Every morning my body has to adjust to a new day. The older I get the more I am reminded of how short life really is. When you are young the world is full of promise and the idealism of youth is energetic and hopeful. Aging has a way of tempering optimism. My wife visited her mother this past week and at 94 she seldom remembers Rebecca's name let alone how to read the bible that lays in her lap. Her youth is spent and she waits for the Lord to call her home.
It reminds me of a proverb I saw on a doctor's wall, "aging is God's way of weaning us from this life." Age has a way of forging wisdom if we will let it. Life experiences, added one by one, help us to see the world the way it really is, and gives us a perspective from which to make the most of it.
The days are evil, the Apostle Paul said. It was true then and it is true now, evil runs rampant and if we are not careful we will be swept away in its wake. But evil doesn't dictate who we are or how we are to live. Evil doesn't choose our state of mind or the attitude by which we meet each day. Evil is the enemy that would rob us of joy, shackle us to bitterness, and enslave us to its desires. Evil would have us seek retribution instead of reconciliation, mayhem instead of mercy, petulance instead of peace, fanaticism instead of forgiveness, and glory instead of grace. Evil lures us as an angle of light and devours as a prowling lion. It justifies itself as good and destroys the fabric of God's good will for our lives. The days are evil.
It is easy to focus on the big evils of our day and miss the little ones that have led up to them. Wars, persecutions, plagues, and rampant immortality mark the headlines, but they are the end result of anger, bitterness, lust, and greed. The days are evil, not out there, but in our neighborhoods, in our homes, and in our hearts. If we are not careful with the little ones the big ones will ultimately consume us. The days are evil.
If the days are evil then it is prudent to measure each day and use the time we have with care and wisdom. This isn't a call to conform every minute of our day to religious stuff. I am not saying you need to be involved in three bible studies, two service projects, and running around passing out tracts. Doing more stuff, no matter how good, isn't what Paul is talking about when he says we need to make the best use of our time. We are to use our time in wise ways, prudent ways, and godly ways. It is about loving God with our whole heart and loving others. It is about ordering our lives so that we reflect God's priorities. It is about seeing through the foolishness of this life and capturing the moment for God.
Nature abhors a vacuum and if we do not fill our time with godly things then evil is ready to fill it. With modern technology we are more connected and less intimate then ever before. Every emotional and spiritual craving can be titillated on the Internet but never satisfied. Texting, tweeting, and messaging allows us to communicate, but stifles conversation. Unplugging isn't the answer either. Evil always finds a way to distract us from what is important. Wisdom is needed.
Aging isn't such a bad thing. I don't like the new aches and pains, but I like the perspective it gives me. I no longer run frantically trying to force the will of God on others, but rather, with patience, allow his will to flow through me. It isn't easy navigating the course of this life and sometimes I would rather Jesus come back, but there is still more to be done in my life, in my little corner of the world. I will endeavor to use wisdom, making the best use of my time because the days are evil. I'm just saying...
Ephesians 5:15,16 "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."