Better Late Than Never

I saw the name of Thomas McKean mentioned somewhere in my reading. I would wager that you do not know who he was or why anybody should remember him. Well, he signed the Declaration of Independence in 1781. And why, you may ask, is that noteworthy? Only because it was four years after it had been adopted. If the other signers had been of this man’s quality, the whole course of our history would have been different but not better. Quite a contrast between McKean and John Hancock who signed the Declaration with a flourish in the hour of danger and commented that George the Third could read that without his spectacles. 

There are people who are late to everything. They always have an excellent excuse which the first time you hear it, is convincing. Finally it dawns on you that they are late because they do not care how much they inconvenience others, and because they get some satisfaction out of keeping other people waiting. I lost a friend one time because, finally, I was sick and tired of always having to wait. Perhaps God gets equally weary of waiting for me, and I am saved only because of His infinite patience. 

How many people will cheer a cause when its success is assured? How much encouragement does a fellow get after he has taken the risks of the apparent defeat of the good enterprise? How many church members eventually get on the band wagon who must wait to make up their minds when only a brave few start the march? May the good Lord send us more brethren who come in at the right time when they are most needed. 

I suggest that we make Felix the patron of all who are too late. You remember the story in the book of Acts. With his Jewish wife Drusilla, the Roman governor of Caesarea heard Paul speak about faith in Jesus Christ and argue “about justice and self-control and future judgment.” Then Felix was alarmed and said: “Go away for the present; when I have an opportunity I will summon you” (Acts 24:24, 25). 

The fellows who wait to see which way the ball of success is going to bounce seem so wise and clever. But they are not so smart after all. For life is commitment and the bystander never gets into the action. If it is right, better sign up immediately.

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