Saturday, September 29, 2007

Redeeming the Time...

*I apologize for such a long hiatus from blogging. I guess I have just been so busy that I haven't had time to do one of the things I enjoy so much. I will try to do better from here on.

Today we celebrated my oldest daughter's 8th birthday at a local park here in Lakeland called the Barnett Family Park. It really is a nice park, right on the shore of Lake Morton. The kids had fun in the park's "zero depth" water fountain playground as they got sprayed with water from all different angles.

We ate some pizza and had some good conversation with friends who brought their children to the party, then came the gift opening and the cake (baked it myself!). As the party was winding down, I was surprised when a teenage girl walked up to us and asked if she could have a piece of cake! I was there talking with my friend Matt when she approached us. The lady attending to the park and pavillion tried to dissuade her, but I intervened on her behalf. "She's OK", I assured her. The girl had been dared to asked us for some cake, it turns out. A lot of folks would get annoyed. I took it as an oppotunity from the Lord.

I invited the girl out to our church, and a she left to return to her friends with the cake. Something must have struck the two friends who dared her, because before I knew it, they had walked up to us. I started talking with them, and asked if they would like some cake too (we had plenty left over). They were actually surprised when I asked that. I brought them over to the table, and got to talking with them. Turns out that they had just moved to Lakeland from somewhere in Georgia. So, I asked if they had a church they went to yet, and when the said no, I invited them to my church,
Abundant Life. I asked them about if they knew the Lord, and they then had to go. They were so receptive to us. I pray that I not only will see them in church tomorrow, but that they will dive into a greater relationship with the Lord Jesus.

It reminds me of what the Apostle Paul wrote via inspiration of the Spirit of God. He said,
"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time". (That phrase, redeeming the time, simply means to make the most of every opportunity.) It is a sad fact that many Christians would not have followed such advice, but would have been annoyed that someone interrupted their time. I know, because I have been there and done that. But I had to realize that even those that come on the basis of a dare that is meant to annoy is an opportunity sent from Heaven to spread the love of Christ to those around us.

It also reminded me that I must have the mind of Christ. Life isn't about me and my family, even at my daugter's birthday party. God sends people our way who need what we have. That is why it is imperative that we show the love of Christ is all things. Christ had it made as he sat on his Heavenly Throne in eternity past. Here he was, the God of all that is, with everything at his word. All the glory, all the praise. Yet, the Bible tells us that he let go of all that glory and took on a human body. He became a man and was born into abject poverty. He went from the unspeakable glories of Heaven to the stench of an animal stable for us. And he took upon himself our sins as he hung on that cross, dying so that we can live forever with him in eternity. Talk about an inconvenience! But he was more concerned with our needs than with his own comfort! How is that for love?

I wrote all this to say this one thing: redeem the time. You may only get one shot at that person. Make it count. You may just make a splash in eternal waters for that person.

God bless!

1 comment:

Darrell said...

You are so right, Jeff. I have had many of those opportunities that I missed it, because I was too busy, didn't want to be inconvenienced, and so on. There have been times after I've blown it that I tried to go back and find the person(s) and was not able too locate them. Man, that is a terrible feeling to know you missed God and that a persons soul is at stake because you blew it. Thank God for his mercy and that rather than condemn us for it, He teaches us through it.

But back to your point, "redeeming the time" has been something that the Holy Spirit has really been dealing with me about in the past week or so. Seems like I let myself get lazy and have been missing a lot of opportunities.

Thanks for the kick in the seat of the pants.