Very Little Time Left to Serve

June 2021

By Phil Reardon


My Dear Family in Christ,


Ever-precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I am very short. The whole jail is abuzz with my release. Daily, I am peppered with questions. It is a final chance to witness of our glorious Lord who brought me through it all! Yes, I am what they call in the joint, “short,” meaning I have very little time left to serve. Some say jokingly, “Philip, you are so short I cannot even have a conversation with you.” Others chime, “Philip, you are so short you cannot even finish your lunch.” The nay-sayers gleefully snipe, “We are finally getting rid of this annoying, non-stop gospel-sharing, peanut-head preacher who has terrorized these prison walls for Christ for thirty years!” It all comes with being very short.

Years ago, all the way back in the early nineties, my path sovereignly crossed with that of Sister Debbie’s. God soon birthed a ministry between us. Very quickly, we discovered we had the same heart, mind, and love for the Lord and His people. Most especially, our call was to the prisoner. We observed how the Lord sought to redeem the worst of the worst, of whom I am the poster child! We thought, “What better way to reach prisoners than Philip on the inside and Debbie on the outside! A ministry made in Heaven!

We observed that he who had sinned the most really did love the most. Redeemed prisoners had a very unique, even contagious joy about them. They sang a little louder, obeyed quicker, and without question were much bolder in their witnessing! We learned afresh that the graver your sinful life had been – the more grateful you were for the bloody cross. I had sinned grievously over many years. As such, no one has done a deeper study on the precious Blood than I have. Of necessity, I have studied every verse about the Blood of Christ! Trust me, only faith in the Blood of Christ begets peace in the soul. Works are moot; nothing but the Blood alone can please God and satiate the conscience. 


In the course of being short, I was asked a very poignant question. I was quizzed, “Brother Philip, if you had to do these thirty years all over again, what would you do differently?” I thought it was a very wise question coming from one who had all his time ahead of him, and mine is now, thank God, all behind me. Without hesitation I answered, “I would have kept a very accurate log.” You see it was not a new thought to me, but one I had pondered as I slowly became short. I had even spoken of it to the saintly Sister Debbie recently. I told her, “I wish I had better logged all the works of the Lord through our ministry.” The Lord’s hand has been timely and legion in His wonders performed; and sadly, I could not remember them all! As we spoke on the phone, behold, one more wonder! She knew nothing of any of this, yet said, “Philip, I was logging all the letters you have written to me about all the Lord has done!” I was dumbfounded. I had forgotten about those letters! She said there were thousands of them! Unbeknownst to me, there was indeed a very accurate log kept of all the Lord’s doings in our ministry while I was in prison!


We have served the Lord and His incarcerated people for the last 26 years non-stop. Debbie is tireless in her service and devoted to the King above measure. She has stood as a mighty warrioress, my tireless advocate, as I walked with the Lord on these horrid tiers. Her faithfulness is impeccable. Finally, I am very short – there is a new vision astir. We are seeking your prayers on how the Lord will lead us in this new season.


It is written, “But this I say, brethren, the time is short. . .” (1 Cor. 7:29a)


Have you considered, you too are very short? Our time on this earth, in light of eternity, is but the batting of an eye. “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Ps. 90:10) God’s Word is timeless. Those with an ear to hear would do well to take heed and reassess their own walk. We are all indeed very, very short! As such, perhaps you too are in need of a new season; yes, a new vision astir for your life.


It is not a joke. You are so short (figuratively speaking) that people cannot even finish a conversation with you! Therefore, your words must count. Do they consist of Christ or the mundane nothingness of this fallen world? Unbelievers chime daily, “Not to worry, you have plenty of time to finish your lunch!” Beloved, man does not live on bread alone. You are very short! Does the nay-saying Satan gleefully snipe, “I am finally getting rid of this annoying, non-stop gospel-sharing, peanut-head preacher who has terrorized my unbelievers all these years”? Or perhaps – he is not bothered by you at all. . .


Do you not know there will be a judgment seat of Christ? Trust me, the very works of your life are all logged! You cannot snow the Snowman – God has all the letters, and they are full of the works of your ministry! Are you asleep at the gospel wheel? Are “your” shows more important to you than people going to hell? If so, you will be found criminal because, without equivocation, sinners do go to hell. Preacheth thou not? If not – repent. My time is over here; yours out there is not. You are though, very, very short, and you have. . .