See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
- Ephesians 5.15, 16
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 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
Paul reminds us that, when it comes to living as agents of God’s grace, 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.
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 menial 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 every day.
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 darkness. We must “walk circumspectly” – pay careful attention for goodness’ sake – at every moment, in every situation.
The anonymous author of the Liber was observing the same. He explained that it is the plight of people, fallen in sin, to struggle to recover and put to good use the gifts and abilities God has invested in them as His image-bearers. We must work hard to discover, develop, and deploy our God-given time and skills, and even then, without “vigilance of mind,” the potential these hold for Kingdom progress can be lost to us and others.
We need continuous renewal from the Lord if we are to be of use for the progress of His righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18). We are easily distracted, give in to temptation more than we should, fail to take our lives seriously, and harbor feelings of fear, doubt, and uncertainty, which keep us from fulfilling our calling to the Kingdom and glory of God (1 Thess. 2.12).
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.
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. They are wise who know that God’s Word speaks to every area of our lives, sheds light on all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities, and can transform even the darkest moments 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.
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 and you give ground to unbelief and indifference.
The days are evil, but we have been redeemed by God for good. We can fill this evil world with glimmers of grace, sparks of Spirit, and treasures of truth, and these may be just what God intends to use in firing up the next great revival. Yes, it’s a struggle, and we’re not always as mindful as we should be. But we can improve, and as we do, God will use us to channel His grace and truth into all the niches and relationships of our Personal Mission Field, turning our own little corners of the world rightside-up for King Jesus.
How will you prepare to make the most of every opportunity God brings your way 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!
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T. M. Moore
All psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Liber, p. 22.