Buyback: Be a Life Redeemer!

by Andy Wood on August 19, 2009

in Consumers, Executing Your Plan, Life Currency, LV Alter-egos, LV Cycle, Time, Waiting

backwards clock“So much of our time is spent in preparation, so much in routine, and so much in retrospect, that the amount of each person’s genius is confined to a very few hours.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Whatever happened to Green Stamps?  They’re an indelible memory of my childhood.  In case you missed it, the Sperry & Hutchinson Company, began offering stamps to retailers back in 1896. Grocery stores, gas stations and the like bought the stamps from S&H and gave them as bonuses with every purchase, based on the amount you bought.  In their heyday, 80 percent of U.S. households collected some kind of stamp.

My sister and I grew up licking green stamps and pasting them in books.  When the A&P bag began filling up with completed books, we started getting excited.  We’d peer at the two pages of toys in the S&H catalogue, surrounded by page after page of sheets, clocks, toasters, and other boring things.  (Truth be told, you could get virtually anything with stamps; a school in Erie, Pennsylvania, exchanged 5.4 million stamps for two gorillas for the local zoo.)

Anyway, when we had collected enough to make the trade, we’d go off to the Redemption Center.  Technically, we’d already “bought” the stuff.  We were presenting evidence of our purchase (the stamps) in order to redeem – to buy back – our merchandise.

This is not about Green Stamps, but about redeeming.  About buying back something that already belongs to you – namely your opportunities and your time.  Had the stamp books remained in my mother’s closet, we would have lived below our privilege.  We would have had the evidence, but not the experience.

Paul says to the Colossians, “Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5, The Message).  To the Ephesians, he said, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16, NKJ).  Interesting – both of these messages were sent from prison, where it appeared that Paul had nothing but time, and no opportunities.  But even there, he’d become an expert at seizing his opportunities and buying back the minutes.  Many people believe that while he was there, he was winning Roman soldiers to Christ, right and left.  So what’s your excuse?

Time vs. Timing – How’s About a Little Discernment with Your Opportunity?

The Bible is full of examples of people who jumped at what appeared to be an opportunity, only to get bit in the booty by bad timing.  Sarah  hatched (no pun intended) a plan to help her husband be a dad.  Joseph prematurely shared his dreams with a less-than-amused family.  Moses “offed” the Egyptian and tried to play referee before his time.  The children of Israel tried to storm Canaan after God had told them they’d be on the 40-year camper plan.  But when the opportunity did arise, in every single case, it came quickly.  They were literally making up for lost time.

How about you?  Will you be ready when God says, “Go”?  When the iron is hot, will you know how, where, and how long to strike?

Not without a plan and a prepared heart.

In each of the cases mentioned above, God carried his dreamers and leaders through a season of waiting.

Thinking.

Yes, regretting some.

But conceptualizing.

Designing.

Preparing to get it right next time.

So when he prepared a young leader named Joshua to succeed Moses, this warrior-turned statesman electrified the crowd with this memo:

“Pack your bags. In three days you will cross this Jordan River to enter and take the land God, your God, is giving you to possess” (Joshua 1:11, The Message).

 Why People Miss Opportunities

Know why people miss opportunities?  Sometimes it’s because they’re looking for opportunities.  (I could tell you how I know that, but it’s a little embarrassing.)  They’re living on This-Ain’t-My-Fantasy Island, waiting for the S.S. Opportunity to chug by.

If you wait to redeem the time until you see the opportunity, you’ll never see the opportunity… and you’ll waste your life!  If you don’t learn to maximize your time and resources when God says, “Wait,” you’ll never be prepared when God says, “Go.”

More later.  But in the meantime, whether it’s a waiting season or a call to action, be discerning… and be ready.

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