See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5: 15, 16
Mary Slessor was a young single woman who left Scotland at the turn of the century to go to a part of Africa that was infested with disease and indescribable danger. But she had an indomitable spirit and kept going when lesser men and women broke down, ran, and never came back. Once, after a particularly draining day, she found herself trying to sleep in a crude jungle hut. Of that night she wrote:
“I am not very particular about my bed these days, but as I lay on a few dirty sticks laid across and covered with a litter of dirty corn-shells, with plenty of rats and insects, three women and an infant three days old alongside, and over a dozen sheep and goats and cows outside, you don’t wonder that I slept little. But I had such a comfortable quiet night in my own heart.” (Italics mine) -taken from “Ordering Your Private World” by Gordon MacDonald.
In this book, Dr. MacDonald writes on the necessity for us to have a quiet place where all is in order, a place from which comes the energy that overcomes turbulence and is not intimidated by it.
I’m convinced this kind of “quiet energy” is experienced only when we choose to value the development and strengthening of our inner being as much as we do the outer man. Think for a moment. How much time and energy have we already invested in our appearance today? (If you could stand to spend a little more time in this area, there’s plenty of space in line behind me.)
I’ve been jazzercising now for three months. Only in recent weeks have I noticed a tad more definition developing in my muscles. This doesn’t happen overnight, and neither does developing our inner being. It requires time, energy, and sacrifices to develop and strengthen our values, beliefs, and love for Christ and others. But when this happens, our time is redeemed, made the most of, in ways we could never imagine. Ways we may not even realize until we reach the other side of heaven.
Are you as inspired as I am by Mary Slessor’s story? God used the quietness dwelling in Mary’s heart to glorify Him in the hearts of many during her time in Africa, as well as countless others in years since. This spurs me on to consider the condition of my own heart. Mary could have spent her time complaining and mumbling about her circumstances (and honestly she had every right to do so) but instead, she chose to cultivate this kind of inner strength, thereby redeeming her time for God’s glory.
Is there some way I can pray for you today as we strive together to make the most of every opportunity?
Image courtesy of Pixabay