Sunday, March 11, 2012

Redeeming Our Time

"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."  Ephesians 5:16 (KJV)

The Weymouth New Testament translation of the Bible words today's verse this way.  
"Buy up your opportunities, for these are evil times."

As a day comes to a close, I like to reflect back over it and think about all I did and smile at happy memories.  I choose to forget the bad and move on.  I thank God for every, single blessing He has bestowed, and then I like to perform an evaluation.  I try to remember the opportunities I've been given throughout the day, then take an honest look at how effectively I used them.  Did I redeem my time today?  Did I take advantage of every opportunity?  Did I buy them up?  

These are some of the things I think about....

Moments that deserved recognition...did I seize every one of them and give a much-deserved compliment to Kevin and Zachary when I noticed something special they did, how nice they looked, a job well-done?  They both bless my life in so many wonderful ways.  Did I tell them that today?  

What about moments that offered an opportunity to bless home, in the grocery store, at the post office, in the bank?  Did I seize the moment and make an other person's day?

Did I tell my loved ones how much I love them?  Do they feel secure in my support of them?  Do they know I am 100% here for the now?

Did I make the moments count?  Or did this day slip through the cracks with nothing meaningful accomplished?  

I love primitive crows, and a couple of Christmases ago, Kevin found me this sweet wall hanging.  

It says, "Do something to crow about."  

And shouldn't we all do that...every, single day?  Not that we need to crow about it or brag on our good deeds, but because it is the right thing to do and it pleases God in Whom we live and move and have our being.  (Acts 17:28 - KJV)

Over the past few months, God has impressed me to spontaneously reach out to bless others countless times.  On two of those occasions, I learned a very valuable lesson.  In the first situation, I felt God leading me to express my appreciation to someone who has really lifted my load over the past few years.  This person has been there, faithfully doing what they do, day after day, without the need for fanfare, in the face of some not-so-pleasant circumstances.  Because she did what she did, I was able to be relieved and permitted to focus on my own family and fulfill my own obligations.  

At Christmas, God impressed me to do something for her.  I went back and forth in my mind about it, because there were other people I wanted to bless, and I needed to make a choice.  Time after time, God kept bringing her to my mind.  I felt a sense of urgency, so I determined to go ahead and do what I knew in my heart needed to be done.  It seemed to mean so much to her to know that she was appreciated, and I felt so at peace that I had minded God.  Soon after Christmas, she suffered a stroke and is no longer a part of my life.  What if I hadn't been responsive to God's voice?  My opportunity to bless her would not be offered again.  I'm glad I redeemed my one-time chance.

A few weeks ago, God came to me again, concerning reaching out to someone.  It wasn't to show my appreciation, but rather to show His love to them.  Again, I struggled with what I should do.  And again, God kept bringing this person to my mind, so I obeyed.  I mailed the blessing, and a while later received a kind thank you.  On the very day I received the card, she underwent major surgery and now lies in the Critical Care Unit of a hospital....literally fighting for her life.  I'm thankful I bought up my limited-time offer.

I say this not for any self-glory...who am I?  

I say this only as a vivid reminder that windows of opportunity definitely do close.

We will only walk through this path called life one time.  We will only be given a certain number of days to live it.  People will only be in our lives for an unspecified period of time.  This is not eternity.  This is temporary, and one day, our final day will come to a close.  When we look back over the completed collection of the days of our lives, will we have bought up every golden opportunity?  Will we have adequately redeemed all of our time on earth?  Will we have made a positive difference?  Will our life really have counted for something good?  Will we leave this world a better place than we found it?  

I have learned that when God prompts me to do something, there is a reason for it, and it is wise for me to be quick to obey and not hesitate.  He sees both sides of the picture, and He knows how long the offer to bless will stand.  Think of it this way...every opportunity has an expiration date.  None of us know when that will be, but we know our chances to bless others will not last forever.

We've all lived long enough to know that people die, they move away, they move on.  They won't always need you the way they do right now.  Your spouse, children, and family need your kindness and blessings and positive reinforcement more than anyone else.  At the end of the day, they are the ones who matter most in this life.

My prayer for you is that today, this day in front of you.....the only one you really have to work with, will bring many opportunities to bless others.  And as those limited-time offers are presented to you, I pray that you buy everyone of them up...that you redeem every, precious second of your life.

Today....I hope you:

Speak kindly to your spouse.  Tell him how much he means to you.  Tell him he looks great, as he walks out the door.  Call him just to say "I love you".  Resist the temptation to nag or scold or complain...about anything at all.  Give him the gift of a peaceful day.

Sit beside your child(ren).  Spend 30 minutes doing something they want to do with you.  Don't criticize one thing about them all day....only words of praise and affirmation of their worth and value to you.

Call your Mom or your Dad or both....if that is not possible, think of one person who means something to you and call them today and tell them so....just because.  It may not be possible tomorrow.  Don't wait.  The offer could expire at any moment.

Make the atmosphere in your home pleasant today.  No matter what temptations you have to resist...make it happen.  You hold the power.  Be sweet...and kind...and gentle...and humble....and quiet, when necessary.

Spend each priceless, invaluable moment in the wisest way you possibly can.....tomorrow today's moments will be memories...will they be good or bad ones?  Only you can decide.  Only you can prevent your own regrets.  Redeem and buy up every opportunity.

Tomorrow, you'll be glad you did.

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