Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Life and Chicken Wings

A few years ago I discovered the best chicken wings ever! In National City there is a Chinese restaurant that serves "salted peppered chicken" and they are delicious! Seriously, if you like salty and chicken wings you will love these.

I used to love buying a big bunch of them before youth group, but that proved to be more frustrating than pleasurable. You see, many of kids would take about two bites and and chuck the "bone"--with plenty of meat still on it! It would drive me nuts because I paid for them and I could see all the waste! Why were they not eating every bit of meat off the bone before going in for a new one? There is nothing worse than wasted meat on the bone...especially when we are talking about wings! Can I get an amen? I wonder if this is how God feels when we waste our lives?

So this Sunday I am preaching on Ephesians 5:15-21, one of my very favorite passages in the Bible. During my study this week I had an "ah-ha moment." In verse 16 it says "making the most of your time." I always understood the word "time" to simply mean "time" you only have 24 hours in each day so get the most out of them! Conversely, this is how I have always applied it to my life. This partially explains my drive (I think). I am an over-achiever and I set goals and accomplish them as quickly as possible. You know how the old saying goes: Life is short so work and play hard.

Now in Greek there are at least two words for "time." One is chronos which is kind of like chronology. This would be to reference the linear movement of time. This word best explains how I have always understood the word "time" in this passage.

But, to my surprise, the word used here is kairos which refers more to seasons or opportunities given with time. Interesting. Kenneth Wuest explains kairos like this, "The idea is not to make best use of time as such, which is what we should do in the sense of not wasting it, but of taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves."

In looking at my life and the culture around me, it isn't hard to see that we jam pack our calendars. I literally had to buy a smart phone so I could keep up with my day-to-day events. I confess that I justify the business of life by thinking that "I am making the most of my time." Unfortunately, the reality is that I am simply packing as much as I can into my schedule, rather than "making the most of every opportunity" (as the NIV renders this verse).

"What's the difference?" you may be thinking. Well, I can do a bunch of work-type stuff instead of spending time with my family. I think it is safe to say that many dads could make better use of their time by taking a day off and going to the beach with their kiddos, rather than work overtime! Now, on the other end of the spectrum, I think it is safe to say that there are some 30-year old men out there that should sell their Wii's and go to school and get a job that they could provide for a wife and family!

Yes, there are extremes on both ends of the spectrum. The bottom line is we each are given this day with opportunities to be seized or wasted. Are you making the most of the opportunities today, or is life simply passing you by at a frantic pace? Remember the chicken wings mentioned above? When you get a wing, you can make the most of the opportunity by cleaning all the meat off of it, or you can take one bite and chuck it wasting it.

I encourage each of us to think, pray, and reflect about how are we living each day! I don't want to end my life thinking this, "I have wasted it!" If you would like some encouragement in this area, I highly recommend the book Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper. Some of us may need to work harder, more discipline, and more sacrifice. Now others may need to cut their schedule, take a vacation, go swimming, play, and have some fun!

Lord, help me to make the most of this day and the opportunities that You give me!

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