The Missing Piece



There’s a bizarre story of a young lad who loved to take apart the family’s household appliances so he could see how they worked. His parents encouraged his curiosity (as they reasoned it was better than spending hours playing games on Xbox) just as long as their son put the equipment back together again in perfect working order.

His parents went out one afternoon for a few hours leaving the teenage boy at home alone – and this young, inquisitive tinkerer thought he would challenge himself. He decided to take apart the family’s antique grandfather clock.

He carefully swirled his screw-driver and twisted his favourite tools to have all of the vintage mechanisms lying across the lounge room floor. He admired the craftsmanship of the inner-workings of a hundred-year-old clock, and he was careful to remember where each part went.



As he put the antique timepiece back together again he felt a rush of adrenaline. His parents had warned him away from the heirloom clock for years as they feared the teenage boy would damage it, but now he’d been able to examine it without their knowledge and his parents would never know.

But, the feeling of achievement began to disappear as he neared the end of the restoration. The young lad had one piece left over and he had no idea where it was meant to go. As he considered an attempt to take the clock apart again he heard his parents’ car coming up the family driveway, and so he ran upstairs to his bedroom and thrust the left-over mechanism under his pillow.

That evening as the family ate dinner the antique clock operated as it always did. They watched a long movie together and the clock continued to strike the bells of the hour with military precision. As the family prepared for bed after a long day the boy’s worries began to ease. He sensed he’d escaped any parental discovery of an expensive heirloom’s unauthorised dismantling.

At midnight, as the teenager lay in bed thinking about the close-call, the clock began its usual chimes. The young lad counted them to help get to sleep – nine, ten, eleven, twelve…. thirteen, fourteen! The boy sat up in his bed. The clock continued ringing…. eighteen, nineteen, twenty. The boy – once again his body surging with adrenaline at the probability of being discovered – jumped out of bed. “Bong…. Bong…. Bong….” – Thirty-six times, thirty-seven times…the clock continued as if it would go on for eternity. He grabbed the missing piece from under his pillow and began to run down the hall towards his parents’ bedroom unsure of what he was going to say.

The teenager banged on the bedroom door, and with the chimes still ringing through the family home he yelled out the first thing that came into his head: “Wake up, everybody! Wake up! It’s later than it’s ever been!!”


This wry story is, in a way, a reminder of the Bible’s promise of eternity. Jesus of Nazareth spoke with His followers about having a sense of urgency regarding the coming of the Kingdom of God. He discouraged any delay in surrendering our sins to Him as our Saviour, and then seeking His ever-lasting forgiveness as we align our lives with Him.

To illustrate this sense of urgency Jesus told a story of five maidens who were sleepy, foolish and complacent, and another five who were wise and stayed ever-alert to the coming of their master. Jesus concluded the story by saying to His Disciples – “Keep watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which I am returning.” (Matthew 25:13)

So, for believers in the return of Jesus Christ there is a message. And that message is: “Wake up! It’s later than it’s ever been”

(Read about another teenager from three hundred years ago who showed incredible faith in her Saviour despite her deplorable circumstances)



David speaking 2

About this blog: Pastor David Riley is a Seventh-day Adventist minister residing on the Gold Coast in Australia. This article is from his “Reverential Ramblings” series – which you can subscribe to by clicking “follow” on this website.




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