What is something that can be measured, but never ends; can be spent, but not saved; watched but never seen; wasted but never held? We all have this same thing in common with Billy Graham, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and the guy collecting cans along the side of the road.
Maybe this Bible verse will answer the riddle for you – “… walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
Each of us has the same amount of TIME every day. It is a gift from God. The Bible talks about time in a number of ways. Often it talks about time in terms of seasons that pass by regularly and predictably. Here in Ephesians, it is talking about time in terms of opportunity – “capture the opportunity” or “seize the day!” It’s about that fraction of a second between the time you see something, and a thought registers in your brain.
I have to say, I feel a bit hypocritical about telling people how to spend time wisely, because I feel I waste a lot of time. I really get convicted when I roll the verses from Ephesians over and over in my mind – “…do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” If each tick of the clock is a gift from God himself, what am I doing with that gift?
Often I will look back and dwell on missed opportunities, what I should have said, what I should have done, what I was inspired to do. For me, these quick inspirations come in short flashes. If I don’t write them down, or act on them in that split second, they’re gone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been speaking with someone and I get an inspiration in my head that prompts me to say something which turns out to be divinely important. Other times, I just walk away quietly, indifferently – another missed opportunity.
One Saturday at a men’s cleanup day, I was walking across the yard of the church with a friend of mine. We were picking up trash, straightening things up and talking while we worked.
My friend said, “Someone should really do something about those bagworms.”
I said, “Bagworms? What bagworms?”
“Don’t you see them? They are all over that tree over there.”
I couldn’t see them. For those of you that are not familiar with bagworms, they live in evergreen trees and chew up the tree to make their cocoons. Since they use part of the tree in the construction, the cocoons look like part of the tree. Plus, they hide underneath where the sun does not shine. The bad part about bagworms is that they will destroy a tree, or a whole yard full of trees, in just a few seasons. They basically suck the life out of them.
My simple philosophy about time (and bagworms) is this: Sometimes God uses you to see something that no one else can see. When He does that, He is telling YOU to take care of it, not someone else. It is flash of inspiration from God: “redeem the time, for the days are evil.”
I used this tact on my friend and suggested he, not “someone,” take care of the bagworm problem on the church grounds. He didn’t. The trees died. Then there wasn’t a bagworm problem anymore, there was a tree problem.
Too often, I hear people talking about how “someone should take care of” something. Maybe you are the only one who can see the problem, and maybe you are the only one inspired to take ownership of the problem. Maybe, if you don’t take care of it, no one else will, and the problem will grow into something more severe.
Many of the problems I tell others about, God gave to me to work on. Others may not get excited enough to help out. I used to get frustrated until I figured out the inspirations were specifically designed for me. It was up to me to “redeem the time.”
So... If there’s too much litter on the road, don’t complain about it, clean it up. If you think there is a problem in our government, run for office. If you think there is a problem in our schools, volunteer, be a mentor! If the taxes are too high, form a lobby to get them lowered. You may be the only one inspired to take on the job.
His servant, Pastor Jay
Pastor Jay Merritt writes about God in every day observations.