Honor God With Your Time –  Encouragement for Today – August 29, 2023

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Tsh OxenreiderAugust 29, 2023

Honor God With Your Time
TSH OXENREIDER 

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"Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16 (NIV)

For the past five years, I've taught at my kids' school ... so, like many teachers, by the time May rolls around, I'm counting the days until the start of summer. My body and soul yearn for a slower pace that summer affords, where there awaits the luxury of days on repeat that don't prioritize checking off a to-do list.

It's as though something in me is hard-wired to know that life is about more than just the productivity our modern world worships.

And yet, by the end of summer, I will come to depend on structure. When I've had enough easygoing mornings, afternoons spent taking the kids to the pool with a fat novel in hand, and plenty of movie nights, something in my bones craves structure, the scaffolding on which to hang my time.

Also hard-wired in me is the knowledge that, while life isn't all about checking off to-do lists, I'm made for more than lazy days.

God cares a lot about how we spend our time. Scripture is packed with reminders that we’re called to "number our days" (Psalm 90:12, NIV), that there is "a season for every activity under the heavens" (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NIV), and that we "do not even know what will happen tomorrow" (James 4:14, NIV). In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul gets right to it with this admonishment:

"Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15-16).

While Paul called the young church in Ephesus to live wisely in the midst of a pagan culture, this simple but challenging instruction holds just as true for us living in our current culture. God has not only appointed this specific time period for each of us to live in, but He has already orchestrated this unique day in which we're meditating on these verses. God cares about the particulars of how we spend our time.

Time is a gift. While there are seasons when it's fine for me to sleep in or enjoy an afternoon with a good book, I'm also called to use each day well. A key ingredient in our life's mission to love God and love our neighbor well is to understand the significance of fleeting time. God has asked us to make the most of every opportunity.

What does this look like? Most of us don't run large corporations, governments or institutions. I'd wager that if you're reading these words, your daily routine probably looks a lot like mine: folding laundry, answering emails, taking a kid to the dentist, making dinner, attending a work call, maybe meeting a friend for coffee. How do we make the most of every opportunity in an ordinary, modern life?

In my experience, this doesn't look like micromanaging every minute of my day or packing each hour. It simply looks like structuring certain parts of my day well while asking God to help me be available for everything else.

For me, this involves doable morning and evening routines. I call them "bookends" because even if the rest of the day devolves into unplanned chaos, at least the beginning and end have a fighting chance to hold it together. These bookends become the simple tool God uses to help me honor His reminder to make the most of every opportunity.

My morning bookend involves prayer, Bible reading, gratitude, and a review of the day's to-do list. My evening bookend is comprised of a shower, more gratitude, a prayerful review of the day, and a good novel. That's it. There are seasons, like the summer, when these bookends are an hour long, but most of the time they range from five to 30 minutes. The point isn't the length - the point is to use my time well.

Bookending my days with just a bit of structure helps me better use the rest of my day - whether that looks like making dinner and running errands or helping with a neighbor's sudden emergency in a complete turnaround from what I thought the day might bring.

God cares about every single second of our short time here on earth.

Lord, help me to honor You with how I use my time. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

OUR FAVORITE THINGS

For help starting and ending your days well, use Tsh Oxenreider's new journal, First Light & Eventide.

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Enter to WIN your very own copy of First Light & Eventide by Tsh Oxenreider. To celebrate this book, Tsh's publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, September 4, 2023.}

FOR DEEPER STUDY

Psalm 90:12, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (NIV).

James 4:14, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (NIV).

What is one small thing you could do each morning and evening to bookend your days well?

© 2023 by Tsh Oxenreider. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
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