Everyone has twenty-four hours in a day. Everyone has a set number of years in their life— God grants to each the exact number of days he wishes them to live, and no one can outlive their allotted years. Even so, as humans, we tend to waste our years. Given the most precious gift in the world, humanity squanders it on worthlessness. Despite this, God can redeem even the years the strongest of his people waste and turn them to good.
Modern Christians know William Wilberforce as the man who abolished slavery in England. He did it without a war, but through legislation; his bills regarding that particular vice made him one of the most well-known Christians in politics ever. But that is not where he started out. In his teen years, Wilberforce was an infamous partier, and hardly studied in college. At the age of twenty-one, whilst still in school, he obtained a seat in England’s House of Commons, where he would remain for many years afterward. His parliamentary career started out with solely himself in mind.
In 1785, however, Wilberforce had a spiritual awakening. He met the Lord and became a Christian, and decided to use his position in Parliament to do good for God. Despite the fact that few people in England’s upper society were interested in Christianity, Wilberforce allowed his Christianity and his politics to inform one another. He sought the eradication of evil in society through the rise of morality,
Wilberforce’s redemption of his once-wasted time came in the form of abolition. Joining forces with British abolitionists like Thomas Clarkson, Hannah More, and Reverend James Ramsay, he answered the call to stand up for what was right and protect the innocent. In 1789, he brought forward his first evidence to the Houses of Parliament. That fight lasted until 1807. In that time, Wilberforce gained ground and lost it. His allies died; his health failed. His bill was defeated time and again. The struggles he endured would not usually be counted as any sort of good.
But in 1807, he passed his bill. The abolition of the slave trade was accomplished. And Wilberforce was freed to fight on other hills and push for the freedom of all slaves already in bondage, which was achieved in 1833, only 3 days before Wilberforce himself died.
The beginning of Wilberforce’s life was wasted. He took his teen years and squandered them on having fun, drinking, and refusing to study. Even with this, however, God turned his life around and redeemed the time. Wilberforce was far from perfect, but God used his life to impact those of countless others.
As Christian high schoolers, we have an advantage. These years are ours to use for God. Summer is coming; for some of us, that’s just a break before another year, and for others, it’s the final summer before the plunge into college or the world beyond school. But regardless of where fall 2019 will take us, we all have one mission: use our lives to glorify God.
Maybe you are not the one who will get into government and change an entire nation. Perhaps your calling is only to talk to some coworkers, or help your parents, or stay diligent in preparation for college. God has called us all to something different; let us heed his call this summer and beyond. We are his. Redeem the time.