2 Peter 3:8-14
Let us hear the word. It’s taken from 2 Peter 3:8-14, “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire. But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.” This is the word of the Lord.
St. Peter said; with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like one day. He was saying that there’s no difference between one day and thousand years to God. To us, one day and thousand years are different. To God, there is not that kind of concept of time.
Life Flies, Literally
I’d like to explore its meaning with you today. What implication does it have to us believers? In what way is one day like a thousand years, and thousand years like one day? To, us one day is a very short time and a thousand years is a very long time. When I was young, I used to see a lot of day-flies and I played with them – somehow, I don’t see them much – but when I was young I saw a lot of them. They live only one day, in the morning they’re born and in the evening they die. And then I wonder to myself, and when I saw them, what is the meaning of flying so hard when they’re going to be gone at the end of the day? I was wondering. I mean, they just fly around but soon, within few hours they’ll be gone from the face of the earth.
Then I realized that we are not much different. Compared to the age of the universe, at the most – 100 years – that’s like one day. A select little speck. I still remember when I was really young – I didn’t even go into elementary school yet at that time – and then one day I was lying down at my house and I saw a shooting star at night. We had a little a yard, and so I saw a shooting star and then, “Oh my goodness, my life is so…” I don’t know. I was maybe six or seven. I don’t know, they think like that. But I still remember, “Oh Gosh, scary. My life is going to be like that. It’s just a little spark and gone.” Now I look back, nearing 60 soon in January, and as I look back, my life went by just like that too. What have I done? What did I do? I was very busy, but it passed by so fast. Sometimes I talk with people in their eighties and they tell me, “Reverend, I don’t know how my life just passed by. Gone.”
Maybe life is like that. Moses confessed in his prayer, listen to his prayer, “The days of our life are 70 years or perhaps 80. If we are strong, even then their span is only toil and trouble. They are soon gone and we fly away.” The last sentence really caught my attention. We fly away. Life is like that. We fly away. Some somebody told me, when you’re 50, you’re driving 50 miles per hour. When you’re 60, you’re drive 60 miles per hour. When you’re 90, you are driving 90 miles an hour. Life goes by so fast. Every year goes by so fast. So we fly away, that makes a lot of sense. And in the same prayer, Moses said this, “For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is passed. Or like a watch in the night, you sweep them away. They’re like a dream. Like grass that is renewed in the morning. In the morning it flourishes and it is renewed, in the evening it fades and withers.” It’s like day-flies. You’re born in the morning and then die in the evening. And Moses and Peter said, “One day is like thousand years and a thousand years like one day.” What did they mean? The first thing that came to my mind was that time flies.
Here And Now
But there’s another thing that they wanted to say. That is; what is important about time? It’s not its length. One day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. What is important about time is not about his length, but what is contained in it. That’s what’s important. Time is not just about the length. Time is about what’s in it. And I realized how people misunderstand salvation or eternal life. They think that salvation is lengthening their time to eternity. That’s salvation to them, they just want to prolong, they just want to extend their life to eternity. That’s what salvation is to them. The desire to lengthen your time to eternity, to me that is attachment, not salvation. It is just life attachment, attachment to life. That is not salvation.
That only gives me fear. People just use the word salvation as they like, when they actually talk about attachment. We human beings are good at doing that. We just put different words that thinking that reality changes. Reality doesn’t change just because you changed the word. Attachment is attachment. Salvation is salvation. Some people call their narrow-minded stubbornness as conviction. That’s not conviction. That’s a narrow-minded stubbornness. We have a way of using words to make it good and acceptable, or to disguise our unpleasant self. To me, real salvation is not attachment to life and be obsessed with it. To me, attachment is simply bondage. Because we have attachment, we have fear of death. When St. Paul rhetorically asked a question to the personalized death, “Oh, death. Where is your victory? Where is your sting?” I see that Paul overcame the attachment to life. He never thought that salvation was an extension of your present life to eternity. His desire was not to lengthen his life, but rather he said he wanted to be with God. Attachment cannot be salvation. Salvation is overcoming your attachment. That’s what salvation is.
When you overcome your attachment to life, what happens? Your moment comes alive and you can see that there is no difference between one day and a thousand years. When your moment comes alive, there is no difference between one day and a thousand years. That’s what it’s like, the moment coming alive – what you have is only the moment. The past is in your memory and the future is in your imagination. The moment is the reality. You have only your moment, but you don’t need to lengthen your moment because the moment is full. You just acknowledge that it is a gift of God and you don’t need to be sad that it will pass by. Salvation is a new realization of your moment. What is contained in that moment is more important, than the quantity of time. What you’re experiencing now and feeling now is more important than how many hours you have left in a day. When the moment comes alive, you don’t need to worry about tomorrow. Jesus said, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of his own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
People who want to extend their lives, worry about tomorrow because tomorrow is essential to extend your life. For those who find salvation today, don’t worry about tomorrow. They don’t waste today while worrying about tomorrow. They live each moment fully. In that sense, the moment is not a temporal language. What is important about the moment is not how short it is, but how full of life it is. These moments come together and make your life, and when your moments alive your life is alive.
Salvation Is The Moment
Salvation did not happen yesterday. Salvation will not happen tomorrow. Salvation is now. Now is the time for salvation. Salvation is God’s blessings on our moments. Unfortunately many people’s moments are completely empty. It is just a short passing moment. As you encounter God in a meaningful way, the concept of time will stop – not the time, the concept of time will stop – and you will enjoy the peace and joy that filled your moment, and that moment becomes eternity. That’s what eternity is all about. When your moments come alive, your past will come alive and your future will come alive. Many people live with regrets about their past, and worries and anxieties about the future. But when your today comes alive, everything comes alive. Regrets will be gone. The worries will be gone. The past will come as a meaningful lesson and the future will come as a beautiful hope. The past comes alive and future comes alive when you experienced salvation today.
Salvation is not about someday in the future. It’s about now. Pay attention to now and see what God is doing in your life. My friends, I don’t feel sad getting old. Not at all. I believe that you’re getting renewed as you age, not getting old. Is it escapism? Maybe, but that’s how I feel.
Young people, don’t waste your time mindlessly. Don’t waste your time mindlessly. Live the moment fully, awake, and enjoy your every moment doing what is the most meaningful to you. Life is not about how long you live. Life is about how well you live. St. Paul enjoyed his life even in prison because he was alive from within. Being alive does not depend on time and space. Being alive is was within you. When you meet God, you come alive. You just simply enjoy every moment. Older people, like Steve, don’t be sad. Just because last Friday you said, “I’m getting old, you know, everything just deteriorates.” Don’t be sad because you’re getting old and everything deteriorates. Cultivate the wisdom. Know what is essential and what is not. Throwaway your attachment, but entrust your life in God’s hands. In that sense, a day is like a thousand years, a thousand years is like a day. That was my reflection this week.
Let us sing together.