Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” (John 11:7-11 NRSV)
Jesus wants to go back to Judea so that he can raise his friend Lazarus from the dead. But this is where his opposition is and the disciples are rightly concerned. They caution Jesus not to go, reminding him of the dangers they had encountered before. Jesus simply asks, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight?” In spite of their fears, Jesus was telling the disciples that the time was right to go. The time was right to make a good difference for Lazarus and his family.
My college roommate often used the expression, “You’re here for a good time, not a long time!” Of course, her wild intention was to live rather crazily, with little regard for her health or safety, partying until the very end- however soon that end might come. My other roommates and I would shake our heads and laugh with her.
But there is some wisdom in her statement.
This earthly life does seem to pass swiftly, even when we live a long time. It’s often said that the seasons and years seem to pass more quickly as we age. We are given this precious life, and we have one opportunity to live it fully and well. We ARE here for a good time, and not for a long time.
What makes our time good is in doing what is right. Loving in abundance. Celebrating the moments. Caring for others. Helping where we can. Using our gifts in service to others. Sharing generously. Stewarding the earth and its creatures. Following Jesus wherever he leads. Our time becomes a ‘good’ time when we use our limited earthly days wisely, abundantly, and gratefully.
“Are there not twelve hours of daylight?” Jesus compels us to do all the good we can, while we can. This means setting aside our fears, too. We are called to follow the light of Christ even into the darkest corners. We are called to be the light of Christ for those we then find in the darkest corners. NOW is the time to be courageous, selfless, generous, and helpful. NOW is the time to make a difference for good in this world.
My roommate was right. We are not here on this earth for a long time. Let’s make it a good time. As Mary Oliver asks, “Tell me. What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”¹
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight?”
What will you do with them? How might you make a difference for someone today? Will you be a blessing? How might you care for God’s creation, God’s people, God’s creatures? Is there something you long to do but have lacked the courage? How will the good light of Christ shine in your life today?
Are there not twelve hours of daylight?
¹(Mary Oliver, The Summer Day)
Photo by Hammad Siddiqui on Unsplash.