Long Overdue

May 2, 2019
Volume 23, Number 17

A story appeared in the news yesterday that told of a man who returned an overdue book to a library in Sunnyvale, California. “What’s the big deal with that?” you might ask. The book was 45 years overdue. The man, who now lives in Indianapolis, was visiting family in Sunnyvale and decided to do the right thing. He also paid the $10 maximum overdue fine. Now he should be able to sleep better.

Another story ran in March of this year telling about a book returned to a library in Flint, Michigan. “Life Of Charles Dickens” by John Forster had been checked out 18,579 days – 51 years – earlier. Someone going through a family member’s belongings found the book and returned it. No overdue fine was charged in this case.

Here’s one more story for this collection: Also in March a man in New Jersey returned a copy of “The Family Book Of Verse” that he had checked out in 1966 when he was 13 years old. That’s 53 years overdue! The middle school library has a policy of charging 10-cents per day that a book is overdue, but the $2,000 fine was waived in this case.

The apostle Peter wrote about how “Christ suffered for us”, and then made an application: “That he no longer should live the rest of his life in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetimes in doing the will of the Gentiles – when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:1-3).

Peter’s point seems clear enough: We’ve wasted enough of our lives in sin, and now it’s time to live righteous, useful lives. The life we borrowed from God years earlier is now overdue. It’s time to return it to Him.

Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25 makes this point. Three servants were given varying amounts of money (talents) to put to use while the master was away. Two of them made good use of their talents, and showed a profit when the master returned. One of them, however, had done nothing with his talent, and was strongly rebuked.

Does my life belong to me? That’s a common mistake people make. “It’s my life! I’ll live it the way I choose” they object. But they’re wrong. Our lives are on loan from God, and one day we must return it.

“… For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10-12).

The old saying is true for all of us: We’re living on borrowed time. It’s time to return to the Lord, the rightful owner of all things, even if we’re long overdue. And don’t worry – the fine has already been paid (see 2 Corinthians 8:9).

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2019, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

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