If you haven’t read the Bell Mountain series by Lee Duigon, it is outstanding (though I am only on book two). In short, it begins as two children set off to climb Bell Mountain to fulfill a prophecy (and a sense of compelling curiosity from associated and recurrent dreams) in the ancient writings that when one rings the bell at the summit, God will bring about the end of the world. They meet an old hermit, Obst, who is well versed in the Old Books and he accompanies them to the top. As they get close to the summit Obst becomes weary and has to stop as he is soon to die, but desires to hear the the ringing of the bell by the children before he does. As the kids summit and ring the bell, Obst surprisingly regains his strength and realizes that God has given him another opportunity. He asks, “Lord, why have you restored my life on the last day of the world? But nevertheless I thank you. It does feel good.” He then concludes, “I can’t just stay here. It may be that the Lord will grant a period of grace, so that souls may be called to repentance before He carries out the destruction.”
As Obst swiftly descends down the mountain praying and thanking God, he runs into two “heathen” from the other side of the mountain. These men are very dangerous but Obst is so filled with joy that he unabashedly preaches to them about God and the coming destruction. When Obst is informed that his life would be temporarily spared and that he would have to go with them he states, “I am only happy to go with you fellows. God has given me a message to deliver to your people. If you heard the bell, you need to hear the message, too.” As Obst reaches the rest of the sinful clan, he preaches to them about God and the meaning of the bell as well. When they decide to take him further “below,” he then eagerly realizes that he has been appointed to be a missionary to the “heathen.”
My point in retelling this story is that Obst, because of the extension of his life that the Lord had given him, became bold to proclaim the truth of God, despite the formidable company he immediately found himself in. He realized two things that I want to briefly discuss: 1. His days were numbered and 2. God had commissioned him to a task.
His Days Were Numbered
Obst had stared death in the face, yet was revived to live again for a time. The Bible says our life is but a vapor that appears for a short time then vanishes away (James 4:14). In the grand scheme of things we are but a mist in the inexhaustible knowledge and wisdom of God’s redemptive purposes and activity. We can spend our numbered days absorbed in worldly matters (impressing others, collecting “stuff,” living the “good life,” etc.), all void of the offense of the cross, or we can take a bold stance in making it known who our King is, by word and deed, in the duration the Lord has given us. This doesn’t call for us to drop everything and become missionaries or to exclusively speak Jesus to each person we come across, but what if we were to have Jesus so at the front of everything we do that everyone knew unmistakably that we had been radically transformed by the Gospel? Our mouths would speak of Jesus, our hands would serve others, we would take up our cross, lead our families (husbands), disciple our children, all because our days are few and the harvest is plentiful. If we were all guaranteed 100 years, we could conceivably talk slacking off for a few, but we are only guaranteed what the Lord has providentially given us. Let the uncertainty of our days drive us to a radical lifestyle. Let it push us to magnify the priorities the Lord have given us.
God Had Commissioned Him To A Task
Obst realized that God had placed him directly in the lion’s den in order to preach his truth to the “heathen.” Apart from the grace of God we are all “heathens.” As Obst was revived from near death and given life again, similarly, when we are born again we are given a new life in Christ. “When we were dead in our trespasses [God] made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:5). In our new birth we, as the church, have been commissioned to a task. Jesus stated, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). That is our commission! Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Because of this very thing, we can go and make disciples of all nations, confident that he is reigning over all things. This can happen anywhere; overseas, at home, at work, in your neighborhood. Making disciples assumes that people have been converted. We are to be sharing the Gospel, of course. However, how is our discipleship going? In our profession? At home? Are we raising up our children to take Christ into all areas and to be prepared to give a defense of the hope that is in them?
Christ has numbered our days and we can rest in his sovereignty. Lets be motivated to make much of these to the glory of God.