Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)
TITLE: Time to Think
By Virgil Youngblood
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An unnamed author declared “Sin will take you farther than you intended to go, keep you longer than you intended to stay, and cost you more than you intended to pay.” The distance and the cost hinge on staying longer than intended.
The apostle Paul counseled, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) Redeeming infers buying back or reclaiming time that was lost. It also means to use well the time that we have, to not become so busy that we are distracted from the work we are called to do.
Because “all have sinned,” all have time that needs redeeming. If we have received God’s gift (John 3:16) and the promise of eternal life, we also have been given an assignment.
Paul instructs, “Walk in wisdom toward those that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4: 5-6)
Jesus commissioned us to “Go … and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you …”: (Mark 28: 19-20)
That classic race between the tortoise and the hare illustrates a worthwhile point. It’s not how fast we are moving toward the goal but rather, do we stay on mission? Choose you this day whom you will serve is a choice to be made with every sunrise. The psalmist said, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” When we keep our focus on our Creator, God helps us stay on course with His time management.
Years ago I was invited to join a Christian men’s organization. But with a wife and three young children and a demanding work schedule, I didn’t think I had any time to spare. But a wise counselor asked, “Would you consider joining on the basis that if God would have you be an active member then He will make the time available. And, if he doesn’t, then your dues will still help the organization and you will receive some great inspirational literature.”
I joined thinking I was only out a few dollars and had kept my busy schedule unchanged. But God did the unexpected. I have been an active participant in this ministry for over thirty-eight years. God gave me time I didn’t think I had and I was the better for it. It’s a mystery to me how God stretches time but I’m convinced that He does.
I have never forgotten the testimony of a woman in our church concerning answered prayer. Her burden was one of time management caused by her growing family. She petitioned God daily asking Him for patience. After her sixth child was born she quit praying that prayer – she realized God was giving her someone to be patient over. There is humor in that but a great truth also. God hears and answers our prayers, often in ways we do not immediately comprehend, or may never understand this side of heaven.
Do you remember reading in Revelation the scripture that says “…God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes…”? Why might there be tears in heaven? This scripture is frequently interpreted as God taking away our sadness and replacing it with gladness in heaven. That I believe, but there may also be another lesson to be learned here.
In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus both die. In Hades the rich man speaks asking Father Abraham to send Lazarus to quench his thirst. When that is denied, for no one can cross that great gulf that separates them, he asks that Lazarus be sent to warn his brothers so that do not end up where he now is.
Did you notice that after Lazarus and the rich man died, there is seeing and hearing and feeling, conversation and memory?
Can heaven’s tenants see the unsaved on earth as did the rich man speaking about his lost brothers? If so, their tears may well relate to how they spent their time with family and friends and others placed in their path during their earthly journey. Time they now cannot redeem.
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