Redeeming the Time
Over the last several issues we have been studying the Old Testament’s teaching on the Sabbath and possible reasons for God commanding it (Ex. 20:8-11) and declaring it the sign of the covenant He made with Israel (Ex. 31:12-17. I would like to end this series of articles with a few suggestions on how we, as individual Christians, might do just that.
Things to Consider:
- Evaluate your work life in order to determine if all that you do is necessary.
You owe your employer a “good day’s work, not your soul. If your job is keeping you from fulfilling your duty to your wife, children, or God, you need to look for a new job.
- Determine if your financial goals are reasonable or do they display a lack of faith. Is your lifestyle designed to please God, or to impress those who are materialistic? Is downsizing a possibility that would allow for less busy time and more available for rest, family, and service to God and others?
- Is it necessary for the wife and mother to work? It may be, but often it is just to acquire more things. Try charting the extra income and the expenses required for a mother to work. Often the net gain is negligible. Please, at least weigh the gain of a working mother or a workaholic dad against the loss of time for family and spiritual things.
- Consider if your children’s lives are overbooked or not. I realize that all of your children are extremely talented, but do they have to be involved in every possible extracurricular activity? Consider if they are involved because of their abilities or desires, or so you can vicariously relive your youth. They need time to relax and just be kids. Limiting their choices for outside activities may relieve stress on them and the family.
- Is the stress of overwork ruining your health? No job is worth your life!
- Are you or your children too busy to attend bible classes and worship services? Do you ever miss services for secular activities? You need to ask yourself if you would ever miss these activities in order to worship with the saints. If not, you may have a priority problem. You may not have thought about it, but I guarantee that your children have. Your choices may have accidentally shown them what you think is most important.
Things to do:
- Attend EVERY service physically possible, and bring your children (bible class, both services on Sunday, Wednesday classes, gospel meetings, etc.).
- If possible, use Sunday, exclusively, for rest and spiritual service.
- Devote one night per week (at least) for family time. Talk to your children. Play games with them. Answer their questions about life and the Lord. Finish the evening with bible reading and prayer. Be available to spend time with your family whenever possible.
- Encourage daily bible reading (no matter how short the reading) and prayer. Make sure that they see those habits in you. Let them know how valuable God and His word are to you.
- Always allow time to date your spouse.
- Devote one Saturday per month to absolutely nothing but rest and reflection.
Please accept these suggestions in the spirit they are given. All of them may not apply or be practical for every situation. But realize that God gave the Jews the Sabbath in order to correct some of the same ills that afflict our culture today. While Sabbath observance is not required of us today, as Christians we must voluntarily order our lives to deal with these same issues. Paul calls this challenge “redeeming the time” (Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5). Remember we only have a finite amount of time on this earth. Let us make sure that how we spend our time is worth what it costs us. We can never get it back.