OUR OPINION: ‘Redeem the time … ’and beware the day’s evils

By NEMS Daily Journal

“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
- John Piper

From the idea that Someone else gets to set the rules for us to the teaching that everyone has sinned and thus needs a savior, the Christian gospel is an offensive piece of work.
Many also find offensive the admonition, “Do not love the world or the things in the world” (1 John 2:15). It’s especially egregious when we live in a world so full of things easy to love.
There was perhaps a time in history when idols were readily apparent. Carve a rock or nail some sticks together, give it one’s reverence or food or firstborn, and, voila, it was an idol.
Today it’s not so easy to tell. Activities, things and even people that are perfectly acceptable enjoyments in context can easily get out of balance and quickly graduate to obsessions and then to idols, essentially replacing God in our priorities.
Productive work is a good thing: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).
Improving our minds is scriptural. “Get wisdom,” the Proverbs demand repeatedly.
We are urged to take care of our bodies: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Enterprise, education and exercise, then, are all good things, but our society is full of proofs they can become idols when they occupy too much of our time, thought and treasure – or especially our trust.
The arts? Scripture praises those with artistic skills. Athletics? In the movie “Chariots of Fire,” missionary and Olympic athlete Eric Liddell says, memorably, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”
Entertainment? Surely it is good to appreciate our humanity as portrayed on the stage or screen. Surely it praises the infinite Creator to marvel at the mathematical precision of Sudoku or the heart- aching beauty of Beethoven or the belly laughs that spring from recognizing human foibles.
Golf or gardening, painting or pinochle, racing or reading can each be a joyous appreciation – but each can also be abused as an escape from real life and a sad replacement for One Who deserves our devotion.
Such constant temptation in this age is embodied in Paul’s admonition to the church in Ephesus: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15- 16).
A similar admonition Paul gave the church in Corinth helps us remember that our aim is not just to eschew evil but positively to honor God.
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31).