Redeeming Our Time Here on Earth

About half a mile from my house is a large cemetery. Every once in a while, my family will walk down there and explore. I have always found it interesting to read the epitaphs on the headstones. Some identify the person—“Beloved wife and mother.” Some describe the person’s character—“Faithful follower of Jesus.” However, it’s sobering to read the names and dates. I have a very common last name: Davis. There are dozens of Davises buried in that cemetery near our home. Some of them even share the names of my husband and children. Some of those Davises died in infancy. Some died in old age.

I always tend to have morbid thoughts after a walk through the cemetery. Sometimes I think about how I would respond if I had a child buried there. Or I think about what someone would write on my tombstone. Would I be remembered as “beloved” or “faithful”? Most frequently, however, I think about the fact that I only have so much time here on earth. If the Lord tarries, I am going to die someday—just like everyone else.

image of a clock on a desk

The Bible often reminds us that our life is like a “vapor” (James 4:14). We are admonished to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16). If you are like me, your days probably seem like an endless repetition of laundry, meals, dishes, schoolwork, and childcare. You probably feel like you couldn’t possibly add one more thing to your to-do list without passing out.

One way we can redeem our time is to prioritize and focus on what really matters. Christ stated that the two greatest commandments were to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36–40). That’s a good starting point. For me, the loving God part includes things like making time for my daily Bible reading and prayer and for church services and ministries. And the loving others part includes things like teaching my children (not only academic things but also spiritual things), and fulfilling my husband’s priorities for the day. Some days, prioritization may mean that the newest issue of my favorite magazine sits unopened, that I don’t get to work on a craft or project, or that my house is not quite as clean as I would like it to be. And that’s okay.

We only get so many hours in a day, so let’s use them well. If you don’t know how to best use them, ask the Lord for help. He promises to give wisdom to those who ask in faith!

How do you “redeem” the hours in your day?

Family Devotions (Part 5)

Here are my previous posts in this series on family devotions:

Let’s look at some additional obstacles to having regular family worship and consider ways to overcome them.

Bad Attitudes

Set an example of a thankful attitude—we get to worship God; it’s not something we have to do. As parents, we must quickly recognize when we have a bad attitude ourselves and repent of it before the family. Perhaps my bad attitude is even a reaction to my child’s bad attitude, but that doesn’t absolve me of my responsibility to walk in the Spirit and bear His fruit (Galatians 5:16–26).

When dealing with a bad attitude, ask yourself questions like the following, and encourage your children to do the same.

  • “Do I have a right to be upset?” (Genesis 4:6–7; Jonah 4:9).
  • “If God were here (and He is), would I want to be acting this way in front of Him?”
  • “Am I trusting the sovereignty of God, knowing that He is in control of how things are going today?”
  • “Is there a sin in my attitude or response that I need to repent of?”
  • “How can I rejoice, pray, and give thanks in this situation?” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).

From the Old Testament stories of complaining Israelites in the wilderness and God’s promise to replace hearts of stone with hearts of flesh to the New Testament epistles with instruction for Christian living, Scripture addresses wrong attitudes head-on. Simply reading through the Bible will give plenty of opportunities to teach about how to receive a new heart through salvation and how to maintain a pleasing attitude toward the Lord.

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Disinterest

Have realistic expectations regarding attention spans. A toddler sitting for ten minutes is impressive. If the older children are ready for a twenty-minute family time, perhaps you can give the toddler a book or some toys to play with quietly in the same room.

Be creative in keeping the children interested in devotions, perhaps occasionally livening things up with pictures, puppets, skits, object lessons, or coloring. The Bible communicates truth creatively (think of Christ’s parables), and so can we. Encourage the older children to think of ways to capture the interest of the younger ones. Involve older children in the reading, and challenge them through lively discussions.

Help Needed

The wife can be her husband’s helpmeet as he shepherds the family spiritually by being his cheerleader and giving words or notes of encouragement. She can ask her husband for specific ways she can help. By managing the household well, she can ensure that family devotions aren’t crowded out by the hectic pace of life (Titus 2:4–5).

Since the mother generally spends more time with the children than the father does, she can reinforce the family devotions by Deuteronomy 6 teaching at opportune moments. She can also help the little ones get up to speed for family Bible reading by telling them Bible stories with pictures.

If a godly father isn’t present to lead the family spiritually, God can still use her alone, as He did Timothy’s mother and grandmother, to teach the life-giving Scriptures, which lead to salvation through faith in Christ (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14–15).

Stay tuned for the final post in this series. We’ll talk about how to not miss the main point in family devotions.

Community Service? Not as Scary as You Think

image of lemonade with a free sign next to it.

Mention “community service,” and some of us get weak in the knees. Suddenly all our other commitments begin to protest inside our heads, and we find ourselves thinking—if not saying—“I simply don’t have the time or the energy.” We feel guilty because … [Continue reading]

Who Was Saint Patrick?

statue of St. Patrick The Pilgrim in Lough Derg, County Donegal, Ireland

Patrick, son of Calpornius, lived in the village of Bannavem Taburniae in Britain. While the year of his birth is not known, he probably lived from around 390 to 460. Patrick was probably raised in a wealthy home, as demonstrated by his knowledge of … [Continue reading]