“Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today.” An helpful phrase my parents repeated to me while growing up. “Carpe Diem” became popular after Robin Williams used it in, “Dead Poets Society”.
The significance of noticing and grasping opportunities goes back further. For example, here in Luke 19 – the passage I’ll be preaching on this Sunday.¹ The small man climbs a sycamore tree to see the Son of Man. Many lessons can be learned, but one that stands out is pointed out by the repeated word, “today” (vv5, 9). It’s the same Greek word both times, ‘semeron’, meaning, ‘now’, ‘at present’, ‘this day’, ‘the present day’, ‘until this day’, ‘until our times’, ‘the position today’.
Luke has a thing about ‘semeron’, recording it 11 times. Of the other Gospel writers, Matthew come closest with eight references, while Mark mentions it just once and John not at all. What is Luke doing? There is not space nor time to delve into all the implications in this short blog, but all the Lukan references are below for you to contemplate.²
Needless to say, Jesus knew his time was short. He is on his last approach to Jerusalem, but in a sense he has been on the road to that city since he became conscious of his mission. There is an urgency in ‘today’, and an opportunity. The world has been offered a ‘Saviour’, prophecies have been fulfilled, miracles have been witnessed, and we do not know how long ‘today’ will last. Therefore, let’s “make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5 NIV11) while such opportunities exist.
Is there a decision of faith to be made today? A phone call, a confession, a prayer, a conversation? Let’s make the most of today. It will not be with us for ever.
God bless, Malcolm
¹Watford church of Christ, Laurance Haines School, Vicarage Road, Watford, 10.30 am, Sunday 9th April.
²Luke 2:11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Luke 4:21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Luke 5:26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”
Luke 12:28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!
Luke 13:32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
Luke 19:5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” Luke 19:9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.
Luke 22:34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Luke 22:61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”
Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”