Time is running out

Father David Epps's picture

Once in a great while, I get the sense that time is running out. For example, on Sunday and Monday of this week, I was in three churches in three cities in Georgia and Tennessee ministering, teaching, answering questions, visiting, serving Holy Communion, and, of course, traveling.

On Tuesday, I had my first appointment at a hospital at 6 a.m. and dragged myself home sometime after 9:30 p.m. On Wednesday morning I had a full schedule when I realized that I was up against the deadline for the submission of this article. Time was running out.

Several months ago, before our church services on Sunday, a man said that his daughter wanted to go the full route on her professional graduate education. “It will take 12 years from now before she finishes,” he said. “Why, she will be 29!” He went on, “And I will be (I forget how old he said he will be).”

I thought a moment and said, “Hmmm, in 12 years I will be ...”

Here I was interrupted by my grandson Isaac who interjected, “Dead. In 12 years, you’ll be dead!” Then, eluding my hands reaching for his throat, he laughed and ran away. In 12 years, I will be 70.

Later that week, I was reading our assigned scriptures when this popped up: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten ...” (Psalm 90:10 KJV). “Threescore and ten” is 70 years.

Time is running out. Even if I live to 80, which is possible “by strength,” according to the psalmist, or even beyond that, time, whether I like it or not, is running out.

Oddly, that didn’t trouble or frighten me. Like writing an article when the deadline looms near, it caused me to put aside other things and focus on what needs to be done. Suddenly, I began to realize that there are some things that need to be done in our church and in our diocese that can’t be put off forever.

We need, for example, to consider our educational ministries, especially to children and youth, we need to implement ministries to the twenties and thirties and to the forties and fifties in our church. We need to pre-plan the next building projects. I want to see our church grow and prosper. We need a bell and a bell tower (not essential, maybe, but I want one). There is more, of course, but these are included.

In the diocese, we need to strengthen what we have and put policies, procedures, and people in order. We need to recruit young men for the priesthood and seek out those among us who are called to be deacons. We need to strengthen and enhance the ministry of the laity. We need to target areas to evangelize and strengthen our educational and continuing education ministry. I need consider putting staff in place so that, if I don’t make it to threescore and ten, the churches and the diocese will do just fine without me.

I want to finish paying off the house. We are almost there — maybe even this year or the next. There’s some painting and repairs to do. I want to see a few places I haven’t yet seen. I suppose I need a “bucket list,” a list of things to do before I “kick the bucket.”

Mostly, I want to get things right in my own spiritual, moral, and physical life and help others to do the same.

Here’s the thing I have learned about the end of our days — they always come before we think they will. As the song recorded by Rod Stewart and others says, “People get ready, there’s a train a-comin.” It will be here all too soon. Deadlines loom. There’s much to do.

Time to focus. Time to consider what is important and essential. Time is running out.

[David Epps is the founding pastor of The Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277, between Peachtree City and Newnan. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship in Savoy, IL. He may be contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org.]

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