The Great Clock

Monday, July 29, 2019
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Ecclesiastes 3:2a – A time to be born, and a time to die. (NKJV)

On the seventh of June, I went to a funeral of a lady whom I have known for about seventy years. She had just celebrated her 105th birthday. In the order of service, there was a card with a poem written on it in her own handwriting. Her children had found it among the papers in her room in the Long Term Care Centre where she had spent the last couple of years of her long life. The poem was called "The Great Clock", and I found that it was a variation on a poem by Robert H. Smith. Obviously, the words spoke to the hearts of their children, as it did to mine:

    The clock of life is wound but once
    And no one has the power
    To tell just when the hands will stop
    At late or early hour.

    Now is the only time you own
    Live, love and toil with a will.
    Place no faith in tomorrow;
    The hands may then be still.

A couple of family members paid tribute to her, telling the assembled congregation what a great lady she was, how hard she worked, and how kind she was to people. Her butter tarts were always in demand at church bake sales.

She was born in 1914, at a time when most country girls did not have an opportunity for advanced education beyond basic elementary school. As a consequence, she went to work at an early age. She held a variety of jobs, from caring for an elderly lady to working in a factory. She and her husband lived through the depression and the war years.

I knew her because as a very young teenager, I worked in the factory where her husband was the plant manager. All one winter, I worked in their home every Saturday, doing anything from minor repairs to painting all the rooms in the house. She was very kind to me, and I got to know her quite well. But as happens so often, when I grew up and went my own way, I saw her only periodically. I did see and speak to her children on occasion. Through personal knowledge and words spoken at her funeral service, I think that the words of Paul applied very well:

Philippians 2:3 – Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (NKJV)

I'm sorry that I did not stay in touch with her on a regular basis. She and her husband were so good to me.

Do you know of someone whom you haven't seen or spoken to for a while? It would be good to do that now, for tomorrow the hands of the clock of time may be still.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray that we would take the time to be in touch with those people who have been important to us at some point in our lives. Give us the desire and the energy to visit those who are lonely or bereaved, and the opportunity through faith in Christ to be a witness to the people whom we visit. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Joel Jongkind <>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A wonderful story and challenge, Joel.

    Thanks, Joel, for a meaningful word today.

    Great post and reminder, Joel. Thank you and Blessings!

    Thanks, Joel. This was a life well-lived and an example to all of us.

    What an important message and a great way to deliver it to all of us. Thank you.

    Thanks for sharing this timely devotional with us. May our use of time be productive as we do the Lord’s work. Blessings.

    Thanks Joel, this is a very good devotional, as are all of yours. The poem is so true, makes a person sit back and realize that we should enjoy every day.

    Oh, Pastor Joel! Such a touching and heartfelt devotional with a very practical and powerful message! Thank you as always, for another wonderful devotional.

    Dear Joel,
    Thank you very much for the very necessary and well-written devotional today.
    Such remembrances go a long way and mean so much in our Lord’s world.
    Keep writing.

    I always love your messages. I started phoning people at Christmas instead of sending cards. Almost the same price. I found people hardly wrote anything in a card to let you know how they were, but when you phone, they are so glad to hear from you. Please keep up your great writing, I really enjoy it. Thanks,

    Dear Mr. Young Child,
    (That’s how I’ll think of you now since hearing the fun explanation of your name!)
    Good thoughts here about not postponing things that we need to do before it’s too late.
    Blessings to you.

    This was a beautiful, beautiful devotional. Thank you so much for sharing this experience of your life and giving testimony to the power of the human soul to touch others and leave a legacy of love and kindness. Yes, we definitely have to make the most of those people in our lives before the hands of the Great Clock stop turning. You have given me a lot to ruminate on!

    Hi Joel,
    Thanks for the reminder to us all to take time to visit/be in touch with people.
    Recently I started sending emails to many people in my ‘contacts’, partly to stay in touch with friends and relatives, especially ones at a distance, but also have used the messages as an opportunity to show how God has strengthened and upheld me during these past 4 months!
    But quite what you were talking about but a connection in a different way.

    Very nicely said.

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