What Is The Time Romans 13:11

Knowing the time.—Rom_13:11

I met a small boy the other day who wanted—not to know the time, but to be asked the time! What do you think was the reason? Well, he had just had a birthday and his grandmother had presented him with a watch, not one of those imitation toy ones that never move out of the bit unless you turn a screw, but a real live one that ticked and had hands that moved round of their own accord. And so my small friend wanted to be asked the time. He wanted to use his watch and to show it off, just as you might want to play cricket if you had received a new bat, or as you might long for rain if you had got a new waterproof.

Now, if I were to ask you the question I had to ask that boy I wonder if you could answer correctly. Do you know the time? Thousands of years ago men saw that it was a very important thing to know, and so they invented clocks. But, of course, the first clocks were not at all like ours. In fact you might not call them clocks at all. Would you like to know how they were made? A vessel having a tiny hole or set of holes was filled with water. From this vessel the water dripped into another vessel in which certain distances were marked off. People were able roughly to tell the hour from the time the water, or some object floating in it, took to reach these marks.

Later, other means were invented to mark the passage of time. Sun-dials were made, and sandglasses very much like the egg-boiler you may see on the kitchen mantelpiece, only on a much larger scale; and King Alfred the Great marked his time by burning candles. Each candle was about twelve inches long and burned four hours. But, besides that, every candle was marked with notches at regular intervals so that shorter periods of time could be noted. The natives of Korea still measure time in a similar way, by burning knotted ropes.

It was not till the thirteenth century that clocks something like those we know came to be used in Europe. So far as we know, the first clock that was brought to England was put up in the tower of Westminster Hall in the year 1288. But it was hundreds of years later before clocks and watches came to be at all cheap or plentiful.

Nowadays we have a great number of clocks and watches, and yet there are many people who don’t know the time. I wonder if you know it. I don’t mean, can you read the clock face and tell exactly what hour and minute it is—I expect most of you can do that—but do you know the time? Because, you see, there is a big difference between telling the time and knowing the time. There is a right time and a wrong time to do most things, and unless you know which is which you don’t really know the time, though you may be able to read all the odd clocks in the world.

1. Some boys and girls don’t know the time to get up. The time to rise in the morning is when you are knocked, not ten minutes or half-an-hour after. Of course it’s not nice to jump out of bed, especially on a cold winter morning. But the longer we stay there the more difficult it becomes to leave it. And the halfhour we lose then we can never quite make up. Do you know the sad history of Little Mary Geraldine?

Little Mary Geraldine
(The clock was striking eight)
Had lost a very precious thing:
It made her breakfast late;
It made her hurry off to school
Without a piece of cake;
It made her give dear little Ned
A really truly shake
Because the wind blew off his hat;
It made her cheeks feel hot,
And tears kept coming as she ran,
And quite a lumpy spot
Came in her throat. ’Twas not her hat,
’Twas not her furry muff,
’Twas not her bag that she had lost;
’Twas really not enough,
She thought, to trouble her so much—
She lost it in her bed;
’Twas just one little short half-hour
Made all that fuss, she said.
(Elizabeth L. Gould.)

Don’t lose your half-hours. A little determination will soon save them.

1. Some boys and girls don’t know the time to stop nonsense. Now please don’t run away with the idea that I want you to be gloomy and to pull long faces. I believe the glad people in the world do ten times as much good as the sad ones, and the jollier you are the more likely you are to cheer and help others. But, for all that, there is a time when fun is out of place. It is time to stop fun when we ought to be working hard. It is time to stop it when our fun is hurting somebody else. A little teasing is good for everyone, but there is a kind of teasing (you all know it) which is a form of cruelty. Never let fun go that length; never, if you can help it, let anyone be the worse for your fun. For remember that when we hurt other people in this way we are hurting ourselves too. We are making ourselves cruel, and coarse, and hard.

2. Some boys and girls don’t know the time to learn. They waste away the precious hours of boyhood and girlhood when their minds are easily impressed and knowledge is easily gained. So they grow up ignorant and lose their chances of success in the world.

If the right time to learn lessons were thirty or forty, you would be kept at home now and sent to school then. But by the time you are thirty or forty you will have to be doing other things—making a home; or conducting a business; healing the sick; building houses, or bridges, or ships; tilling the ground; sailing the seas; working in the colonies. Use your school time well and you will be ready for the other things.

3. Some people don’t know the best time to begin following Jesus. They let all the beautiful fresh days of youth go past, and then perhaps, when they are old and sad, and their heart is soiled and bruised, they bring the remnants of their life to Him. And although Jesus never sends anybody away, although He can take even the tattered remnants of a life and make them into something pure and beautiful, yet these people have forever lost the joy and the privilege of serving Him with their youth and their strength. Jesus has done so much for us. He has given us everything He possessed. Do you think it is quite fair to spend the best of our life on our own ends and offer Him the fragments? You have the splendid chance of offering Him all your life to be spent in pure and noble service. Will you offer Him that gift?




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