Redeemed Time

Time is an odd commodity, don’t you think?  It can be spent, wasted, lost, but no one can make more or add more to the record.  We are told in Ephesians to “redeem the time, because the days are evil.”  Those words were penned in some pretty dark days, but I don’t think those days had anything on today.  So, am I redeeming the time?  Good question, since I should be writing a college paper right now.  Guess I should go do that and get back to you!

*  *  *  *  *

Okay, I’m back.  You know, there’s a funny thing about assignments that I don’t want to do.  They would actually take much less time if I didn’t spend so much time disliking them and dragging my feet!  I have one course this semester that I haven’t been able to really get into and enjoy the way I do most of my courses.  The assignments, while not long, only 1000 words, don’t appeal to me either.  In consequence, I have struggled with writing those papers for the last ten weeks.

I went and wrote the first draft of the latest paper during the break above.  I did have to take some breathers (pauses while I refresh my brain with a mindless activity like solitaire), but I actually got the paper written in fairly short order.  Not, of course, as quickly as I could have written this post or some of my other assignments.  When I like an assignment and can apply my creative bent to it, I am likely to go above and beyond the requirements.  I’ve done that in courses ranging from World History to Communications for Professionals to Human Development to Digital Storytelling.  It doesn’t matter the content of the assignment so much as the set up; i.e., is there room for my imagination to play or room for me to express my views on the subject in a thought provoking way.

But should it have to be that way?  What does the Bible say?  “Whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23).  I think that if I followed this with the assignments that I cannot enjoy, I would not only finish them faster, but would actually begin to enjoy them.  I can infuse life into most papers, though I have to be careful in doing so, depending upon whether the course material allows for creativity or not.  In any case I can act like I am doing something enjoyable instead of acting like it’s a chore.  Who knows, the acting could become the reality!

I hardly think that I’m the only one who has to write assignments that don’t appeal to me.  Maybe you, too, can give consider the assignment as something to do for God.  We know from Galatians that “in due season we shall reap,” so why not sow something worth harvesting?

Sure, I’d much rather be writing for my blog or working on my latest story ideas, but giving in and playing when I have work to do doesn’t build my character the way I want it to go.  Waiting until the last day to write papers doesn’t produce my best work, either!  That’s not exactly what I take “redeeming the time” to mean.

To redeem the time.  What does it mean exactly?  Well, in looking over the various meanings of “redeem”, it looks like in this context it means “gain or regain possession of in exchange for payment.”  That looks strange at first, applied to the commodity “time,” doesn’t it?  I think it means that instead of “filling up” our time, especially slack time between other tasks, we can be making time work for us, we can be possessing time as a useful commodity rather than either letting it slip away or letting ourselves fritter it away.  Does that make sense to you?

The payment part refers to our efforts.  No matter what we do, we could always be doing at least one other thing instead.  I redeemed some time by writing that paper, but I could have been writing this post, I could have been practicing my music, I could have been working on one of several projects, or I could have been posting to one of my college discussions boards.  I wrote the paper, so I did not have the time to do all of those things.  Just like when we buy groceries and don’t have enough money left for, say, a new game, a new CD, or whatever latest craze is out there that we want (but don’t need) to buy.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t spend time relaxing.  Actually, we do need to refresh ourselves in order to get the most out of the rest of our time.  Who hasn’t heard the old saw, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”?  At the same time, we can make our play time count too.  We can be enjoying uplifting music, reading (or in my case, devouring) good books, sharpening our brains at a game (I’m not a Sudoku adict, but it could get that way if I’m not careful), interacting with our families and friends, or exercising our creative powers, whether we be incline to write, draw, carve, paint, sculpt, garden, sew, crochet, or do any one of a multitude of other things.  Even watching videos and tv can be useful as well as refreshing.  My mom makes even lunch conversations count.  We may start a conversation talking about one of any number of mundane topics.  Then we’ll say something that reminds Mom of a story, and embedded in that story will be an important life lesson.  Those discussions are one of the best parts of homeschooling.

So think about it.  What are you doing to redeem your time?

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