We live in a 9 to 5 world.
Generally speaking, that’s how our work day goes. Our life, and the way we view time, revolves around Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, then we say TGIF!
It was not always like that. Ancient countries and cultures often had different ways of perceiving time and viewing their workdays.
For instance, ancient Judea viewed time and their work day very differently than how we view it today. Jesus once said ..
Aren’t there 12 hours of daylight? Anyone who walks during the day won’t trip and fall. They can see because of this world’s light.(John 11:9 NIRV)
These words were spoken to a world with no hydro electricity, no street lights, no brightly lit cityscapes and night scenes.
Time in ancient Judea was divided into 2 twelve hour segments… 6 am to 6 pm, then 6 pm to 6 am. In addition to that, each segment was subdivided into 3 hour components, referred to as ‘watches’.
At night, there were 4 watches… 6 to 9 pm was the first watch… 9 pm to midnight would be referred to as the second watch of the night.. midnight to 3 am would be the third watch, and 3 am to 6 am would be the fourth watch of the night.
So, if a Bible verse describes something happening during the fourth watch of the night, the writer is saying it happened between 3 am and 6 am. ( Matthew 14:25).
But what about their work day?
Jesus told a story that affirms that their work day was also divided into 3 hour components. He said …
The kingdom of heaven is like a man who owned land. He went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to give them the usual pay for a day’s work. Then he sent them into his vineyard.
About nine o’clock in the morning he went out again. He saw others standing in the market doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard. I’ll pay you what is right.’ So they went.
He went out again about noon and at three o’clock and did the same thing.(Matthew 20:1-5 NIRV)
Note that only those hired for the full day were contracted at a fixed rate.. all others would be paid at the owners discretion. He simply promised to pay them what was right.
This story from Jesus helped me understand that I am a 5 o’clock man.
You see, the land owner went beyond the last shift of the day and ventured out again at 5 pm . Jesus said that ..
About five o’clock he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’(Matthew 20:6-7 NIRV)
I became a Christian in 1972 in Trinidad, my birthplace. From the get go my hearts desire was to become a full time Christian worker. I got married to a beautiful faithful Christian woman, attended Bible College in Canada, had kids, attended University, served God’s people 12 years in Saskatchewan, but was never able to step into the desired role of ‘full time Christian worker’.
Over the years I did some good stuff, and some not so good.. made some good decisions, and some bad. Today, as dawn breaks through my view window, I am writing this post with the realization that I am at the 5 o’clock time of my life.
My point is, I am only now beginning to live the life I have long yearned to live. I am only now beginning to do the things I have long yearned to do. God is enabling me at this 5 o’clock hour of my life.
Let’s back up a bit. Jesus began this story with the words… the kingdom of heaven is like…
He is saying… let me tell you something about how Father God runs His kingdom… here is how He operates.
I emphasize this because I believe that there are a lot of 5 o’clock people out there. Folks who have yearned to do more for the Lord… yearned to glorify Him in their lives, but somehow never saw it come together. Or others who wanted their lives to count for more than just chasing the almighty dollar.
I am affirming and giving testimony that the Lord is aware of your desire to serve Him… your desire to make your life count.
You may now be at the 5 o’clock time of your life… don’t give up… don’t lose hope. Here’s why. God is still hiring workers for His vineyard.
Those dreams and aspirations that you may once have had of doing ‘greater things’ for God. Well, pull them out of whatever closet you stored them, dust them off, and bring them to Him as an offering.
Maybe you never knew Jesus, and life always left you with a sense that something was missing… even at 5 o’clock, there is hope.
It may be 5 o’clock in your life, but it can become the beginning of your new workday.
Bless Me Please God.
(To be continued…)