I grew up in a big church in Birmingham and the pastor who was there during my most formative years was absolutely fantastic. Dr. Charles T. Carter was exactly what you’d picture for a big Southern Baptist congregation. White hair, jolly, energetic and not afraid to do a little yelling from the pulpit as the Spirit led.
Naturally, I don’t remember many specific sermons he preached but there is one that comes back to my mind every year as the weather turns cooler. “Come Before Winter.” He preached it every November and it spoke to people again and again each year.
The title is taken from 2 Timothy where Paul is telling Timothy not to delay in coming to him.
“Do your best to come to me quickly.” 2 Timothy 4:9
“Do your best to get here before winter.” 2 Timothy 4:21
Paul was in prison on death row. He didn’t know how much longer he had.
The point is, we are all on death row. None of us know how much longer we have.
I once saw a si-fi television show where a man had the ability to see ticking clocks above everyone’s heads. Each clock represented the amount of time left in each person’s life. He could see (and save) the man about to step out in front of a bus and he could see children’s’ clocks who’s time was shorter than their parents.
Although it can’t be seen, we all have a ticking clock. We don’t like to think about it but having a healthy perspective on the finality of our lives can be so beneficial.
James 4:14 says “What is your life? It is like a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
As we head into this holiday season, think about what you need to do.
What have you been putting off?
Who have you been putting off?
Who’s need do you need to meet?
What part of your life do you need to get in order?
What do you need to do?
What do you need to say?
What do you need to impress upon the hearts of your children?
Where do you need to “Come before winter?”