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January 2011

Redeeming the Time

In both Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5, the encouragement is given to make the best use of time or the most of every opportunity.  Better is the translation that tells us to "redeem the time" (ASV) because it captures that sense of taking back what is so easily pilfered from us.  There is a deliberateness and militancy about that; in some sense, it is a battle, a war that will not end while we live on earth.  

So the verses have become my standard for the new year, an encouragement to focus, to not be distracted, to not spend my time on what is merely urgent, fashionable, or entertaining but what is the best for me, now, in this place, and in this time, to live out my various callings before God, given what gifts and abilities and time I have.  Implementing the verses' admonitions is another matter, one that calls for discernment and, at bottom, wisdom from somewhere else, somewhere beyond me.  And, as I was reminded in a sermon today, its provocation is not just toward grander to-do lists, toward more activity, but toward more listening, more being still before God as well as more focused activity for His Kingdom.

To that end, you will not see many words from me here in the near future, though I sometimes may not be able to restrain myself, and I certainly will update you on my progress from time to time.  A writing project that I have had on the back burner for some time, that I find daunting, beckons, and I must get at it with every spare moment allowed for writing.  I relish the focus even while I miss the immediacy and regular feedback I get from blogging.  That other project is a lonely endeavor, with little feedback, like climbing a mountain alone with no one to tell you what a great job you are doing.Whether via social networking or blogging, many of us live more publicly and with more immediacy than we may have at one time, and so disengaging from that ego-stroking (via seeing you comments in print, as a sort of self-validation, or via the immediacy of response) can be painful.  I'm not saying that's the primary reason we engage in this behavior, but I certainly realize the tendencies in myself.  So, I think this aloneness will be helpful to me.

For you, I hope you find ways to redeem the time, to make the most of every opportunity, in this new year.  May God give you discernment as you live it.