Welcome to our guest post series about "time."
How do we use it? Misuse it? Many of us spend so much time complaining we don't have enough of it, but how often are we grateful for what we actually have? It is a gift we receive every day...a fresh allotment. But how will we spend it? And what values shape how we use it? As we reflect, may there be space to consider how and where we spend our precious seconds of this gift.
Ever since I was little I never liked to sit there doing nothing.
And if possible I’d rather do two or three things at once! I then learned from the Bible that God wants us to ‘make the most of every opportunity, redeeming the time’ (Eph 5:15) which just put extra wind into my sails!
Not so long ago I went on a long journey, and trying to redeem the time I thought, “I’m going to have all these hours with no children, husband or house to look after - I can get lots done!” So I planned out all the things that I could do.
But not very far into it I realised that I was getting my usual earache that comes from stress. There was no apparent reason for it because everything had been pretty leisurely so far. But I realised that maybe I needed to relax a bit more and not fill up every single minute with things I could tick off my list!
So I lay back and just rested for a while. Once I started to relax and take things more slowly my earache went away and I was able to enjoy the journey better.
Too much activity can sometimes lead to stress which means we’re not at peace and probably not that joyful either, and can lead to physical problems down the road. It can also lead to impatience with those around us. So while we think we’re glorifying God by redeeming the time, maybe we’re not.
The Bible doesn’t just talk about doing active things – there’s a whole lot more than that. Some things that we are called to do as Christians that aren’t necessarily ‘active’ things are:
- · Praying
- · Meditating on God’s Word
- · Seeking God’s glory
- · Becoming more like Christ
- · Loving and spending time with our families
- · The Fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control
If we’re cramming every moment full it means that when unexpected things come up we’re less able to respond well to them and can become impatient or be less helpful and loving than we might be otherwise.
One example that always sticks out to me from the Bible is Isaac. When Rebecca was brought to him, it says that he had gone out to the field to meditate in the evening. How many of us fill up our life with things to the extent that we don’t have time just to meditate and reflect?
What I am learning is that I need to take things more slowly, be more flexible and keep the big picture in mind – tasks are important, but so are attitudes and loving others.
We need to realise that redeeming the time doesn’t always mean ‘doing something’ but can also mean meditating, reflecting and having enough space to be able to spend time with our families and other people in our lives when they need us.
Let’s not fill our moments so full that we neglect to live, talk and think in a way that honours Him.
Rhoda is a homeschooling mother of three little ones and English wife to an American missionary who is pastoring in the UK. She blogs at Living To Please God so that she can share what God is teaching her about living for Him, in the hope that it will help and encourage others.