter eggs with our children, exploring what goodies were in their Easter basket, and then heading off to church suited up in our Easter best.
Taking full advantage of the time we have before us reminds me of two men whose story Luke shares with us toward the end of his Gospel. The setting is around two followers of Jesus who have not yet realized he has risen from the dead. They are walking to a little town called Emmaus which is about seven miles from Jerusalem, and as they walk along Jesus joins them in the way, but they don’t realize it’s really Him. Let’s listen in, shall we? “And he said unto them, what manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things?
They quickly unpacked the events of the past few day and then shared that they were astonished because some of the women who followed Jesus ministry said that they had seen him, and he was alive! Jesus quickly shares with them the writings of the scriptures from all that Moses said through the prophets about himself and all that was to happen. When they neared their destination, they begged him to stay with them. He sat down to eat and here’s what happens next… “And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.” WOW what a story! There they were one moment hopeless and tormented with their loss and the next filled with excitement and joy!
Have you ever had one those walks to Emmaus? I mean you find yourself scratching your head after a big event in your life, whether tragic or joyous, you just seem to look around and say “Now what do I do?” Let’s just take a quick look at these two men and see what we can observe. First I learn that often the greatest promise is right before our eyes and we don’t even recognize it. These guys walked seven miles with Jesus and didn’t even realize he was with them. You may say that’s terrible, how could anyone not recognize Jesus? But many a folk have walked more than seven miles in their lives and not seen Him either! Secondly I see a promise that was there whether we believe it or not. At this point, all they believe was that Jesus had died and some had claimed he was alive again. Yet in there very presence the proof of the resurrection was walking right with them! This reminds me that the truth of the Bible, the truth of a God that is real, and the trust of a risen Savior is still a reality whether you or I believe it or not! This leads me to my last thought. There remains a promise that when realized and embraced can change your life! When they realized who Jesus really was a few things changed. Broken and cold hearts were set ablaze through the experience of the Word of God becoming alive to them. They may have drug their feet walking away from Jerusalem, but they were now high tailing it back down the road to tell the Disciples what they had experienced.
At the end of what we often call the resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, Paul wrote, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Paul closed by saying, because Jesus is alive… Be steadfast. In other words, be consistent, determined, committed to the Gospel. Also, he mentioned being unmovable. Don’t let anything change your mind, your opinion or your faith. There are a lot of opinions out there… but one truth regarding eternal life! Then lastly… always abounding in God’s work. Keep at it, it won’t be for nothing. Eternity weighs things differently than the world. You are making a difference! That’s what’s we do now!