The Will of the Lord
In Ephesians 5:16, Paul instructs the church to make the best use of the time (commonly known as redeeming the time). The Apostle reminds his readers that the days we are living in are evil, and that only a fool would live in such a way that he is not fulfilling the will of the Lord (Eph 5:17).
One practical application of such a text is to have a mind about you that sees every moment of your life as an opportunity to “understand what the will of the Lord is” by being vigilant about the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).
Ray Comfort said something to this effect:
I don’t go to the store to buy milk any more. I go the store to share the gospel, and while I’m there I buy milk.
Ray has understood the will of the Lord, and, makes the best use of his time here on earth by taking every opportunity the Lord gives Him to hand out the free grace of God to those he encounters. He has taken it so far that he makes it clear that giving out the gospel is his first priority, while getting milk or gas or whatever his earthly duty may be is of secondary importance. 1
The Attitude of the Believer
The key to living a life like this begins with the attitude of the believer. A man or woman who, by faith, believes the truths of Scripture should understand that:
- Everyone you run into, (whether family, friend, neighbor or just a person you’ll encounter for 2 seconds at a gas station), is headed for Heaven or Hell at any moment (Hebrews 9:27).
- Our sovereign Lord has providentially placed you in the precise path you are on at every moment (Proverbs 16:9).
- Therefore, whatever your circumstance, you ought not complain, but you ought to be making the best use of the time (Eph 5:16).
With those ideas in mind, you begin to see how God puts you where He wants you, often despite your best plans.When we are busy grumbling about our circumstances, we miss these moments God has placed in front of us to spread his fame. Click To Tweet
Had to wait in traffic a little while longer today? Consider it providence. Wife or kid made you run late, and you forgot you also had to stop for gas? Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ put you, his ambassador, at that gas station at the precise moment He wanted you there, with the very people He wanted to be there at the same time. Will you make use of that time?
When we are busy grumbling about our circumstances, we miss these moments God has placed in front of us to spread his fame. Have this attitude that you are the servant of those around you, sent to die to self for the sake of the elect (Philippians 2:4-5).
Encouragement for the Obedient
God promises that He will not forget your labor of love for His sake (Hebrews 6:10). Dear Christian, I know that redeeming the time will cost you much! It will take you more time to hand out a few tracts at the store than to just run in and run out.
Striking up that conversation with the person getting gas next to you could prove antagonistic and awkward, or maybe the person will want to chat and it will cost you more time that you think you have that day.
And it seems everyone is particularly afraid of simply boldly evangelizing his own hometown. What if someone thinks you are odd? Do not forget your Lord is watching and it is before Him that you stand or fall, not your neighbor. It is the other person getting gas, the cashier at the store, and the waitress at the restaurant who will also stand before God one day. Will you be sure they hear the life-saving gospel?
Be encouraged. God provides a peace that surpasses understanding to His people who rejoice in Him always, eschew anxiety, and live in communion with Him through prayer (Philippians 4:4-7). Do not complicate the will of the Lord — obey what is so obviously the will of the Lord and the rest will follow.God's timing is always perfect. Enjoy it. Rejoice in it. Rest in it, dearly beloved. Click To Tweet
A Personal Story
Just this week I purchased some takeout at a restaurant. My normal, default behavior would be to order my food, then sit and stare at my phone. I justify my behavior by working on my scripture memory app for at least part of the time. But God had different plans this week.
A kind man, Eric, struck up a conversation with me. I saw it as providential that he was alone and wanted to speak. We had a nice talk, and I was able to leave him with a tract, We spoke a bit about Christ and church and prayer through a friendly conversation.
When I arrived home, my wife and I found several problems with our order. I have to admit I was disappointed. Good service is important, to be sure. No one wants to make two trips to the same restaurant for dinner, do they? But the problems with our meal were enough to warrant a return trip.
So I drove to the restaurant thinking to myself, “Maybe I’ll get to talk to Eric again.” Maybe he’s read the tract by now? When I arrived, I saw a lady with a baby (on one side of the parking lot) and a her son on the other side. I waved to him to cross, and he walked over to his mother, hobbling from a soccer injury.
Because of the boy’s slow movement, I had time to park my car. I started thinking, “This is it. This boy is why God ordained that I come back to this restaurant.”
And by God’s providence, I had a single Million Dollar Bill gospel tract in my car. I had just found it that morning from cleaning out our house for a move. I parked, grabbed the tract, and handed it to his mother. Eric was no longer there, but I was blessed to feel I had a purpose and significance in my minor inconvenience.
God’s timing is always perfect. Enjoy it. Rejoice in it. Rest in it, dearly beloved.
1 In no way do I propose that there are not important earthly tasks, even some which would require more attention at certain moments than evangelism. I am speaking in generalities.