"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil" -Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV)
God is good. All the time.
Over the past several months, Chrissy and I have been praying for the Lord to bring us into friendships with Christians who have strong families. Specifically, those who are homeschooling. The Lord has directed us to homeschool our children, and we have many questions on the subject and also, we really just wanted to spend some time with families that have older school-aged children who have had success homeschooling and are committed to building strong, Godly families. Well....He delivered. Quickly and plentifully.
This past weekend our family attended the NCFIC (National Center for Family Integrated Churches) Road Trip Conference in Taunton, MA. We were so blessed to be invited to spend the weekend with The Axbergs, a wonderful family of 6 who we had met only 2 weeks earlier. They are just the sort of family that we had been praying for connections with. We also spent time fellowshipping with other families who share the same convictions as us and the Axbergs. We saw God's love exemplified in so many wonderful ways...especially in the hospitality and selflessness shown not only by the adult hosts, but also by their children.
In the verses at the top of this post, we are warned of the condition that our world is in....evil. We are also encouraged to be educated and make the most of the time that we are given. To "redeem" is to take back. We are told to take back time that we had previously squandered and offered to fruitless and trite pursuits, and to use it to learn...to be calculated and wise. Sound advice in a culture that is producing it's most foolish and least-skilled generation in history.
Throughout our time both at the conference and in peoples homes last weekend, I saw the fruit of this time-redeeming. Families who took back time from foolish and worthless endeavors and are giving it back to the Lord in the form of educating their children and pursuing wisdom for their whole family. I watched 13 year old girls fully manage a kitchen and prepare meals for their families. I saw young boys show genuine care and interest in connecting with and engaging small children in fun, active play. Teenage boys with a strong working knowledge of tools and machinery. Teenage girls with passions for reading. On Saturday morning, I woke up and headed downstairs to find that quite a few people had already been awake. I was happily greeted by the daughter of one of the other families who was staying in the house with us and asked "Would you like a cup of coffee, Mr. Leo?". I was blown away. But I was blown away with a cup of coffee in my hand thanks to the genuine caring heart of a young woman who has been brought up to truly care for the needs of others.
Our media-crazy culture is making billions off of distracting us with nonsensical amusements to keep us entertained....dumb, and entertained. I have interactions with so many young people who hand away hours of their time to amusements that offer no redeeming value in return. I see 9 year olds buried in their Nintendo DS who can't hardly hold a conversation with another child. I see teenagers text messaging nonsense again and again and again and again. It breaks my heart.
My intent is not to put the young people who I spent time with this weekend up on a pedestal, but to mention how blessed I was to be able to see, firsthand, the fruits of "redeeming the time". These kids watch very little tv. I didn't see one of them use a cell phone all weekend. They couldn't comment on Lady GaGa's latest video, or how good Iron Man 2 was, or who got kicked off of American Idol last week. Some folks in some circles might look at these kids and call them "out of touch" or even "geeky". I call them fantastic examples of what happens when you follow God's word and not allow time to be stolen away by foolish pursuits in the name of "fun" and "entertainment". These kids were some of the most wonderful, skilled, funny, and joyful young people that I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Getting to spend time with them and learn from them and their parents last weekend was a true gift to our family.
One last story. Last Saturday the weather in Taunton was super hot and muggy. We were installing a HUGE air conditioner in the living room window. The father of the house told his teenage son to grab the tools and install the brackets that would later support the AC unit. The boy immediately jumped up and grabbed the cordless drill and in minutes, had the brackets securely in place. The dad didn't check the work. He didn't need to. It was done right. Years of training, he and his boy, had given both of them the confidence to perform this task no sweat. I look forward to the day when my children discover the beauty of using time wisely, and glorifying God in their wisdom and endeavors.