The Clock Is Ticking

They’re different. Military families, that is.

I live near Fort Jackson, one of the largest basic training facilities in the country. For 28 years I’ve been lulled to sleep by the sound of machine gun fire in the distance. I’m so used to it that the only time I take notice is when a houseguest turns to me with widened eyes and asks, “Was that GUNFIRE?”

What I’ve never gotten used to, though, are the military families who live, work, and worship in my community. Without exception, they are the most engaged and involved temporary residents I’ve ever met.

They are initiators. They don’t wait to be asked; they jump right in. They are energetic go-getters who are quick to extend a hand in greeting, invite a new friend over for coffee, or volunteer to help. They realize their time here is limited, and they may be transferred with very little notice. They don’t have time to sit around. They might miss too many opportunities if they are passive.

There’s a lesson cloaked in the earth-toned camouflage these brave folks wear. As Christians, we’re also here on temporary assignment. We could be transferred with little or no notice. We are wise to be mindful of our impermanence as we move through our daily lives. It should affect what we do:

Always be ready to testify of your faith. First Peter 3:15 tells us to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. Opportunities to share a testimony, word of encouragement, or even the gospel don’t come along every day, and we should be watching for them. If we don’t intentionally look for opportunities, we often miss a chance to share our faith.

Always be ready to extend hospitality. Don’t wait for someone else to take the first step. My military friends know if they sit around hoping someone will invite them out for coffee, for a play date, or to church, they might be waiting a long time. Instead, they find a friendly face and extend an invitation. As a result, they often develop deep friendships that last a lifetime. Hebrews 13:2 encourages, do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Always be ready to live with no regrets. While this isn’t entirely possible, knowing our lives are “just a vapor” helps keep our priorities straight. I think of life’s brevity whenever I’m tempted to hold on stubbornly to a grudge or grievance. I ask myself, if I died today, would this matter? Most of the time the answer is no.

We are here on this earth on temporary assignment. Earth is not our final home. What we do determines much of what happens in the world to come, not just for ourselves, but for those around us.

What are you waiting for? Time is short, eternity is long, and we have much to do in between. Will you join me in the kingdom work?

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth … they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13, 16

Your Turn

Join the conversation by adding your comments below!

What are you doing for the Kingdom in the short time you have on earth?


by Lori Hatcher

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Lori is an author, blogger, and women’s ministry speaker. She shares an empty nest in Columbia, South Carolina, with her ministry and marriage partner, David, and best dog ever, Winston. She’s the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, and has authored two devotional books. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on Facebook (Hungry for God), Twitter (@lorihatcher2) or by email (

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions ( and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.

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