“Do not be idle in the evening.” Ecclesiastes 11:6 (NAS)
This is some of the best advice ever given for someone who wants to accomplish something in life and make their life count. It was written by Solomon, one of the most accomplished men who ever lived. The evening is representative of discretionary time, time which is free to spend as one pleases. How a person uses their discretionary time has the power to determine their destiny for good or for evil.
Evenings can be a great blessing if they are used wisely. It is a time to rest or recreate and be renewed in body, soul and spirit. But it is also an opportunity to invest in ones future, both temporally and eternally. People who have been diligent to redeem their evenings have gotten an education, started a business, built a home, finished that dream project or developed a new skill. Others have chosen to use their discretionary time to cultivate relationships, volunteer or serve others, and most importantly, invest in spiritual growth activities.
What a person does with their evenings reveals their heart. Free time is like money. If you want to know what you value do a heart check and look at how you spend it.
Evenings can also be a curse if they are wasted or misused. We are a nation that is obsessed with entertaining ourselves. One of the big consumers of time in the evenings is television and the internet. Both are at the beck and call of whoever holds the remote or the mouse. The genius of a remote is that a person can control things without having to get up, move or expend any energy. But here’s the danger, controlling everything by remote from your easy chair can lull you into an absolute and utter vegetative state.
The curse of evenings is that it is the time when we are most vulnerable to temptation. In free time we often let our guard down both mentally and spiritually. In that weakened stupor we will allow certain things in our lives that are toxic to our spiritual health.
One of the classic examples in the Bible of the danger of being idle in the evening is the story of David’s temptation and resultant adultery with Bathsheba. It all started with his changing channels and cruising the internet of his day, walking on his roof under cover of darkness. He was tempted to look for something he should not have been looking for and the rest is history.
The old saying “idleness is the devil’s workshop” is not far from the truth. My observation from reading the paper and seeing the news on TV is that the predominance of evil happens under cover of darkness. Too many sinful encounters, wicked plots, break-ins, robberies, fights and murders all take place at night. And it’s usually late at night – midnight, one o’clock, two o’clock.
That is why we need to be all the more diligent in the evening not to let our guard down mentally and spiritually. It is a time when we all are most likely to waste time and are most vulnerable to temptation. And so Solomon’s wisdom is worth heeding – “Do not be idle in the evening.” In other words – don’t waste your life.
To the contrary evenings are meant to be redeemed for good. They are brimming with opportunity for personal growth, investing in the lives of others and accomplishing a lifelong dream.
Evenings – blessing or curse? It’s your choice. And it just might determine your destiny. Please share from your experience how you have learned to redeem your evenings.
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