Redeeming the Time

My God,where has all the time gone? I will never forget that moment in time when my dad said to me,” You know, one day you will wake up and be 40 years old and wonder just where all the time has gone.” I was only 14 or 15 at the time and today, while I can’t even remember what 40 looked like, I can appreciate what he was trying to communicate. Time is a precious commodity and too often, we don’t appreciate the fact that it is passing by at a rapid rate. Too often we wake up realizing that we have wasted valuable moments and what could have been becomes a distant memory instead of a promising future.

In 1819, Washington Irving, an American author, penned a short story set in the years before and after the American Revolution in a village at the foothills of New York’s Catskill Mountains. Here lived kindly Rip Van Winkle, a Dutch villager who was a blessing to the children in the village, spending time telling stories and fixing their broken toys. He also loved wilderness activities and hanging out with his friends. But to his nagging wife’s dismay, he shirked his duties at home and their farm fell into disarray. One autumn day, to escape his wife’s nagging, Van Winkle wandered into the mountains with his dog Wolf and suddenly hears his name called out. He sees a man wearing antiquated Dutch clothing carrying a keg up the mountain hollow. Seeing that he needed help, he gave him a hand. Soon he hears a thunderous roar where a group of ornately dressed bearded men were playing “nine pins”- a form of bowling. He doesn’t ask who they are but instead begins to drink from the keg and soon falls asleep.

When Van Winkle awakens, he finds himself in a totally different season of living. His musket is rusty and falling apart, his beard was a foot long, and Wolf was no where to be found. He returns to his village and knows no one. He soon learns that a revolution has taken place and a portrait of George Washington has replaced the one of King George the Third on the inn’s sign. He then finds that most of his friends had been killed in the revolution and there was another Rip Van Winkle in the village-namely his grown son! He also discovers that he had been gone for 20 years, and  his wife had died some time ago, but the news didn’t sadden him.

Awhile back, I was called to the hospital to pray with a dying man. As he lay in his bed, with only a short time to live, I asked him if he knew Jesus, and he said ,”No.” So I knelt at his side, and he prayed with me and as the words of salvation fell from his lips, he began to weep uncontrollably. When we were done praying and talking, I was going to leave when he looked up at me and said something that I will never forget. He began,” There is something that you must know; I’m not crying because I finally made it right with God, but more so for the years that I have wasted when I could have had the joy and peace that I have right now.” He was talking about time that was too late to redeem. He died an hour later.

Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us this,” Be very careful then how you live-not as unwise but wise. Make the most of every opportunity-redeem the time, because the days are evil.” Question- What if you were to fall asleep one night and not wake up for 30 or 40 years? What would your reaction be? How would you feel about those wasted years and how time has passed you by; especially when you looked in the mirror?

I believe even more disturbing would be to hear the claims of Christ presented to you and realizing that He has something wonderful in store for your life, and then deliberately walking away and doing your own thing and rejecting His Plan- only to come out of the spiritual fog years later and realize that it was too late and a lifetime had passed you by.

In the Greek language, there are two words for the word time. Chronos time is simply time that just rolls on-day after day week after week with effortless boredom and monotony. I’ve seen kids lost in video games for days and weeks at a time with no real appreciation for the time that it is taking nor the opportunities missed. But Kairos time is time that is appointed. It is Divine! It is time in due season where opportunities abound. It is Kairos that is used to define time in this Ephesians scripture. Paul is challenging his readers that the times are evil and that they (we) must be careful how we use our time-being wise and making every moment count! Paul is saying,”Wake up church! We can enjoy the pleasures of life, but we must be aware that time is short and Jesus desires through us to extend His Kingdom Rule in a Culture that is decadent and crying out for answers. We are the Answer, because we have the Truth! Romans 8:11 tells us that the very power that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us. How can we sit on that and not take advantage of the time that we have been given on this earth to extend His Kingdom Presence ? There are Divine Appointments all around us waiting to be birthed if we are willing to seize the moment with open ears, seeing eyes, and expectant hearts! Don’t let life and time pass you by because of circumstances, perceived hurts, or selfishness. Rise up , experience the moment, become true History Makers and Changers and let it never be said of you that you sat on your gift while others were perishing!

We are a tapestry of life’s experiences, and when we allow those experiences to shape our destinies, what we are becomes a reflection of who we we were and most importantly, what we shall become-His workmanship redeeming the time allotted to us!Rip Van Winkle





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