Over the centuries, the church has nurtured a dualistic view of life in which religious activities and professions are imbued with the holy and purely “secular” activities are at best seen as unfortunately unavoidable and at worst as base and unworthy. But Jesus is Lord of our whole life. All of it is sacred and can serve His purposes.
We have to work, eat, and sleep. Commuting, professional appointments, and shopping lines are facts of modern life. How can we redeem this time for the kingdom?
Work has definite rewards in this life, but done correctly can give eternal retirement benefits.
22 Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. ESV
Sleep takes up a third of our life. Why did God design us to need sleep? Sermons expounding how God created man because He is love and desired fellowship are legion. Why make a race that requires checking out of the conversation for a third of a lifetime? Aside from physical rest, which we do need for the body to repair and maintain itself, I believe the Lord works with our spirits in special ways while we sleep.
What we do before we sleep is important. The first step in maximizing the profitability of our sleeping hours is nightly meditation on the counsel of the Lord.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. KJV
Meditation on the word of God engrafts it into our hearts. If we make meditating on Scripture a nightly habit, when we fall asleep the thoughts of God will bubble up out of our souls.
I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. KJV
God instructs us in the night seasons. In my life, the Lord has done this through dreams. Have you ever faced a moral dilemma in your dream? What was your response? Deciding to behave righteously in our dreams strengthens our resolve against temptations in our waking hours. We are less resistant to many things while we sleep. If we have stored the word of God in our hearts, we are much better equipped to recognize His voice while we are sleeping.
Thou has proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou has tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. KJV
He tests us in the night hours. When we walk in victory over unforgiveness, fear, lust, greed, or anger in our dreams, rest assured we are gaining strength for victory in our waking hours.
Sleep time isn’t simple oblivion. It is a special time of fellowship with the Lord in which He instructs us, tests us, loves on us, and reveals truth to us without the distraction of our regular physical awareness.
Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. KJV
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: KJV
Waiting—be it in transit, in lines, or in actual waiting rooms—chews up an extraordinary chunk of our lives. We can potentially spend 3 years waiting for someone, 5 years waiting in line, and 6 months sitting at red lights.
Commuting is a great time for listening to audio books, recorded sermons, or praise and worship music. With the right audio system, we can turn the cab of our car into a sanctuary. If you happen to be a passenger and don’t suffer from motion sickness, travel time is great reading time. This is how the Ethiopian eunuch occupied himself on his journey with marvelous results.
I am convinced that always having good reading material handy is a life maximizer. Any enterprise that is purposefully outfitted with a waiting room instead of a serving line is sure not to be on time for your appointment with them. Instead of getting bent out of shape for having to cool our heels, we can use the bonus time to catch up on our reading.
Shopping lines are another challenging way station in life. We all sense we have better things to do than wait for the cashier to catch up to the customer demand. Why spend that time staring at someone’s back? Grocery lines are a great place to strike up spiritual conversations and give testimony of the goodness of God. Jesus did this while waiting for the disciples to return from a shopping trip.
Redeeming the time requires purpose of mind. When we discipline ourselves to do all things “as unto the Lord,” there will be no such thing as wasted time.