15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts. 20 giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. [NRSV]
Do you know someone who tried to be prepared for every problem? Beyond the efforts of the best Boy Scout, there are those who focus on being careful.
Not just the over protective first mother who wants to sterilize the tongs to pick up the tongs to sanitize the fourth reserve pacifier.
No, I mean those folks who believe that they can take every precaution to prevent or to respond to any trouble. Travel means you take twice as much no matter how short the trip. There must be a balance between being careful in an evil and unpredictable world and spend life trying to prevent every problem.
Your helpful insurance agent will advise you that you can’t insure every problem. Instead we take enough of a risk to be responsible.
Knowing the difference is the WISDOM that Paul calls the church to remember and model. Take Care to be Wise.
King Solomon could be summed as one who learned that all the things in the world and all the wealth cannot replace knowing and trusting God.
How do we take care to be wise?
Make the Most
Paul gives more than advice; his words are instruction and challenge to the church. First, making the most is acknowledging the limits of time and the preciousness of life. Secondly, Making the most is more than putting a good spin on a bad situation.
Make the most is giving our best to trust God IN the difficulty of living in a sinful world, living an economic trying times, in a society of excess that promises success, happiness, meaning and peace.
If you knew how long you had to live, would it change how you lived each day? Know this, the day will come, in your life time, that your body will die. Between today and that time, what is the best way to spend the days and nights, weeks and years?
In answering this question, Paul cautions us not to be fooled.
Don’t be fool
The greatest threat Paul suggests is when we fool ourselves. Yes there is evil that confronts us all around, but it is so easy for us to reframe and excuse our selves from God’s wisdom calling our assumptions Godly, (pure definition of blasphemy)
The example he gives is one of being sober: alert and aware.
We find thrills at the theater with special effects that convince us that lasers can be used as handheld swords, magical worlds of mythical school or transformation of actors into characters that make us cry, laugh, cheer and fear to take a shower. Looking behind the scenes, under the makeup and out of the digital add-ons, we find what looks true may only be a true reflection director’s mind.
Our task of faith is to hold true to the story that gives life real meaning, power and purpose.
How are we not fooling ourselves or duped externally?
Know the Lord’s Will
The emphasis is on KNOWING, understanding, how to make the most of life.
“Why Do Fools Fall in Love Lyrics” Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers asks the questions why, but never gives the answer.
To be wise, is to be alert and seeking God’s will… Where to start?
It seems to simply. Paul’s instruction for how know if we are living God’s will starts when we are:
a) singing, psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
b) Making melody to the lord
c) Giving thanks.
This is a call to Passionate Worship.
If we are singing, praising and giving thanks we are headed in the right direction.
Charles and John Wesley placed a great trust in using hymns to teach the faith. For over 2500 years psalms have been used in worship and in personal faith development. Staying in a state of thankfulness keeps us in the lane of God’s direction.
You thought is was going to be something difficult and taxing?
Through the voice of Ellen DeGeneres, speaking for Dory, in the Disney movie Finding Nemo” saying, “just keep swimming.”
For knowing where to start finding our way to God, Paul says, “Just Keep Singing…”