Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph. 6:15-17)
The chaotic schedule of stay at home moms, homeschooling moms and professional moms can leave us feeling like we are running around like a chicken with her head cut off. We often live trying to accomplish a hundred things at once without much thought of what is most important. This is not just thoughtless living, it is foolish. And Paul shows us a better way.
As Paul continues teaching us how to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, he encourages us to be wise (Eph 5.15). He says we should not be “unwise” which is a polite way of saying we shouldn’t be fools. So, what is a fool?
The book of Proverbs helps us to understand what a fool is. It is someone who does not understand or love righteousness (Prov. 13:19; 10:23). He or she is quick to become angry (Prov. 12:6), always has to be right (12:15), dabbles in deceitfulness (Prov. 14:8) and is arrogant and careless (Prov. 14:16). Foolish women do not respond well to discipline or correction (Prov. 17:10) and often times repeat their foolish behavior (Prov. 26:11). They have a worldly focus (Prov. 17:24) which leads to an unwise use of money (Prov. 21:20) and they blame God for their troubles (Prov. 19:3). In Eph. 5 Paul implies that the unwise are careless with their time and are ignorant of God’s will.
As you look at the traits of a fool, do you get glimpses of yourself? I know I do. While we all act foolishly at times, we want to be careful that we are not characterized by foolish behavior and attitudes. Instead, we want to be characterized by wisdom. A wise woman not only knows God and his word, but she puts that knowledge into action.
The wise woman will listen in order to learn (Prov. 1:5). She will love knowledge (Prov 17) and she will make sure that she takes counsel in other wise people, listening to their advice (Prov. 12:15). Those who are wise are self controlled (Prov 29:1), and careful with their tongues. And a wise person will make the most of their time (Eph. 5:16).
By nature we are all time-wasters. Just because what you are doing is “good” doesn’t mean it isn’t wasting the time God gave you, for you may be neglecting what God wants you to do today while you focus on something else that can wait. If we added together the amount of time we spend online, watching TV, on the phone, meeting up with friends when we should be doing other things, walking around the house pretending we are busy when really we are accomplishing nothing (I am really good at that one)... we could come up with a number of hours each week that could have been put to better use.
Making Today Count
“Oh, Jen, what’s the big deal?” some of you are asking. “It’s only laundry that I am not getting to, so my house is messy and my kids are eating jello for dinner, it’s not the end of the world.”
Sure, putting off the tasks we are called to do today may not trigger Armageddon, but it does bring a kind of destruction into your life. It puts your will and agenda ahead of God’s will and calling. This is why Paul says the opposite of being foolish is “understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Fools procrastinate, neglecting today’s work, while focusing on something else. Procrastination is presuming on God’s grace. When we procrastinate we assume that we have tomorrow though that is something God never promises us. We have been given today and by God’s grace we will see tomorrow. So we must live as though twenty-four hours is all we’ve got, and give ourselves to God and the things he has given us to do today.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
If you want to be wise you will need to know and understands this. Go ahead and make a list of all the things that need to get done, put them in order of importance, and then work hard. But you must also understand that because we don’t know what tomorrow holds and because the days are short we need to put God first. This doesn’t just mean staying in his word and in prayer daily (though that is a part of it). It also means, on a larger scale, that we live today before the face of God whether it’s a laundry day, or Sunday. This should also make us more mindful of the example we are to our children, how we speak to them, how much time we spend with them and what we are teaching them. It must cause us to spend regular time with our spouses, it should give us joy in caring for the material things God has given and it should make us mindful of how we spend our leisure time.
This really is a training of the mind. We need to constantly remind ourselves that we have been given today, not tomorrow. What should I fill it with? A wise woman knows that she needs God’s help in planning and prioritizing her tasks. She will plan for the future, but she knows that THIS is the day the Lord has made!