It’s been a busy week. I’ve had the privilege of spending extra time with my mother this week as she’s been laid up with three compression fractures in her back. It’s so hard to see her hurting, and not able to eat because of the pain medications. I tried to make things that I knew were normally her favorites, to try to tempt her appetite, but until she could back off the pain meds a bit, it didn’t really work. The time spent with her was nice, though, as we talked and watched a few chick flicks together. I took my crocheting along and made some progress on the baby sweater, bonnet and blanket set I am making for Laurie’s baby. Bob was able to arrange his work schedule so that I could be with my mom. He travels a lot for his job, and of course I am always home with Robbie, so I appreciated his willingness to help out with that.

Then, of course, there was Thanksgiving, which also happened to be my birthday. I traditionally make the turkey, stuffing and gravy for our big family meal, so there are not a lot of early preparations I can do ahead of time. It’s all basically done on Thanksgiving morning, keeping an eye on the clock so that the turkey goes in the oven on time. As usual, everything tasted wonderful, but someone made the comment, “All that time making all of this and then it’s over in a matter of minutes!” We did take the time to thank the Lord for his abundant blessings in our lives and to share with one another some of the things for which we are most thankful.

Those were times well spent this week. Then there were the wasted times. Time I spent staring at a computer screen, struggling with writer’s block, I guess. Too much time spent in research for the book I am writing, and not enough time actually spent writing. Time worrying about the deadline that is looming and wondering if I will get it done in time. Time doodling as I waited for inspiration to come…

And what a waste of time my one attempt at snagging a Black Friday bargain was! Bob surprised me big-time with my birthday gift this week—the money to buy a new laptop for myself! And just in time for the Thanksgiving weekend sales, I thought! I poured over the ads until I found the perfect one for me—at a savings of $250 if I could get in on the doorbuster special! I went on Wednesday night to check it out and make sure they had it in stock. Yes, they had nine of them. Great! Even if there were twenty or thirty people ahead of me, they wouldn’t all be there for the exact same thing I was there for, would they? The chances of me getting the laptop I wanted seemed pretty good.

Not quite. I got up and out the door in the wee hours of the morning and pulled into the parking lot twenty-five minutes before the doors were to open. Call me naïve. I had only done the Black Friday, doorbuster thing once before with my sister many years ago, and then it had been a little crazy, maybe, but fun and not stressful at all. This time, when I got to the store ready to buy something I really, really wanted I was dismayed to see there were already 100-150 people ahead of me in a line that stretched from the doors clear around the side of the building. I went to the back of the line and started to shiver almost immediately. It was only about twenty degrees and I wasn’t dressed warm enough. Eventually a couple store employees came down the line handing out vouchers for the items people wanted, so they could go back to their cars and wait. The laptop I wanted was long-gone. I was disappointed of course, but grateful to get back to my car and go home and crawl back into bed.

As I lay there, trying to get back to sleep but still shivering, I thought about what a waste of time it had been, and that I would never, ever do that again, no matter how great the bargains sounded! I’m sure I would have felt differently if I had been able to get the computer, and then even the one or two hours I stood in line waiting to pay for the thing might not have seemed like a waste, but at that moment it all just seemed like a big waste of time. Oh, there will be other sales, probably almost as good, and if I am patient I will eventually get the laptop that is best for me.

Time is so precious to me, and I am sure, to you. Once those minutes tick by, they cannot be reclaimed. We are allotted in our lives so many years and months, weeks and days, minutes and seconds. Having a birthday this week made me think about time and wonder how many more years the Lord will allow me here on this earth. I am eager for Heaven, and yet, I want the time I have left here to matter. I go to bed sometimes thinking regretfully, “Well that was a wasted day!” On the other hand, on the days when I have really accomplished something I feel good when I go to bed, and grateful that I used my time wisely.

Robbie has had his days and nights mixed up again this week. He sleeps all day and evening and then, just about the time I am going to bed, he wakes up and wants to play all night. I feel badly that he is staring at the ceiling all night because Mom just can’t entertain him any longer. It’s hard to get him back on the right track because if he really wants to sleep there is nothing we can do to keep him awake, and if we do manage to wake him up before he is ready, he immediately goes right into seizures. I would love to convince him of a better way to use his time more wisely!

The Bible is clear that we are to use our time wisely. Romans 13:11 says, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (A good verse for Robbie, wouldn’t you say?) We do not know how many days are left to us individually, but the Lord says that our salvation—the time when He will take us out of this world, whether it be through death or the Rapture, to eternity with Him—is near! Until that time there is work for us to do for Him! Wake up and get to work!

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17) Using our time wisely means using it within the will of God. We sometimes are unsure of the next step in God’s will for our lives, but there can be no doubt in many instances of what is not God’s will. “Circumspectly” means not acting foolishly or sinfully as we did before we were saved, but being obedient. Our hearts know, our consciences know what is right or wrong; what brings glory to God and what does not; what is a waste of time and what is worthwhile. And “redeeming the time” ought to give us the sense of urgency, that because the days are evil we ought not to waste time.
What is truly God’s will, and the whole purpose of the Gospel, is that men and women, boys and girls receive the salvation Christ has offered through His shed blood. It is our commission as believers to be witnesses to others of the Gospel. It is our sole purpose to bring glory to God through lives that are a testimony of that salvation. It is our responsibility to use our time toward that end. Our days are numbered here on earth and we are to “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving…Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:2, 5)
God has promised blessings when we obey Him. Time is short. Time is precious. “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3) The time is at hand. We waste so much time chasing the material things of this world, the foolish things, the selfish things. Anything that draws us away from what is of eternal value. Time spent helping others is never a waste. Time spent being a testimony or sharing the Gospel is never a waste. Time spent in prayer is never a waste. Time spent obediently and wisely following God’s will is never a waste.
Redeem the time—time well spent.

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