Although I am in the wilderness it is not all briars and barrenness. I have bread from heaven, streams from the rock, light by day, fire by night, Thy dwelling place, and Thy mercy seat.
The annual holiday Yom Kippur begins this evening. It always reminds me of a surprising conversation I had in Jerusalem at the Western Wall. A Jewish woman approached me and engaged me in a talk.
She somehow knew my affiliation with a radio ministry and told me we needed to broadcast to the nations God’s way to be saved. I told her that was, in fact, our passion.
She smiled and shook her head no.
Then she shared with me a list of things all Gentiles need to do in order for God to accept them. I recognized some of the standards as being from the Ten Commandments, and I told her so. Again, she smiled and shook her head.
“Those commandments are for the Jews,” she said.
“Do you keep them?” I asked.
Integrity means that if our private life was suddenly exposed, we’d have no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed. Integrity means our outward life is consistent with our inner convictions.
No Christian pilgrim who visits Jerusalem misses the Garden of Gethsemane. The small section tourists get to see represents just a portion from the large groves of olive trees that still grace the slopes.
These olive trees crouch behind the rock walls of the Church of All Nations. Beautifully manicured pathways accent about a dozen ancient trees. These grow behind black handrails to protect the branches from souvenir-snatching visitors.
Today, crowds of Christians shuffle through the tiny garden like cattle through the Fort Worth Stockyards. But centuries ago on the early morning of April 3, AD 33, no Christian would have wanted to be there.
In fact, the few believers who were there scattered like frightened rabbits.
I’ve noticed an unsettling habit in my life. Whenever I find myself with a free moment, I feel compelled to fill it with something productive.
Because I hate to waste time, I fill it with activity and justify it as productivity. But I’m learning that constant movement doesn’t represent efficiency.
It could, moreover, represent just the opposite.
As with every other part of the human experience, Jesus remains our model of efficiency. But His life—even before the cross—was no easy walk:
- The demands on Him were constant.
- The needs He faced were overwhelming.
- The expectations He encountered were unrealistic.
No person was ever more qualified to do it all, and yet Jesus took life in the fast lane in stride.
What was His secret?
I hate wasting time. Time is more valuable than money, because once spent it’s gone forever. Time clicks by at 1440 minutes each day. Rich or poor, we all get the same amount.
When Paul wrote to the Colossians and Ephesians about “making the most of your time” (Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5), he probably didn’t have in mind multitasking or maximizing your commute.
Or maybe he did?
The phrase “making the most of your time” literally means “redeeming the time.” It refers to buying something out completely—you leave nothing on the shelves. Paul’s term for “time” refers to a moment of time—not to a lifetime.
In other words, each moment and season of time is our opportunity and responsibility. An effective use of time ultimately should show itself in knowing Christ and making Him known.
Because time is our most valuable resource—spent only once—I always try to make the most of it. If I can get something done while walking across the room, I will.
Here are 8 ways I am redeeming the time that you can too.
Whenever I visit the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, I’m eager to walk to the southwest corner of the Temple Mount.
I’ve never been to this corner on Rosh Hashanah or during the Feast of Trumpets, but I’d love to go there then. Archaeologists have uncovered a large portion of the first-century street that stretched north along the original Western Wall.
One hundred meters north of the corner is the part of the Western Wall where locals and tourists pray. But beneath the ground, Jerusalem’s Central Valley has been filled in with the rubble of the Second Temple’s destruction in A.D. 70. As a result, the beautiful modern plaza stands about 30 feet above the first-century street uncovered at the southwestern corner.
There at the corner lies a reminder of something Jesus predicted 37 years before the temple’s destruction.
And of a promise He made that could be fulfilled at any moment.
There are many things I can do . . . but I have to narrow it down to one thing I must do. The secret of concentration is elimination.
I’m taking a break on Labor Day
Here in the United States, today is Labor Day—a national holiday. According to the US Department of Labor:
Labor Day, the first Monday in September . . . is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
I hope you also have the day off and can enjoy a day with family, in the yard, or with a good book.