By Patti Chadwick
"So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days." Ephesians 5:15, 16
Time is and elusive thing. It slips away from us so easily, leaving us wondering if we have indeed used our time wisely. We are greatly influenced by the clock, so we must consider the role that time plays in Godly living.
God calls us to be disciplined in the use of our time. We have much difficulty managing our time and often feel that there aren?t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done. We feel pressure, because in this fast-paced society we have so much to do. But if we want to be Christ-like, we need set priorities and to be disciplined in our use of time because the way we use our time is the heart of a disciplined spiritual life. In John 17:4 Jesus says that he finished the work that God gave Him to do. From this verse it is apparent that Jesus lived His life in a disciplined manner, completing his assignment from God.
In Ephesians 5:15-16 (KJV), Paul tells us to walk 'circumspectly'. This means we are to walk carefully and cautiously, being mindful of every step we take and where it leads us. We are to be aware of how we are living. We are also instructed to 'redeem' or 'safeguard' our time. If we are not careful of how we use our time, we will be easily led astray, away from Godly living.
It is important to remember that we are accountable to God for the use of our time. Romans 14:12 tells us that day will come when we will have to give an account of ourselves to God. This refers to the Christian and non-Christian alike. Yes, we are saved by grace and not by works, but in Heaven, our rewards will be based on our works. We need to evaluate how we use our time and start spending it in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord.
Since time is short and its passing is almost imperceptible, we need to be diligently on guard in the matter of its use. We need to make sure that the busyness of the day and the 'tyranny of the urgent' do not hinder us from using our time wisely and in such a way that when our life is over and we stand before Christ we will be able to hear Him say to us "'Well, done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!?'" (Matthew 25:21). There is no greater joy than coming to the completion of our life with the peace of knowing we have used our time wisely and served our Master well.
One woman who 'redeemed the time' she had on this earth was Ida Wells-Barnett. Ida's fight for racial and gender justice began in 1884 while she was traveling to a school in Memphis. While on the train, Ida was asked by the conductor of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company to give up her seat on the train to a white man. She was ordered to take a seat in the smoking or "Jim Crow" car, which was already full of passengers. She refused and when he grabbed her wrist to move her, she bit him. The conductor then went forward and got two other men to help him, and together they dragged her out of the train, to the applause of the all-white passengers in the parlor car in which she was seated. When she returned to Memphis, she immediately secured an attorney and sued the railroad. She won her case, initially, but when the railroad company appealed to the Supreme Court of Tennessee, it reversed the decision of the lower court. This was the first of Ida's many struggles to overturn injustices in America against women and minorities.
Soon after the incident with the Memphis railroad, Ida took up the pen. Her teaching career ended after she penned a series of articles that denounced the inadequate education provided to Black children. A short time later Ida became part owner of the Memphis Star newspaper where she used her writing to launch searing attacks against the practice of lynching.
In 1892, three of Ida's good friends were lynched. The three men were owners of People's Grocery Company and their small grocery business had competed with white businesses. A group of angry white men attacked the People's Grocery, hoping to "eliminate" this competition, but the three owners fought back, shooting one of the attackers. The owners of the People's Grocery were arrested, but a lynch mob broke into the jail and dragged the three men away from the town and murdered them. This incensed Ida and she wrote a scathing article calling for justice. As a result of her investigative journalism and exposing injustice, her newspaper office was destroyed and Ida moved to Chicago.
Her move to Chicago did not silence Ida. Here she continued her blistering attacks on Southern injustices, being especially active in exposing unjust lynching of Black men, which were common in the South. Ida helped to found numerous African American women and reform groups as well and was active in the cause of women's suffrage. She also worked along side Jane Addams to successfully block the establishment of segregated schools in Chicago.
Ida Wells-Barnett was a fearless and well-respected fighter for the rights of all mankind. She was careful to spend her time fighting for the rights and freedoms of others.
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