I have been thinking a lot about time this past week and how little spare time I seem to have these days. In the midst of this pondering I remembered some verses from Ephesians ( 5:15-17) that are pretty relevant , “” 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
In the King James version it talks about redeeming the time rather than simply “making the best use of time” and that was somewhat confusing to me as I am not sure how you buy back time that has already been spent. From where I sit, there never seems to be enough time in any given day and redeeming some time or purchasing some back sounds like a great idea. Given that I am not a Biblical scholar or a Greek linguist, I am not going to try and unravel the mysteries of the original meaning of this text, but simply focus on the obvious meaning in verse 17 about understanding what the will of the Lord is. Somehow I think that doing that will help me to make better use of my time and help me to begin to grasp the concept of time redemption.
For a long time now, I have always assumed that God’s will for my life is to be productive in His service and to “keep my hands to the plow” as the saying goes. Certainly as the parent of teenagers, I can say that the old adage “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” is true – at least in our family. Given that perspective, I have tended to be a pretty busy person and one who is prone to say yes when asked to help in the context of my ministry and our church life. All too often, as a result of this thinking, my reality is one of constant busyness and the need for excessive multitasking.
As this new year has dawned and I have been focused on the concept of personal and corporate transformation, I am beginning to have a deeper understanding of the will of God in my life. It seems that He wants me to be more like Mary and less like Martha – more focused on Him and the people He brings across my path and less focused on the immediate tasks at hand. This is requiring a radical rethinking of my priorities and will not be an easy change in my life.
I think that understanding God’s will for my life and thus spending my time more effectively is likely to involve:
1. Learning more about what God is actually doing in the world and where He is most active. I will be traveling to Africa on Saturday and can’t wait to hear the stories of God on the move in restoring peace to the people of Liberia.
2. Reading about the saints that have gone on before me. I have a desire to read more biographies this year of Christians who gave their all in the service of their King and lived life with no restraints.
3. Partnering with people that are clear about the commission that God has placed upon their lives and are actively involved in bringing His kingdom into the here and now.
Mostly, however, this is going to be a year of surrender to a will that is so much bigger than my own and a God that has the power to turn back time. I may not understand fully the concept of time redemption, but I do know that as I draw closer to the one who made me in the first place He is redefining what is really important and what I should be spending my limited time doing. How amazing it is to serve a God who created time in the first place and is prepared to direct my path every step of the way.