Be very careful about how you lead your life! A couple of nights ago I was having supper with an old friend who was telling me something of his plans to retire and be free to go on trips and see people all over the country. It reminded me of the time when I stepped down from the law firm in 2005.
One of the great advantages of work, quite apart from the salary, and the identity it gives you, is the discipline that it imposes on your life: You have to get that train; You have to get to that meeting; You have to be up together on time suited and booted; ready to go.
A great struggle for many in the wake of retirement or unemployment is losing that discipline; that structure to your life. It’s of course wonderful to have the freedom for a while….You go and do everything that you want to do within months of retirement…And then what?
We can very easily find that the most important thing that we end up doing every day is reading the newspaper. We can easily feel rejected, empty and bored; miserable! We can feel that we have lost our sense of purpose and, if we are fortunate enough to have a spouse who is still busy with whatever they do…..then that can be a source of tension as well. As the wife of my firm’s former senior partner said to me once “I married him for life, not for lunch”
There can be a similar effect when our much love spouse dies and we are left on our own after years of being together. Our personal discipline can collapse because there is no one to be disciplined for….
We can be driven by sheer boredom into doing whatever comes to hand and, as St Paul says in this passage from his letter to the Ephesians (verse 16) the days are evil and so what comes to hand doesn’t necessarily do anyone any good.
Paul refers specifically to alcohol but it could be the slippery slope of drugs and gambling; uncontrolled eating…anything to fill the emptiness; to fill the silence…
Paul’s letter is written to Christians in Ephesus, people like you and me, who Paul describes (verse 8) as ‘children of light’.
And he says to you and to me (verse 15) ‘be careful about how you live’…‘don’t take part in the unfruitful works of darkness’…’live (verse 15) not as unwise people but as wise.
Paul is encouraging us to: get out; see people; help people; make an effort; look after yourself!
Just coming to Cameo, is a huge victory in itself but do even more….make the most of the time that you still have available to you!
In other words:
be deliberate about your life
be disciplined about your time
work out what the Lord wants for your life (verse 17) and pursue it and you will be making the most of your time. Seek excitement and joy in worshipping God through the Holy Spirit, which I can absolutely assure you, is every bit exciting as a bottle of good red wine but without the hangover…
Paul says be deliberate about your life!
15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20 giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.