June 15, 2009
by Wayne Stiles
Some years ago I surprised my family by taking them to “Disney on Ice.” When I pre-purchased the tickets, the salesperson warned me that they offer no refunds. “Fine,” I said and scribbled the date and time on my calendar.
As the date approached, I watched my daughters’ excitement reach a fever pitch. Not even my wife knew what the surprise was. As it turned out, neither did I.
When we approached the coliseum on the big day, my eyes widened in horror. I saw families exiting the show! I thought the time I’d written down meant when to leave for the show, but it meant when the show started! My mind darted back to the salesperson’s ominous words: “No refunds.”
After recovery, I considered how we can miss the very blessings we long to enjoy in life if we seek them too late. When opportunity passes, we get no refunds.
God’s Word helps us anticipate the opportunities instead of recognizing them later with regret. The apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time.” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
Careful living requires “making the most of every opportunity” (5:16 NIV) or, literally, redeeming the time. In Paul’s day, the term translated as “redeem” was used when a person would completely buy out a product in the market. And the word translated as “time” refers not to a lifetime but to a season of life or “opportunity.” In other words, we should make the most of the season of life we find ourselves in right now.
But instead, children want to grow up, singles want to marry, couples want kids, and the aged miss the good old days. In each season of life we tend to pine for the blessings of other seasons—both future and past—and we miss the opportunities of today.
Imagine this was your last winter. What would you do? Would you build a snowman just because you could? Would you enjoy a roaring fire and a good book? Would it make a difference if you knew this was your last winter? You bet it would.
Take the same attitude toward the seasons of life. In what season do you find yourself now? A mother of young children? A single? An empty-nester? When time with your children passes, it never returns. Once the chance lapses to serve God as a single, it may not come again.
Perhaps you must admit to some wasted years. I know I can. But we can begin to walk wisely this year. God gives time as a gift—a gift we should use to the fullest. But remember, last year gives no refunds. So redeem the time!