Redeeming Our Time

“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5)

“Be such a person, and live such a life, that if every one were such as you, and every life a life such as yours, this earth would be God’s paradise.”
-Phillips Brooks

In these verses our Lord Jesus is teaching us a valuable lesson on the importance and urgency of redeeming the time–for our own soul’s sake, for the souls of men, and for the glory of God. Our fleeting “day” is merely the dash placed between the year we were born and the year we shall die. Jesus tells us that our time on earth is fleeting. Each one of us is to be about the Father’s business; investing our time in His priorities.

We would do well to remember that all opportunities God allows are both golden and unrepeatable. He may give us additional chances, but once an occasion to “display His splendor” is lost, it is lost. We cannot go back in time; we do not have the luxury of a do-over.

“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the full in every situation that you believe to be the will of God.” -Jim Elliot

It is not God’s intent for His disciples to remain idle. Like Jesus, we are to be about our Father’s business, approaching it with both vigor and industry.Paul gives us the following commands, emphasizing the importance of the most of each and every opportunity:

Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:5-6)

Jesus was always about His Father’s business–and His disciples are to be likewise.

“To love God, to serve Him because we love Him, is … our highest happiness … Love makes all labor light. We serve with enthusiasm where we love with sincerity.” -Hannah More

Jesus’ ministry would last only three short years, during which our Lord worked with diligence, a firm resolve, and a fixed purpose. With Him, there was no dilly-dallying around. He was on a mission and everything He did was motivated by his desire to accomplish God’s will. His goal was simply to please His Father. He therefore never allowed opportunities for the demonstration of mercy to pass Him by.

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
(John 4:34-35)

Jesus clearly likens our service to others as our serving Him: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
-Matthew 25:34-40

He also demonstrated His deep compassion and sympathy for mankind, spurring and urging His disciples–both then and now–into action:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
(Matthew 9:35-38)

Take It to Heart

Paul reminds us who it is we are actually serving when we set out to help others:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, to all the people you can, in all the places you can, as long as you can.”
(John Wesley)