Grace For The Journey
Today is the second part of my blog on the teaching from Ephesians 5:15-20. Yesterday I discussed WHY we are to redeem the time; today I’ll offer some suggestions for HOW to redeem it.
Let’s remind ourselves what the Bible says in Ephesians 5:15-20, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
How Can We Redeem The Time
The Bible makes it clear that the only way we can redeem the time is to understand what God has put us here to do. Jesus explained His mission succinctly. In Mark 10:45 He says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Jesus knew what He was here to do and He didn’t let anything distract or deter Him from doing it.
So the first step in redeeming the time is in knowing what your time is to be used for. We don’t want to find ourselves like Alice in Wonderland, who came to a crossroad and paused to ask the Cheshire Cat which way she should go. The Cat asks Alice where she is going.
“I don’t much care where,” Alice says.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” the Cat sagely observes.
We must recognize that it always matters to God which way we go. He knows the abundant life will only be experienced when we live in the center of His will for our lives. If we don’t take time to understand God’s plan for our lives, we will always fit into somebody else’s plan.
Here are three keys to redeeming the time; the acronym R.P.M. will help you recall them.
KEY # 1: Rhythm – Redemption has its own rhythm of confession and forgiveness. We have our own rhythms: some of us are early birds and some are night owls. Some wake to an alarm clock; others to an opportunity clock. Some wake up with a cheery, “Good Morning, Lord!” while others groan, “Good Lord! Morning?” I fit into the early bird rhythm. Knowing when you work best allows you to do your best work.
KEY # 2: Prioritize – The most important things to do in life may not always be the most urgent. To be sure, your job may be more demanding and urgent, but it will never be as important as your personal time and family.
Jesus used the Sermon on the Mount to sharpen our focus: “Where your treasure is, there you heart will also be” (Matthew 6:21). So . . . where is your treasure? If you aren’t sure, take some time to examine how you use your discretionary time and money. What we spend our “extra” money on after all the necessities are paid for and how we use our “free” time are inarguable identifiers of what we consider priorities and where we locate our treasure.
KEY #3: MODEL – Model the Master, who always redeemed the time. Jesus was never at the mercy of the strongest wind that was blowing at the moment. Nowhere in Scripture can we find Jesus hurrying to get things done. He never had too much on His plate. If your plate is over-filled, you can be certain that God was not holding the serving spoon!
Here are a few examples of modeling the Master:
Prayer: Mark 1:35 – “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”
Bible Intake: Matthew 4:4 – “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Corporate Worship: Luke 4:16 – “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.
Service: John 13:4-6 – “[Jesus] got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.
Relationship with Jesus and Rest: Mark 6:31 – “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Community: Matthew 12:49-50 – “Pointing to His disciples, [Jesus] said, “Here are My mother and My brothers. For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
The Wise Preacher put it best in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” When we find our rhythm, get clear on our priorities, and model our Master, we will, by God’s grace, see a return on our investment of time that make the most of our time and will echo in eternity.
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”