Lord, help us to be wise!

So, we are now in the post-circuit breaker Phase One period. Are you feeling like Noah and his family coming out of the ark? You may recall that the circuit breaker started on 7 April and ended on 1 June 2020. Many things have changed. Jobs have been lost, food prices have increased, religious gatherings have changed and the use of technology has increased. Businesses are now looking at changing their mode of operations. Why spend so much on rental when part of the business can be run from home? The decision is about keeping the balance between control and cost. What are the risks involved? What are the priorities of the critical functions? As Christians, what are our priorities for such a time as this?

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

The ancient Greeks had two words for time, Chronos and Kairos. The first refers to chronological time – the kind of time that we see on our watch; the kind we use to track our schedule. In this portion of scripture, the apostle Paul uses the word Kairos,[1] which means opportunity: a decisive moment in time.

Years ago at work, we were given the chance to name our team. After much prayer – you may have guessed it – I named my team “Kairos”.  As customer service officers, we speak to 80 to 120 customers a day. The words we utter can calm an irked customer down. The right word at the right moment can change the mood of the conversation. However, once the moment is missed, it is gone forever. It is difficult to express the joy and satisfaction of saying the right thing at the correct moment. We also regret the lost opportunity that slips away when we fail to say the right thing.

Christian living is much the same. God allows us to remain in this fallen world to continue His work and glorify Him. We are given the Great Commission. We are to live our lives as followers of Christ. Have we been wise and careful in seeking out the opportunities that God has given to us to share the gospel? The secular world focuses on effectiveness and efficiency, which is not a bad thing. However, in the work of God, effectiveness and efficiency may not always be the focus. If they were, God could use angels to share the gospel, and only intelligent, swift and powerful people would be chosen to become Christians. Yet, it pleases God to choose ordinary men and women to preach the good news that Jesus Christ came to die for a lost world.

I am always thankful that God allows us to be a part of His plan of salvation. Let us be careful and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit; to utilise the divine moments or appointments that God puts in our lives. Are we wise enough to see the opportunities to touch lives during this pandemic? Are we mindful of our daily actions? Are our words sweet and encouraging to those around us? In these times when there is less physical contact, do we draw them closer to Christ? Or do people avoid us as much as possible? There are many needs and cries today. If we let the moment slip by, as Mordecai said, “relief and deliverance will rise” from another area. We lose the privilege of serving God in that special moment.

We study the word of God. Let us live out the word of God. Will we be like the priest and the Levite that passed on the other side when they saw the injured man? Or will we choose to be the Good Samaritan who had compassion and tended to the wounds of the injured man (Luke 10:30-37)? One of the early church fathers, Augustine of Hippo in his “Confessions” wrote: “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like”. The issue is not knowledge but the willingness to be obedient, taking practical action. A “Kairos” moment passes by quickly. As we embark on project Ebenezer, we are reminded that we seek to build a spiritual church as well as a physical church. It is time to show practical love and draw people to Christ.

Coming back to the first thing that we did on 2 June 2020: What was it? Did we make a thanksgiving offering of praise to the Lord of creation or did we rush off to continue our “business as usual”? May the Lord help us to be wise in the way we live our lives as we keep our faith and love alive by labouring for our Saviour and Lord and seeking His approval always.

Dn Richard Yew