Walk in wisdom…
Redeeming the time (Colossians 4:5).
It’s been a busy week, but that seems to be the rule rather than the exception these days. And something tells me that every one of you can relate! Life is flying past us at warp speed, and we just try to run a little faster so can go with the flow. But does a life lived in “emergency mode” allow us to “walk in wisdom…redeeming the time”?
I log a lot of activity in my everyday life, including writing books and articles; appearing on radio and TV; teaching at conferences and retreats; making sure Facebook and Twitter and my blog are all updated; checking and answering emails…well, you get the picture. Many of you have similar schedules, or worse.
In the midst of all that I am determined and disciplined to maintain my quiet times of communion with the Lord—and I do. Yet I sometimes worry that I allow that time to be reduced to the level of some of my other must-do activities.
And then along comes a God-ordained encounter like the one I had this week, and it puts everything else into perspective. Did it take place at a Christian conference or a book-signing, or during a particularly meaningful radio interview?
No. I was running some errands with my mom and had stopped to pick up a few groceries. Mom stayed in the car to read while I ran into the store. In the express check-out line, the woman in front of me seemed to take longer than any twelve people should, and I was feeling more than a bit frustrated when I finally emerged with my single bag of groceries. As I stepped out into the sunlight and headed for my car, I heard these words: “Ma’am, can you spare some change?”
My natural inclination was to ignore the interruption and get into the car and drive away. But a still, small voice said, “Stop. Look at them.” So I did.
The thin, dirty, disheveled young couple, carrying what were no doubt their only earthly possessions in satchels on their backs, broke my heart. They could have been my children—or grandchildren.
I asked them to wait while I put the groceries in the car, and then I returned to hand them a few dollars. “May I pray with you?” I asked. They readily agreed.
As I laid my hands on their shoulders, I felt the young woman tremble as a sob escaped her throat. I prayed that God would reveal to them how very much He loved them and that He would hold them in His hands and draw them to His heart. When I finished, the girl looked into my eyes and I knew that she had walked with God at one time. It was obvious she had recognized my words and remembered the unconditional love that fueled them.
I have prayed for that young couple many times since that brief encounter, and I will continue to do so each time God brings them to my mind. I will also thank God for allowing me to have that redeeming moment in my otherwise busy week of hamster-wheel activity. It was the highlight of all I experienced these past days, as well as a reminder of why I’m here and why I do what I do.
Whether it’s writing or speaking, praying or teaching, we’re here for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission, of completing the ministry of reconciliation. If we want to see that purpose fulfilled, we need to “walk in wisdom…redeeming the time.” We can only do that when we heed that still, small voice that says, “Stop. Look at them.”