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Summer Sins
Redeeming the Time

 

We are in the midst of a study of summer sins.  While the things we are discussing are not exclusive to summer time, they are things that are more prevalent during this season due to opportunities.  In our study thus far we have examined the sin of immodesty and remembering God while on vacation.  Today we want to turn our attention to our free time while at home.  Summertime means longer days and more activities.  For those still in school, it can mean lots of free time – time that can be used to do nothing, to get into trouble or to do more good.

As Christians we need to remember to redeem the time.  It is an OPPORTUNITY to grow as Christians.  Eph. 5:15-16 says, “See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  Similarly, in Colossians 4:5 says, “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.”   In these verses we are challenged to use our time wisely.  We called upon to be productive.  In the context that Paul writes, he is challenging the spiritual achievements of Christians.

In this society, it is so easy to become distracted to do nothing productive.  In our instant gratification society, we have so many things at our fingertips: hundreds of channels on television, whatever music we want to listen to available wherever we are, places to go where we can just “hang out”, nice comfortable beds, and the list goes on and on.  While these activities may not be wrong within themselves (depending upon what we are watching, listening to or where we are going), it is possible to get caught up in the business of doing nothing and wasting away our lives. 

One challenge we face as Christians is the need to keep busy doing good.  Let us take a few moments to talk about this:

Rest is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with taking a vacation.  There is nothing wrong with taking a day off.  There is nothing wrong with slowing down our pace for a little while to rejuvenate ourselves.  Under the Old Law, the children of Israel were commanded to “remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” (Ex. 20:8-10).  It was described as a day of rest in which they were to do no work (however it was also a day of worship).   God rested on the seventh day after He created the world.   Jesus in His life took time to rest – Mark 6:31-32, “And He said to them (His apostles), ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.  When Jesus was at the well in Samaria we read, “Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well.  Jesus took time to rest.  And He even recreated at times (cf. John 2:1-2).  Our eternity is described as a rest (Heb. 4:9, Rev. 14:13)   Perhaps there are other passages that tell us rest is a good thing.   However, the challenge is to let rest revitalize us and then we need to get back to work or get busy doing good and productive things.

Wasting away our lives is NOT a good thing.   In the parable of the talents, we find the one talent servant displeasing to his master.  While his lord was away, he hid his talents and did nothing productive.  When his master returned he had nothing to show for his time.  His master said, “You wicked and lazy servant, …take the talent from him and give it to him who has ten talents…And cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 25:26-30)   

Have you ever wondered why this servant was called both wicked and lazy?  He was called lazy because he did nothing.  And laziness is strongly condemned in scripture: 2 Thess. 3:10 says, “IF anyone will not work, neither shall he eat...”; Prov. 6:10-11 says, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep – so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.”  Prov. 18:9, “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.  Prov. 20:13, “Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; Open your eyes and you will be satisfied with bread.  He was wicked because he made accusations against his master (that in the text are unfounded) and rather than take responsibility for his conduct he made pathetic excuses.   Think about it – being a servant he owed his master MORE than simply the talent he was entrusted with.  He owed him a fair day’s worth of work.  He owed him his efforts.  These were things he STOLE from his master.  Let us think about this when we want to waste away doing nothing and depend on others to sustain us.  While rest is good, there comes a time when it becomes sinful.  So rest if you must, but get back to work!

The quest for doing good – zealous for good works.  The life of a Christian is to be filled with doing good works.  James 1:27 tells us that “Pure and undefiled religion is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble…”   Galatians 6:10 tells us, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  These are just two passages that describe Christians as being busy helping others.  In Ephesians 2:10 we find that, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Titus 2:14 speaks of Christ having given Himself for us, “that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.  To do such things require that we be busy.  THE QUESTION we need to ask ourselves is: Are we doing enough good works? Most of us know that answering that probably calls for improvement in our lives.  BUT is our neglect a result of excessive wasted time? Is it so because we would rather do nothing or “goof off” all the time?  Just because we are in a season with more relaxed standards than at other times doesn’t give us excuse to spend all of it doing nothing.  Let us take advantage of such time to do some good.   

With a little extra time: Why not take a little time to visit our shut-ins or write them a note?  Look for an opportunity to help someone do what they cannot do for themselves.  Take some extra time to study a little more of God’s Word.  Find opportunities to do things WITH your brethren that will help to edify them (in the Biblical sense) and you.   The list can go on and on.  Be “zealous for good works.” 

Friends, my purpose in saying these things is not to “guilt us” into action.  It is simply to remind us that as Christians, we have to be busy and industrious with our lives.  Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”  When we stand before God we are going to give an accounting for the things we have done and not done.  In Matthew 25:31-46, as Jesus described the judgment He associated with the good works we have opportunity to do.  Those who availed themselves of that opportunity were praised and rewarded.  But those who did nothing stood condemned and faced “everlasting destruction” (Matt. 25:46). 

So with “the lazy days of summer” approaching, let us give thought to these things and make sure that when the summer is over, we are a little closer to God and that we have done something to further the cause of His kingdom.  Think about it.  And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:11)