Ephesians 5:15-17

I’m sure you’ve noticed that each year almost all the major news magazines put out an issue with special pictorial sections recalling people and events that made news during the previous year. Many of the magazines also include articles by experts predicting what they expect to see happening in the years ahead. Some even go so far as to make predictions covering the next 10, 20, or more years in the future. In the past, a few of these predictions have proven amazingly accurate, while others couldn’t have been more wrong.

So here we are, the first month of 2018. I wonder how we’ll do this coming year. Will we be as busy? Will we make any better use of our time? In 369 days, when 2017 is over, will we be looking back with joy or with regret? Will we be looking at the future with anticipation or with dread?

There is a passage of Scripture I believe can be of help to us as we look forward to the New Year, if we’ll listen to it. The passage is Ephesians 5:15-17 and here is what it says,

“Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

I think in this passage the Apostle Paul presents some important lessons that we need to consider.

    I. Our Time on This Earth is Limited
First of all, we must be very careful how we live because our time on this earth is limited. The Psalmist wrote, “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life” (Psalm 39:4). And then again, “The length of our days is seventy years - or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

Psalmist also tells us to number our days so that we will develop a heart of wisdom.

    II. Make The Most of Every Opportunity
Paul tells us that we must make “the most of every opportunity” and he gives a reason: “Because the days are evil.”

A. Jesus said there are folks who are robbers and thieves (John 10:10). “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:…”

1. One of the things they try to rob from us is our time because time is a very precious possession. Just think of the time we waste gossiping or spreading rumors. Think about all the time wasted worrying about the consequences of our choices. But it is not just sin that makes demands on our timeSometimes even good things can make demands. Jesus went to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. He sat down to teach. Mary was sitting at His feet just soaking in every word; meanwhile, Martha was out in the kitchen preparing dinner. Now, you know the story. Martha gets upset because Mary is not in the kitchen with her. So, she complains to Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “‘Martha, Martha,’ Jesus answered, ‘You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:40-42). Was Martha committing a sin by fixing a meal in the Kitchen? No, of course not! But here’s the problem. She was so preoccupied with what she was doing that she didn’t realize God was in her living room. That’s the same mistake that you and I make every day. We get so caught up in the here and now that we fail to deal with the eternal, the things that will last forever.

We are also overloaded with possessions. Our closets are full and our garages are overflowing. We have gone into debt to pay for all of these things that we “simply must have.” And now we are so afraid that someone will steal them. We are overloaded in the area of possessions. We have an overload in the area of work. We get up early, work two jobs and experience difficult working conditions because we have to pay for all those possessions we’ve accumulated.

We have an information overload with the internet, 24 hour a day cable news programs, radio news programs and the piles of newspapers and magazines out there, we cannot possibly absorb it all. So we feel an overload in this area. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. There are so many demands on our time, so many good things that need to be done, but there are just 8,760 hours in a year. We do want to make the most of every opportunity, so what are we to do?

    III. Understand What The Lord’s Will Is
To answer that, Paul tells us, “...do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”

What do you think God’s will is for you in this New Year? Do you think He wants your mind so saturated with worries and anxieties that you can’t think spiritual thoughts? Do you think He wants your calendar so crowded that you don’t have time for the important things? What do you think God’s will is for you this year?

Let me make a couple of suggestions for you to consider. Establish your priorities.

I’m assuming that since you’re in church you believe God should be a part of your life. But you need to decide just where He stands in your life. So ask yourself, “Who or what is most important in my life?” I’m hoping your answer will be, “My relationship with Jesus Christ, is MOST importantto me.” If so, then “This will affect my decisions, my scheduling, my relationship with others and my whole outlook on life. Therefore, when Sunday rolls around, neither rain or shine, football kickoffs or trips will interfere with me being in church, because He comes first in my life. I’ll worship the Lord and nothing will interfere with that.” Schedule time each day to pray and to read the Bible. Pray for yourself, your family and for people around you. Pray for the church and for our missionaries. but you’ll be blessed as you grow in your faith and trust in the Lord.

Spend time with your family. Every husband here ought to have a date night with his wife. You ought to have a date night with your wife, a time when just the two of you get away and don’t have anything else to interfere. No telephones and no interruptions. Maybe at a nice restaurant or maybe at home, but wherever it is, spend some time together .

Spend time with your children, too. They’re growing up ever so fast. These are precious moments. Don’t let them get away. Make sure you spend quality time with your children. Make sure your family is very high on the list .

Be A Good responsible Worker on your job. Christians ought to be good workers. When someone appoint a Christian, they ought to know they are getting someone who will give them an honest day’s work. Because we’re Christians, we have a responsibility: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). So then,

Establish your priorities. Learn how to live today. The two greatest enemies of time are. Regrets for things we did in the past and anxiety about what will happen in the future. Many of us are living either in the past or in the future. In fact, many of us are engaged in the little game of. “I wish it were.” “I wish it were next week,” “I wish it were next month,” or “something.” We go to work and say, “Boy, I wish this day was over.” True, isn’t it? Another year has come and gone, and a new year stretches before us. Help us Lord, to redeem our TIME.

May your new year have enough happiness to keep you sweet, enough trials to keep you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to keep you happy, enough failure to keep you humble, enough success to keep you eager, enough friends to give you comfort, enough wealth to meet your needs, enough enthusiasm to make you look forward to tomorrow and enough determination to make each day better than the day before.

Lord, please help us to use the 8,760 hours of 2010 the wisest way we can for you and for your glory. Romans 13:11b-12 says, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

In His Service
Rev. Vinod D. Sarasam

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