Redeeming the time . . .
BY PASTOR TONY REA | April 19, 2021
A big shot, American investment banker just happened to be standing at the pier of a remote, coastal Mexican village when he watched a very small fishing boat dock at the pier.
The boat was manned by only one fisherman who had just caught several large and impressive yellowfin tuna. As the fisherman got out of his boat, the American banker complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and then asked him how long he had been fishing.
The fisherman said an hour or two. The banker who was used to working long, 10-hour days, was somewhat puzzled. He asked the man why he only fished for a few hours and didn't stay out longer and catch more fish? The man replied that what he had caught that day was enough to support his family's immediate needs.
The banker said “But you only worked for a short period of time. What do you normally do with the rest of your day?”
The man said, “Each day I sleep in, and after breakfast I fish for a few hours. Then I go home and spend time with my children. I make a few tacos, take a long siesta; and when I get up, I go for a stroll into the village with my wife Maria. Then later on in the evening, I play my guitar with a few of my amigos. You see, I have a very full and busy life.”
Well, the banker could not believe what he was hearing. He said to the Mexican fisherman, “Today is your lucky day. I want you to know I have an MBA from Harvard University. I work for one of the most successful banks in America. I can help you succeed.”
He then said to the man, “Here's what you have to do in order to make it big. From now on you’re going to fish all day; and with the proceeds I want you to buy a much bigger boat. Then after a while, you can hire and train a few other fishermen; and with the profits from the bigger boat, you will be able to buy several more fishing boats until you have a whole fleet of boats. And instead of taking your catch to the village market, you will sell directly to the processor and eliminate the middleman.”
He continued, “Eventually you will want to open up your own processing plant so you can control the product, the price, and the distribution. At some point you will have to leave this tiny, coastal village and move to Mexico City and then branch out to the U.S. so you can run your expanding enterprise.”
The man asked the banker, “How long is all of this going to take?
“About 25 to 30 years,” the American said.
“Then what?” asked the fisherman.
“Then, you can sell your company stock to the public and become a very rich man,” the banker replied.
“And then what?” the fisherman asked.
“Then,” the banker responded, “then you can retire, move to a tiny coastal village in Mexico where you can sleep in late, fish for a few hours each day, spend time with your kids and grandkids; and take a siesta whenever you want to. And then you can get up and go for a stroll in the village with your wife Maria and play your guitar with a few of your friends.”
Now, when I first read this little story, I must admit, it made me laugh. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized there is nothing at all funny about this scenario. And the reason it’s downright sobering is because, in a way, many people today spend the majority of their time and energy trying to make a name for themselves—you know, hit it big in this life.
Instead of taking full advantage of the wonderful blessings God has provided for us, enjoying time with our families, practicing good health, living life to the fullest each and every day—we get caught up in a 30-year race to the top. And oftentimes in our wake, mistakes are made, priorities are lost, and important life matters go unattended.
Before you know it or realize it, months pass and then the decades… and you can’t get those years back. Once they’re in the history books, they’re gone forever. Time flies, and it does not return.
However, there is good news!
The God we serve is the only one who can redeem the time. We can’t recover years past, but God can bring fruitfulness where there has only been emptiness. God can turn around any situation, and He alone can bring good from what appears to have little to no value.
The key is desiring His purpose more than our own. The redemption process begins with full surrender to Him. This is the message Jesus was attempting to communicate during the Sermon on the Mount.
Romans 8:28 (ESV)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”