15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
I spent Monday through Thursday last week at our annual Calvary Chapel Sr. Pastor’s Conference. It was wonderful. The best one I have attended yet. But because it was so wonderful it seemed like we (individuals and the conference in general) were under attack at all times. In the end, the Spirit Ruled, and the enemy sent packing. What a blessed time it was.
At any rate, you always leave these conferences with lots on your mind. You are refreshed and renewed and anxious to get back into the Word and take the energy and enthusiasm you have taken in and pass that on to your flock, or in this case your readers. I made a list of things that stood out to me at the conference in practical applications for me as a pastor. I’ll share some of them with you over the next couple of days, and save others for timely insertions in sermons or later devotionals.
The first one I want to start with is this: Time is short.
I don’t think it is a stretch to say that most Evangelical Christians believe we are living in the last days. I know, I know, the skeptics will respond by saying something like, “You stupid Christians have been saying that for 2,000 years and nothing has happened yet!” Well, stupid is relative and in this case would smash a door wide open for you to explain why Christianity is not stupid. But we also must remember that as previous generations shared this thought with others, they did not have the Nation of Israel like we do today. Israel, being the lynch-pin of Eschatology exists today as a sign that the end times are not near, they are HERE.
It is for this reason that I bring up the verse in Ephesians above. With time as short as it is, we must be looking to redeem every moment for His purposes. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I can spend less time in front of the TV, that I can choose more wisely the things that I read or participate in. Fellowshipping, being in the word, breaking of bread with brothers and sisters in the Lord are important things for us and excellent ways to redeem our time for the Lord and His purpose in our lives.
The ESV puts it this way: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” As I shared with our congregation this weekend, we are Christ’s Epistles to the world. We must be all the more careful as we walk in these evil times. Things are changing in this country, and even though Christians make up the vast majority of the population, we will continue to see increased persecution from society and from the state. It is happening already, and in some states it is already illegal to preach the truth of scripture, even from the pulpit because it has been deemed “offensive” and “hate speech”. Time is short.
Redeem your time. Be in the Lord’s work always. And with time as short as it is, make sure that every opportunity He gives you, that you share the message of salvation. It should pain us when we realize that the person we are talking to is going to spend eternity in suffering, when peace and salvation are there for the taking. Redeem out time.