Encouragement From The Word

Redeeming the Time

I’ve been spending a fair bit of time fighting traffic.  It’s about the only thing that causes me serious stress in my work.  Most days aren’t too bad, and most Fridays tend to be pretty good – but this Friday was awful.  No special reasons, I don’t think – just volume and fender-benders, as usual.

 

            Naturally, it got me thinking.  How can I redeem this time?  It’s pretty much inevitable that delays will occur.  My normal reaction to delays is not good, because I’m the sort of person who would rather be a half-hour early than 5 minutes late for anything.    Remembering that Jesus said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Luke 12.25, NIV), I figure there’s got to be a way to deal with traffic delays.  What could I do?  What can you do?

 

            Of course, if we own a cell phone, the responsible thing to do is to call the person who will be delayed by our delay to let him or her know that we’ll be late.  But once that’s done, how can the time be redeemed – used for some constructive, helpful purpose?

 

            Pray.  Talk to God about everything – not just your desire for the traffic to move more quickly.   God yearns for fellowship with us, and a time when we’re sitting, waiting for cars to move, can be a useful time to build our relationship with God.  I recommend praying with your eyes open for safety’s sake.

 

            Read Scripture.  Carrying on in the vein of “safety”, I recommend not pulling your pocket Bible out of the glove compartment and reading the Bible while sitting in traffic.  I do, however, recommend getting the Bible on CD or some other format and listening through your car stereo or one ear bud from your MP3 player or iPod.  In the coming months, watch for a program to come from the Canadian Bible Society reminding you that “You’ve Got The Time” – the time to listen to the entire New Testament in just 40 days, by listening to the CD for 28 minutes each day (the length of a typical commute on days other than today!).

 

            Meditate.  Today’s society tends to think of ‘meditation’ as an Eastern practice, where you have to sit cross-legged with your arms outstretched and your finger and thumb touching.  Not so!  To meditate means to contemplate; I think it’s fair to say that we don’t take much time to contemplate what God is doing in our lives.  As you listen to the Scripture and pray, ask yourself (and God!) how you could be growing as a disciple.  Every day, I need to ask myself, How can I go deeper with the Lord?  It’s a question worth asking.

 

            Understand the culture.  If Christ-followers are going to have an effect on the world, we need to understand the culture in which we’ve been placed.  One way we can do that while sitting in traffic is listening to the radio.  It won’t give us a perfectly clear picture of the culture, but if we know what our neighbours are listening to, it helps us understand how they’re thinking.

 

            All of this beats worrying, which will add neither a single hour to your life (nor a single cubit to your height, as some New Testament manuscripts put it).  So, don’t worry when you’re in traffic – it’s not under your control!  Use the time to grow in your relationship with God, which is.

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5 thoughts on “Redeeming the Time”

  1. Nice post Jeff. I redeem my commute by listening to the Word of God too. Thank you for mentioning the You’ve Got The Time project. God’s Word is powerful, and Audio Bibles make for a practical way to get and stay engaged.

  2. Jon, thanks for your comment. I’m hoping that as we roll out the “You’ve got the time” program with the Canadian Bible Society, God will use it to encourage more and more people to “read” the Scriptures – even when they think they don’t have the time! God’s best!

  3. When it comes to the word meditate, I am persuaded it is instructive to align it with the word ruminate. A person of God can look the part (split hooves), but should nevertheless internalize God’s Word (chewing the cud.)

  4. Thanks, Sam, for your comment. You’re right – meditating and ruminating belong together. And lots of folks read the Scripture, all the while resisting God’s personal overtures to go deeper.

  5. I always have a good laugh when I’m praying on the commute and something happens that forces me to slam on the brakes or hurt my hand on the horn. Actually, laughing obviouisly isn’t the first thing that comes to my mind but hopefully by building on my relationship with God – one day I’ll get there!

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