Redeeming Idle Time

July 29, 2016  - By Gretchen Saffles

Every week I can’t wait for Friday to come. Monday-Thursday I make the best use of every moment I have and try to have my days planned so they are useful, but Fridays and Saturdays I don’t plan anything. I keep those days wide open for rest and catching up. However, I have noticed a recent trend in my life on my “days off” – I waste a lot of time

When I don’t have anything planned, I end up wasting a lot of meaningful moments either being “idle” or being restless. Let me explain with a story. This past weekend I had two opportunities to take a nap while my son also took his nap. When I laid down I decided to “scroll” through social media…which led to endless scrolling…which led to discouragement. All of the sudden I felt like this time of resting was completely wasted by the feelings that engulfed my heart! I caught myself wanting to start to work again, feeling like I was already behind on the upcoming week. I spent the rest of the afternoon having to refocus and ask God to redeem the moments I spent being “idle.” 

The meaning of the word “idle” from is this: without purpose or effect; pointless.

Do you ever feel like you spend moments doing something that is pointless? I absolutely felt that way last weekend. In no way did I seek first the kingdom by scrolling through social media feeds that would make me compare myself to others. In the moments when I fell into discouragement, God swept in with His sweet and mighty grace and reminded me that Jesus is capable of redeeming the idle time I feel I have wasted. He gives us purpose and a mission – even on the days off!

Two years ago I studied the Proverbs 31 woman and learned that she was anything but idle. Her days had purpose, from sun up to sundown. She lived to fear the Lord, and this shaped the way she made decisions, worked hard, served others, and spoke words. The opposite of being idle is being industrious, busy, and meaningful. I don’t want to be constantly busy doing things that I miss Jesus in the process, but I do want to be busy knowing Him and making Him known. Because of Christ, all of life has meaning, and that is good news, friends. 

If you feel like you can be a time-waster and fall prey to idleness, let me encourage you with this today: Jesus redeems the time, keeps the clock ticking, and is worth busying ourselves to know Him and be with Him. Following Jesus is the opposite of being idle, and even on a day off (and even through a good nap), I want that to be my purpose. 

rebuking idleness and embracing usefulness,


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  1. Thank you for this post. In my Bible study this morning, "redeeming the time" kept coming up. I came to your blog after I clicked my phone on because I thought maybe you had a phone lock screen that says "redeem the time" or something to that effect. And the first thing I saw when I opened your blog was the title of this post! I think God is wanting me to redeem idle time. Put the phone down. Serve His purpose and build meaningful moments with my children. Thank you for your servant’s heart and for your Give Me Jesus journal which has been truly changing the way I study the Bible. You’re a blessing!

  2. juliana monsalve says:

    gretchen gracias por este mensaje, es muy real Dios te bendiga ! soy juliana monsalve

  3. Thank you for this post. I’ve found myself in a place in life where I I have a lot more down time than usual (it’s wonderful, really) but I’ve ended up spending some of that time in idleness or guilt over not accomplishing a lot. I have to remember that God has given me this time to glorify Him whether I’m on a busy schedule where I’m super productive or a time of rest.

  4. says:

    What a blessing it was to read this post this morning. I know that there are seasons for everything and I just happen to be in a season of feasting – lots of rest, lots of me time, and really, lots of time to waste. During this time of rest, I still feel restless. I haven’t been using this extra time to glorify him, I have been spending a lot of it on useless things (i.e. social media, thinking of all of the things I should be doing with the extra time, etc.). Thank you for reminding me that all is redeemed through Jesus and for Jesus. I have been following your ministry for a year and a half now and every time I visit the site, I am reminded of who I am meant to be in Him alone. Thank you!

    • says:

      Carly, thank you for sharing this with me! What a blessing to read these words today! I am behind on comments, but the Lord knew I needed to read this one today!

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