Editor’s Note: The AMI Quiet Times for March 2nd-8th are provided by P. Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
1 Samuel 12:1-5
And Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have obeyed your voice in all that you have said to me and have made a king over you. 2 And now, behold, the king walks before you, and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day. 3 Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” 4 They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” 5 And he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.”
When I turned 30, I remember struggling with the concept of legacy, because I thought I had wasted most of my twenties and had accomplished little in my life. By the word “legacy,” I’m referring to the idea of how you will be remembered and whether or not your life has made an impact. As I thought of all the people that I knew who had gone on to become successful in business and other respected professions, for the first time, I seriously gave some reflection on what I was leaving behind as a pastor. In hindsight, maybe I was overly self-critical because I was reading the biographies of people who had accomplished great things before their 30th birthday. For example, John Calvin wrote The Institutes of the Christian Faith during his twenties. Charles Spurgeon was leading the London Tabernacle, a church of ten thousand people, before the age of thirty. But this self-reflection provided a healthy sense of urgency as well.
Though we can’t measures ourselves against ‘outliers’ like Calvin or Spurgeon, it is still vitally important to use the years of our youth wisely. The prophet Samuel reminds us of the importance of living a life of integrity from the outset of our youth and to not waste our time on frivolous things. From the early years of his life, Samuel walked before the people of Israel with honesty, compassion, and a clear conscience. And now as a gray-bearded prophet, this servant of God was able to use the authority that could only be conferred to someone who had been exonerated through a lifetime of character and conduct to both exhort and encourage the next generation. In other words, Samuel’s ability to influence people did not just happen: It was developed over a lifetime of faithfulness.
Most people don’t think about the type of legacy they will leave behind when they pass away. Too often, we only give thought to our legacy in our fifties and sixties; but this makes little sense, because by the time you’re that old, there’s really not much you can do to improve your legacy. You can certainly destroy your reputation at that age like many have done, but the older you get, the harder it is to leave a lasting imprint on those who will remember you. Personally, I don’t really buy the fact that fifty years old is now the new thirty. The time to think about living to leave a legacy is now.
Father, help us to number our days wisely. Instead of wasting our time living for things that will not ultimately matter, give us a sense of urgency for the things that will last for eternity. Remind us today of the importance of integrity and the character and conduct that is needed to truly influence the world around us. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Jeremiah 4
Lunch Break Study
Read Ephesians 5:15-21 (NIV)
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Questions to Consider
- Why is it important to make the best use of your time in the midst of an evil world?
- How can we ensure that we are living wisely and avoiding foolishness?
- Have you ever considered that activities like getting drunk are not just sinful but also a waste of time and opportunity?
- The literal translation of verse 16 is that believers are commanded to “redeem’ the time. We are to extract what is precious and pure from that which has become corrupted by the evils of our day. The apostle Paul is mindful of the fact that the ability to live for God changes from season to season, and while we can, we must make the most of every opportunity
- If we understand the will of God, we will keep ourselves from wasting our time on foolish and costly detours in life. As 1 Thessalonians 5 reminds us, the will of God is to pray without ceasing, rejoice always, and to give thanks in all circumstance: This is a good starting point in discerning the will of God.
- Sin impacts our lives in more ways than one. Time wasted on sinful pursuits should also bring us to sorrow and repentance.
How did you spend your time today, and how can you make better use of the time God has given you? Reflect on the productive things that you accomplished and think of ways to minimize wasted opportunities.