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Redeeming the Time
The more we surrender our time to God, the less time will seem like an oppressive, systematic partitioning of days, hours and minutes. As God's Spirit consumes our time, the more it will seem like a wonderful mystery, awaiting definition from Him who is our Owner and Manager. And the pace at which He defines our lives is one day at a time.
Of course we should be reasonable and dependable, utilizing our brains and adapting ourselves to wherever we are. But we need never live like machines or errand-runners.
Jesus' preference is a more relational, eastern point of view than the western, task-driven point of view. If we want to imitate Christ in our time usage, then we should perceive our lives as a patient movement from one loving relationship to next. This is opposed to the western standard for relationships, which is to treat people as means to accomplishing our chores.
In the same way that Jesus saw eternal value in dealing kindly with whomever God put in His path, so also we should value and love whomever God places in front of us.
As for how many people and exactly who we know, this is up to Christ who leads us. Don't worry, this is not a random process.
We westerners tend to be impatient because we reserve the right to get certain things done by a certain time. We feel annoyed when anyone fails to return our phone calls promptly or doesn't show up when they said they would. It seems outrageous to us that someone might turn down the vast honor we afforded them by fitting them into our schedules.
Granted, if I have appointments, I intend to keep them. But success for me does not depend on any person showing up when I expect them to. I will deliberately utilize my time for good, but this depends first of all on what is Christ's idea of "good." And if my time requires defending, then Christ will rise to the task, just as He defends and represents me in every other area of life. This makes sense, that I should leave it up to Him to manage what belongs to Him. Practically speaking, this means I have every reason to be patient.
Knowing Christ is the solace that assuages the steaming stupidity of road-rage. We have unbeatable freedom knowing that He is the ultimate Steward and Guardian of our time, even despite all the crowded freeways, jammed intersections and long lines in the world. He is our Reality Check as we sit in our little privacy-bubbles-on-wheels, getting hot-headed despite all our top-of-the-line, bubble-climate-controls.
Our knowledge of God's greatness swallows up every reason to "loose it" during any situation that isn't going according to our preference. A Christ-follower who was arrested for his faith could sit in prison for decades and yet, because he sits by faith, he knows that Christ is still Lord over the passing years.
A Christ-dependent outlook on time frees a person from thousands of other distractions that seem like "good" things. We who know Christ know the One who is more fulfilling than every innovative distraction the world has to offer. Not that invention and improvement are bad things, but Christ-followers are called to focus all time and energy and attention on God's kingdom, regardless of whatever nice things are available for our tinkering.
We will strive toward maturity when we use less energy wrestling with itineraries and more energy wrestling with God's Spirit. It will never be a list of chores that helps us draw near to Christ or any heavenly goal.
by Patrick Roberts. Find his book and additional resources at www.BooksByPatrick.com
Patrick is an average Christ-seeker. His goal is to turn people to Jesus Christ.
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