“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh (Romans 13:11-14).”
The people of the quiet little village of Suttersville have a penchant for self destruction. However, they have a group of ghostly “heroes”, previous town fathers, who hang out in the nearby woods and watch over them, century after century.
In the movie “Out of Time”, these ancients choose Jack Epson, a civic-minded sort, to lead the town to its salvation in the late 2oth century. In 1980, they draw Jack out into the woods and give him some water from a sping that puts him to sleep –for 20 years! Jack becomes a modern-day Rip Van Winkle.
In the year 2000 he wanders back into town and finds to his horror that the town has changed for the worst. It has tripled in population, and sleazy businessman Ted Vonner is in control.
Vonner has become the boyfriend of Jack’s wife Annie, and has convinced her to run for mayor so he can further his development schemes. (He’s too slimy to run himself.) Annie has weakly followed Vonner’s lead to the point where she isn’t in control of her life anymore.
She has hundreds of thousands of dollars, but only Vonner knows its whereabouts. And Annie is content with that!
What is worse for Jack is that his wife and daughter detest him because they think he walked out on the family 20 years ago. His daughter Molly has had a slew of bad men, and is now a single mom to Sean, Jack’s grandson.
Annie blames Jack for not being there to guide Molly. Annie has also divorced him, since she thinks he deserted her.
Annie is the odds on favorite to win the mayoral election against young Doogie Rydell. Doogie has so little support that his only campaign method is to walk around town with a bullhorn proclaiming his run for mayor.
Jack understands from the previous town fathers that he must act to save the town from itself. Thus, he sides with Doogie against his own wife, knowing that Vonner is behind her effort.
Seeking to find dirt on Vonner, he breaks into Annie’s campaign offices. He finds what he is looking for, but he further estranges himself from his family and the town when he is accused of breaking and entering, and stealing Annie’s money.
In the end, the truth comes out. Vonner is shown to be the crook he is and Jack vindicated. He gets his family back, Doogie becomes mayor and the town is saved.
Suttersville would have been doomed if Jack hadn’t made the difference. Despite being framed, misunderstood and criticized, he stood for what was right and saved his loved ones and the town he also cared for.
While the movie “Out of Time” is fiction, it’s story is all too real. We humans on Planet Earth are prone to self destruction, and are urged along to the abyss by a crooked evil one, Satan.
The one Man who intervened to save us, Jesus Christ, was abused, misunderstood and ultimately crucified. He tried to tell the people of His day the truth, but they would have none of it.
Jesus tried to tell them that they were on the road to destruction. He told them they were enslaved.
John records their reply and Jesus’s further teaching on the matter:
” They answered him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?’
Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:33-36).”
Jesus had told them that if they would listen to Him, they would know the truth. This truth, He said, would give them freedom (John 8:31-32).
Yet, these people were so entrenched in their slavery that they didn’t even know they needed to be freed. They were blind and ignorant.
They didn’t know they needed a Savior. These people didn’t know they were in a war between good and evil and because of their wicked practices, they had been enlisted, indeed enslaved, into the wrong army (Ecclesiastes 8:8b).
We’re not so wise ourselves today. There are plenty of us enslaved to sin.
The way out of this slavery is to listen to Jesus and do what he says. He brought forth His wisdom as the first of his works, so heeding it would seem to be of the highest priority (Proverbs 8:22).
The wise man of Proverbs wrote of the Lord’s wisdom:
“Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the LORD.
But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death (Proverbs 8:34-36).”
Thus, we are faced with a choice. We can turn to Jesus and be free, truly so, or we can remain enslaved.
He has provided a “get out of jail free” card. We should make use of it.