Jesus said, “My time is not yet here,
but your time is always opportune.”
Quite often we see only one lesson from a passage. The mention of Jesus’ time as “not yet here” is one of the things he repeatedly told his disciples (John 2.4; 7.8,30). Later he would say of his time that it is “at hand” (John 13.1; 17.1). But notice that Jesus also made mention of their time (i.e., “your time”). That has as much relevance to us as disciples today as it did to those of Jesus’ day. Our time is always opportune. Because of that, Christians need to be ready at all seasons. Why is this so? How do we go about doing it, and what needs to be done?
While there is mention of “in season” and “out of season” in connection with preaching, it is always opportune to be “instant” in other ways. To be “instant” means to be ready or prepared. These words had special significance to Timothy and Titus as young preachers. Timothy was told to, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4.2). Titus was told in regard to his preaching to “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready for every good work” (Titus 3.1).
These admonitions were given to Timothy and Titus because opposition to sound doctrine was upon them. They needed to be ready to stand firm in the face of those who were on the verge of turning their ears away from truth unto fables. Titus was to stand firm in speaking of responsible and fitting behave or of aged brethren as well as younger brethren. Titus wrote, “Older men are to be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things sho yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”
It is always fitting to act in such a way that our lives would be worthy of imitation. The reality is, our manner of life is the only “bible” that most will ever read. What do they conclude about us? Paul wrote in Philippians 1.27, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ: that, whether I come and see you or be absent, I may hear of your state, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel.” He urged the Christians in Ephesus to, “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4.1).
The time is always opportune for spouses to be “instant” in regard to strengthening their vows to one another. This is done by praying together, behaving lovingly and affectionately toward one another, and addressing the respective needs that each have. As parents, the time is always opportune to exemplify to a child how to restrain anger by doing so in your own life in front of them. Through your example, teach your child how to control your tongue when under pressure and temptation to speak rashly and harshly. Teach them by not gossiping and slandering someone within their hearing. Show them what self-control is like. Then your words will be effective when you speak to them.
Be “instant” in preparing for situations that we know we will encounter. Two things will occur each day of our lives: trial of faith and opportunity to teach. Our faith needs to be our guide in all matters. We must make sure that our faith is based upon God’s word and not a perversion of it (Romans 10.17; Galatians 1.6-9).
We need to understand the benefit of having our faith put to the test. James wrote, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations; knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience. And let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing” (James 1.2-4). Peter likewise explained why we ought to greatly rejoice when our faith is tested, saying, “…that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold that perisheth though it is proved by fire, may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1.7).
God has called us by the gospel for this reason. Let us heed the admonition of the apostle Paul in this regard and “walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4.5).