In 1962 a record was released entitled, “Old Rivers.” Walter Brennan, a famous character actor of that time, recited the words with a choir singing in the refrain in the background. The song was about Old Rivers, an elderly farmer whose life was being remembered by a man who had spent his childhood following him as he worked in his fields. The refrain of the song spoke of Old Rivers’ desire to depart and be with the Lord. It began with the words, “One of these days, I’m gonna climb that mountain, walk up there among them clouds.”
The phrase “one of these days” is a statement of a wish that is hoped for, but without any definitive schedule attached to it. In the song, Old Rivers knew that one day he would pass on to the other side, but he did not know when he would make that trip. This is why he said, “One of these days, I’m gonna climb that mountain.” He could not mark a date on the calendar for his passing. All he could do was acknowledge the fact that one day he would.
We often use this phrase in a slightly different manner. We may tell a friend, “One of these days, we’ll do this or that.” When we say this, we may fully intend for that thing to happen, but we do not set a specific time to do it. In such cases the occasion may never come about because neither friend ever schedules it. In other instances, we may say this to be polite and to appear friendly, when we actually do not intend to make it happen. It is a way to deflect making a commitment without appearing to be unkind.
We also use this phrase sometimes with regard to our obedience to the gospel, and to our faithfulness to the Lord. One who is not a Christian may say, “One of these days, I’ll start coming to church, and I’ll get my life right with God.” A wayward Christian may make the same statement when he is urged to renew the practice of his faith. We have no way of knowing if this is a true statement of that person’s intent, or if it is just a polite way of saying, “No, thank you,” to the Lord.
Even if we were to take such a statement at face value, we cannot allow it to go without noting an important consideration. “One of these days” is an ambiguity. It is a dangerous balm to salve one’s conscience about any subject that he actually wants to avoid. “One of these days” cannot be found on any calendar, and thus postpones the action that might resolve whatever issue is under discussion. Whether it is health issues or exercise, pursuit of some educational or vocational goal, or following through on one’s commitment to the Lord, “One of these days” just kicks the can down the road.
“One of these days”, however, plays right into the devil’s hands. It has been said that one of the devil’s greatest lies is that we have plenty of time to get right with God. If he can convince us to wait until “One of these days”, he knows that we will very likely never follow through with our obedience to the Lord. The reason why this is so is because we have no guarantees that “One of these days” will ever come. In Jas. 4:14 James warned that our life is a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. We never know when our life will end, so we can’t wait for “One of these days.” Likewise, in Mt. 24:36 Jesus warned that no one knows the day or hour of His return for judgment, so we can’t wait for “One of these days” because we don’t know when the Lord will return.
This is why Paul said, “Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Our only guarantee is this moment, and this breath we take. To put off obedience in the hopes of some future opportunity is to court eternal condemnation. To wait for “One of these days” is to play Russian roulette with one’s soul. Make today your “One of these days” and get right with the Lord in obedience to His word.