There is a great text in 1 Corinthians that folks get all “wrapped” up in for the wrong reasons. People go off on all kinds of tangents with his discussion about marriage and the stations of life to which we have been called. They get all wrapped in what could be summed up and “shortened” into a simple maxim. Do not hold onto the reins of the things of this life to tightly and get a grip on reality because this world is wrapping up and the time is short.
1 Corinthian 7:29 – 31
But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.…
So here is the picture. Paul uses a word translated “shortened” here that is used only one other place in the Bible. Stick with me now because this gets interesting. Ananias lies way back in Acts 5, drops dead, and young men wrap him up and bury him. They probably wound him up in a sheet like a mummy and dug a grave and buried him. That is what a winding sheet was. You wrapped a body tight and in a sense made it smaller, “shorter”. The same word is used in normal Greek for furling a sail. In my mind I picture that blow up bed that we took to our relatives when we would visit because they had no guest beds. You unrolled it and blew it up and when you were done you let the air out, and wrapped it up, and sat on it, and struggled to get in small enough to put back in the sack it came in.
That is the picture here. Time is being shortened and wrapped and stuffed into a smaller package and so we need to hold onto the things of this world loosely and get on with our life in Christ in such a way that others come to know Him too before the judgment comes and we can’t preach and teach and witness anymore.
Out task is to do the works of mercy and spread the Gospel because things are wrapping up. At the end of Acts 5 we are told that the Apostles never ceased preaching and proclaiming that Jesus is Lord. In his letter Paul says that the “scheme” of this world, the form is passing away and we need to constantly witness in our callings in life. That template that we talked about in the February 2 post is going away.