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.
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?