Sunday, May 1, 2011

Redeeming the Time

by C.J. Chase

I always find the first of May somewhat bittersweet because it reminds me of my paternal grandfather and the little proverb he would quote: On the first of May, all little birds lay an egg. Of course, Grandpa said the words in Dutch—in Dutch, May (mei) and egg (ei) rhyme.

With his fair hair and blue, blue eyes, Grandpa could have stepped out of a Rembrandt painting. Though born in America, he grew up speaking both English and Dutch. Until the very end of his life, long after he'd forgotten most of his Dutch, he carried the accent into his English with protracted vowels and nonexistent "th." (The Dutch language does not have a sound equivalent to the English "th.")
My father died when I was a kid, so my grandfather filled that fatherly role for me, even to walking me down the aisle at my wedding. It’s been nearly 20 years since Grandpa passed on too, but I still miss him. Few things remind us of the shortness of our lives like reflecting on the loss of a loved one.

The Bible has a lot to say about time. The verse that has convicted me most recently is Ephesians 5:16, "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (KJV). The NIV uses slightly different wording, "Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

Ouch. How often have I wasted time and squandered opportunities? How often have I let the temporal take precedence over the eternal?
The irony is that my life is so busy. I run hither and yon, watching the clock on my dashboard and calculating if I will be on time. And yet, looking back, how often did I fail to make time for the truly important things? Paul warns us "that the time is short" (I Corinthians 7:29).

Did I redeem the time I have by engaging my spouse in a quiet conversation today? Did I teach my children something new about God? Did I spend time with God? Just below Paul's warning about time is a promise, "For this world in its present form is passing away" (I Corinthians 7:31). How freeing! My house is going to pass away, dirty or clean. My books will pass away, published or not. My garden will pass away, weeds and all. Even that digital clock on my dashboard will pass away. In fact, all the things I cling to so tightly will pass away, except my relationships with God and His children.

Some day we will again see our loved ones who died in Christ. How wonderful that we have a God who is beyond time.

C.J. Chase writes for Love Inspired Historicals. Her debut novel, the winner of RWA's 2010 Golden Heart award for best inspirational romance, will be available in August under the title Redeeming the Rogue. C.J. lives in the swamps of Southeastern Virginia with her handsome husband, active sons, one kinetic sheltie, and an ever-increasing number of chickens. When she is not writing, you will find her gardening, watching old movies, playing classical piano (badly) or teaching a special needs Sunday School class. You can read an excerpt of her book at: http://www.cjchasebooks.com/

10 comments:

  1. Excellent post, CJ.

    Time is one of those abundant free things we take for granted because it is abundant and free. I'm sure we'd give more thought to how we spent our time if there wasn't so many hours in a day and if we had to pay for the ones there were.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Anita Mae.

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  2. CJ--

    What a wonderful testimony of your grandfather! And how true that we often don't realized how fast time is fleeting until we consider the end of life.

    Thanks for the reminder to focus on eternal things!

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  3. Thanks, Anita. Time is a funny thing. When you are a child, it seems to pass so slowly. And then somewhere in adulthood, it seems to accelerate.

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  4. Thanks, Barb. I wish my children could have known my grandfather -- if only to hear him talk!

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  5. Wonderful! Timely and poignant. Have a beautiful Lord's Day/May Day!

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  6. Ouch is right, CJ! I've been very aware lately of the time I've been squandering away, so this really speaks to me.

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  7. I really struggle with this. I am an obsessive DO-er, never having enough time to get through all the things I want to do. OF COURSE there's not enough of God on that list, either.

    I'm trying to simplify and enjoy more of the day as well.

    Thanks for telling us about your Grandfather. What a wonderful legacy.

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  8. Thanks, CJ. I'm keenly aware that I've been squandering my God-given time.

    I'm trying to simplify and spend more time with God, too.

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  9. Thanks, Cheryl and Dina.

    Suzie and Susanne -- I've had the same problem. Hence the reason I found that verse so convicting.

    Deb, I think the compulsive do-er is the other side of the same coin. It's an inability to prioritize. Something I need to work harder at .

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