The Celtic Revival: Celtic Christian Worldview (9)
All the goodness they had naturally implanted in them by their Creator, which they have discovered in some measure by concentrated effort, they scarcely keep with great vigilance of mind; and whatever [goodness] they find they have acquired through application with God’s grace, they do not leave to their heirs...
- Anonymous, Liber de Ordine Creaturarum, Irish, 7th century
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
- Ephesians 5.15, 16
Paul reminds us that, when it comes to living as agents of God’s grace in this present world, we are but frail vessels (2 Cor. 4.7). We can’t hold much, we tend to leak, and we wear out easily. If we don’t put the grace of God to use right away, while we have it, the chances are good we’ll fritter away the opportunities we have for serving the Lord and glorifying His Name. Then our grace becomes like leftover manna, palatable and useful to no one. And then we are no better than sinful men, who consume God’s goodness without gratitude and leave little for others.
What we may regard as the small abilities and limited outreach entrusted to us – and the passing opportunities that come our way each day – have the potential to increase God’s eternal Presence, promise, and power. In the Kingdom of God there are no small callings, no insignificant moments, no useless gifts, and no little people. We can redeem our time, and everything in it, but we’ll need to work at this calling daily.
For as Paul reminds us in our text for today, whatever we squander in the way of opportunities or moments will be lost to the Kingdom and gobbled up by the present world and its rampant wickedness. We must “walk circumspectly” – paying careful attention for goodness’ sake to every moment, every situation.
The anonymous author of the Liber was observing the same. He explained that, though we live in a hostile world, we must put to good use the gifts, abilities, and opportunities God invests in us as His image-bearers. We must seek grace from God so that His grace might reach others by our good words and deeds. This is how thanks and praise increase to the Lord (2 Cor. 4.15).
We need continuous renewal from the Lord if we are to be of use for the progress of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18). Because we do not always “scorn this present world” (Colum Cille), we are easily distracted, give in to temptation more than we should, fail to take our lives seriously, harbor feelings of fear, doubt, and uncertainty, and squander the small moments of goodness that might otherwise serve the Kingdom and glory of God.
The challenge of redeeming our time – making the most of every opportunity to glorify God and touch others with His grace – is upon us at every moment. Every moment we sow a seed of glory or leave a portion of our field in the darkness. We are either making progress or giving up ground, capitalizing on those opportunities or forfeiting them to the enemy of our souls, shedding goodness around or squandering it, seeking the City to Come or wallowing in the present world.
The key to making the most of our opportunities is to know and follow the will of God. Only fools think they can make the best use of their time without God’s guidance and power (Eph. 5.17). They are wise who know that God’s Word speaks to every area of life, sheds light on all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities, and can transform even the darkest moments or slightest apertures of opportunity into windows of radiant glory. As we daily search His Word, and submit to Him continuously in prayer, we may go forward in faith as witnesses to our Lord in every moment, every situation.
The writer of Liber de Ordine Creaturarum reflects the views of his contemporaries, who would say to us, “Don’t hold back, or you will miss the door God cracks open before you. Take your stand on His Word, call upon Him in prayer, be always vigilant in your mind, and go or speak or help or otherwise reach out to others with His grace. Make the most of every opportunity before it slips away.”
The days of this present world are evil, but we have been redeemed by God for goodness. We can fill this evil world with glimmers of grace, sparks of Spirit, treasures of truth, and granules of goodness; and these may be just what God intends to use in firing up the next great revival.
1. What is your approach to “redeeming the time” God entrusts to you?
2. How do you expect to see the goodness of God come to light in and through you today?
Psalm 24.1, 2, 5, 6 (Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
The earth is the Lord’s, as is all it contains;
The world and its peoples He daily sustains.
He founded it fast on the seas long ago,
And bid gentle rivers throughout it to flow.
A blessing all they from the Lord shall receive
Who seek Him and on His salvation believe.
For these are His people, the children of grace,
Who earnestly, eagerly seek for His face.
Keep me alert, O Lord, and willing to serve You – at every opportunity! Help me to know, at each moment, how to…
The Disciplined Life
Thanks so much to those of you who faithfully support the work of The Fellowship of Ailbe. God uses your gifts and prayers to reach thousands of people every day in over 160 countries. We praise the Lord for His having moved and enabled you to share with us in this ministry.
If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through Anedot or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Liber, p. 22.