Ephesians 5:15-16...See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Spending my time or investing it… having no regrets… finishing well.... however you want to look at it, I believe firmly that these truths are exactly the reason God has me right here, right now with the tasks He has set before me. I recognize that God has been piercing my soul with this truth for a few months now and the last few weeks I have felt ever stronger the need to make specific changes. I have long considered my time and so desire to transform my wasted moments into purposed and invested ones. Do you know what I mean? Every day is different and each moment I make choices that will please or not please my heavenly Father. What characterizes my moments….. are they intentional, purposed and invested…or am I prone to waste, pass or wish the time away? It is funny how the Lord intertwines so many "events" together as He continues to reveal His desire for change. I was recently introduced to a book I am enjoying immensely…..it is called Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney (and daughters), Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, and Janelle Bradshaw. I think this book, and the study I am doing with it, is one more tool the Lord is using to show me how He wants to change this area in my life. I recently shared with Chad that I felt this was going to be a study that I will mark a season of my life with. Do you know the kind I am talking about? A “red letter” study! Can I share a tiny portion of this small, well written, easy to read, resourceful, exploding with great wisdom, encouraging book!
“We’re experts in our trade. We know which time of year to shop for what items. We know which supermarket has the best produce and where to find the best deals online. We don’t get taken in by anyone, and, like Mom, we never pass up a good deal. The reality is, however, we don’t often manage the time God has granted us on this earth with the same intentionality or skill that we bring to shopping. Think for a minute:
• Do you plan ahead to maximize your fruitfulness each day or do you simply let life happen?
• Do you make choices based on Scripture or on what feels good at the moment?
• Do you strategize to use your talents to bless your family and church, or do you employ them primarily for your own personal fulfillment?
• Do you evaluate every opportunity in light of biblical priorities, or do you do whatever it takes to get ahead?
• Do you consider whom God would have you serve, or do you try to please everyone all the time?
While we constantly-almost unconsciously-plan, evaluate, strategize, and make wise choices when shopping, we often neglect to do so with the most important matters of our lives. We wouldn’t dream of going to the grocery store without a shopping list, or buying a car without haggling over the sticker price, or purchasing new shoes without checking the price tag, but we throw away our time as if we had an endless supply. As a result we often miss out on the best deals life has to offer and end up paying big time in guilt, anxiety, and a lack of confidence that we’re really doing the will of God. More often than not, we’re overwhelmed by life’s choices and demands. Perhaps most unfortunately, we lack fruitfulness in Christ’s kingdom. But it doesn’t have to be like this. We can know-with absolute certainty-that we are doing all God wants us to do. Peace and joy and rest can be an everyday experience. We can live a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called (Eph. 4:1). And we can anticipate that future day when we will hear those words--”Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21). How? By becoming shoppers of time. This isn’t our bright idea. It comes straight from Scripture. Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us how to live like we shop: “ Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil".”
The next page goes on to say…."We must develop keen eyes. We must examine our lives. We must evaluate our present manner of living and consider how to prepare for the future. We must walk circumspectly through each and every day. …...It necessitates that we look forward and not embark upon a course (whether short or long) until we’ve considered where it will lead. It requires us to take an honest look inside and question our motives, our reasons for the choices that we make. It means that we look around and take stock of our present fruitfulness. It entails looking beside us for critique, help, and wisdom from fellow believers. Most importantly, it means we look up and seek guidance from God’s Word. This is how to be intentional, purposeful, and, as this verse says wise in the way we walk.”
I love this part at the end of the book….
“We don’t evaluate our priorities, consider relationships, and simplify tasks merely to avoid being overwhelmed. We do it so that our manner of life would be worthy of the gospel. We do it because, by God’s amazing grace we can live a life worthy of the gospel.”
Consider this quote by Mathew Henry…”It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day.”