by Allan Knapp
 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Spoiler alert! If you don’t want to hear about something else to do, quit reading now!
If, however, you find you have lots of extra time on your hands, can’t get out and about, and desperately don’t want to waste your life, this is for you.
Ben Patterson tells the story in his book Deepening Your Conversation With God about the ruptured disks in his back that forced him to lie on the floor for six weeks. He couldn’t focus his eyes well enough to read, due to the pain killers. He tried praying through his church’s picture directory every day. At first it was because he was bored, then he realized what a sweet time it was. As he recovered, he was telling God it was sad that he would not have the time to continue the practice. God told him in no uncertain terms, “Stupid, you have the same twenty-four hours each day when you’re sick as when you’re well. The trouble with you, Ben, is when you’re well, you think you’re in charge; when you’re sick, you know you’re not.”
I realize not everyone has extra time right now, but for those who do, here is a suggested plan for using this opportunity. Pick something you can do that will be beneficial to you right now and perhaps be good preparation for work in God’s kingdom once you can move around more freely. Spend an hour in prayer, study a book of the Bible, identify and contact those who are lonely or need encouragement, listen to the suggestions Pastor Jason has given in his Connecting Points videos. Aim for something Philippians 4-ish: true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable. Ask God for help and pick something. Maybe your friends have ideas for things that would suit you well. Maybe it is a family rather than individual activity.
Then do your chosen task daily for at least two weeks. Regularly ask God for help in the doing. Evaluate after the two weeks. If it seems to be a good task for you, keep doing it. If not, try something else knowing that (a) your efforts were not wasted, (b) God is in charge and likes to answer prayers of those who are seeking to serve Him, and (c) maybe you will use the preparation some day when you least expect it.
Here’s an example. I’m trying to memorize Romans 8. The progress is slow; it’s very hard for me to do; I don’t like how much work and time it takes. But here’s why I will continue. I am amazed how often the phrases contained in Romans 8 show up in many other places in scripture. Surprise! God is consistent and lets me know He is in charge by kindly repeating His message.
So, if you made it this far, give the suggestion a try. Contact your elder or a good friend to pray for you as you get started!
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