31st May 2023

  Joel Meeker asks


What Do You
  Do in Your Free Time?

How we spend time shapes our character, our happiness,
our success and our future.
What do you do in your free time?

How does God want us to spend our time?

A few years ago, an African friend making her first trip to
a Western nation visited our home. She observed my wife working in
the house and preparing dinner.

She was amazed to see one labour-saving device after the other:
an electric stove, a large refrigerator and freezer, a microwave oven,
a garbage disposal, a dishwasher, a washer and dryer,
and a vacuum cleaner.

Finally, she turned to my wife in astonishment and asked,
"What do you do with all your time?"

Most of our friend's day, every day, was taken up with performing
by hand the tasks accomplished by our appliances.
She couldn't imagine having so much free time.

It's an interesting question to consider:
What do we do with all our free time?

We may not feel like it, but people today have more free time
than ever before.

For most of human history, people had to spend almost every waking
moment providing food, clothing and shelter for themselves and
their families.
It is still that way in much of the world.

Geoffrey Chaucer, in the 14th century, is credited with being
the first to say, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop."

Jesus corrected the Pharisees many times for their hypocrisy -
attempting to appear good on the outside while their hearts
were corrupt.

In the first century, the apostle Paul corrected Christians in Corinth
for, as we might say it today, "hanging with the wrong crowd."
These Christians were spending time with people guided by wrong values
and acting in wrong ways; this severely and adversely affected them.

Bad examples were crowding God out of their lives,
and Paul said it was shameful.
How sad it would be to have God say,
"That's all you accomplished with the years of life I gave you?"

Leisure time is what we have when we've finished working and
recuperating from work. It is our most valuable time because
we can use it to improve ourselves.
How we use our free time shows our priorities

God set the pattern by mandating one day of rest time each week,
the Sabbath day, for us to deepen our relationship with Him,
with our family and with other Christians

This shows the importance of taking time to reflect on life,
to take stock and to verify that we are pursuing what is
most important in life.

The Bible tells us to use our time wisely and with great care.

"See then that you walk circumspectly,
  not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time,
  because the days are evil"

.... Ephesians 5:15-16

The apostle Peter wrote that we will "give an account"
to God for the way we use our lives and what we accomplish

.... 1 Peter 4:3-6

What will we be able to tell God in that accounting?

How sad it would be to have God say,
"That's all you accomplished with the years of life I gave you?"

God tells us that one of the goals of the Christian life is to bring
"every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ"

This applies to every facet of life,
including the way we use our leisure time.

We are privileged to have more free time than ever before.
To use our time wisely and well is to spend our lives wisely
and well ...

and to please our Creator.

What will you do with all your free time?

About the Author
Joel Meeker is a pastor, writer, editor and administrator.
He serves as regional director for the French-speaking regions
of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association,
and as chairman of its Board of Directors.