Redeeming the Time
By Dr. Richard Cook
We are living in unprecedented times! Personally, I have been involved in ministry for fifty years and have never witnessed what we are going through today as a nation, or in the world. While we may not understand everything we are facing, we can take advantage of the time, rather than waste it. The Apostle Paul shared valuable information with the church in his letter to the Ephesian church when he said, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do” (Eph. 5:15-17 NLT). The KJV translated v.16 as “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
We have been given time…time…time that we didn’t have before. Time to spend in ways we never thought possible. Time to invest. Where? Where have we invested our time during this lockdown? Let’s make some determinations that we will not allow this valuable time to be stolen by social media, binge watching TV, or other self-centered interests. What is the most valuable? What is the most rewarding? What is God saying to us at this time? He has given us time and He is asking us to “redeem” that time, not for temporary gratification but for eternal purposes and the furtherance of His kingdom. So, where are we now in all of this? Let’s review. Let’s take time to write in our journals what we are discovering about ourselves and the journey from here to the “new normal.” Let’s ask ourselves:
- Are we ready for change? Did this time of pause show us anything about the need for change? Did we discover something about ourselves, our family, our ministry? Our career? Our spirituality? What are those things?
- Did we spend this time to invest, develop and strengthen family and ministry relationships?
- Did we take time to pursue the God who pursues us? Have we found Him to be more precious than anyone, anything, any achievement or identity? Have we put Him in first place?
- Have we taken time to refresh our physical bodies? How long has it been since we honored the Sabbath Day by resting from all our work?
- What about the projects that we’ve delayed? Or the necessary chores that we had no time for?
- Have we put an end to unhealthy habits and developed healthy ones with the Holy Spirit’s help?
- Did we use this time to develop accountability systems for our lives?
As the book of Proverbs instructs, Wisdom is calling to us to put away things that drag us down, that weaken us spiritually, physically and emotionally; to embrace Wisdom and run from foolishness, foolish people, and foolish living. Once again, the question before us is, “Are we ready for change?” If not, we will not be ready for where Wisdom is leading us and what God has in store for us. There is so much to gain and, yet, so much to lose. Be a seeker of Wisdom and Understanding. May we allow the reverent fear of God guide us into the future, resulting in a life well lived!