My mom loves to watch a show called “Rocky Mountain Vet” on Animal Planet. I watched an episode with her recently in which a dog owner brought in his pit bull with a rattlesnake bite.
For a while, the dog’s life and leg were in jeopardy, and Dr. Jeff warned that even if he could save the dog, he might lose his leg, or it might never be the same. In the end, Dr. Jeff saved the dog and his leg, sending him home with his owner four or five days later.
It was a beautiful picture of redemption in the small R sense of the word. I get so much satisfaction when I see little redemptions taking place because it reminds me of what Jesus did on the cross for all who will believe.
Once we have been redeemed, how can we be anything other than little redeemers? Not in the sense that we save people’s souls, but we are made in the image of our Creator who chose to step into time and space to redeem us, so it’s natural for us to express redemption.
Ephesians 5:8-15 tells the believer to redeem the time. John Wesley made this comment about time redemption: “Saving all you can for the best purposes; buying every possible moment out of the hands of sin and Satan; out of the hands of sloth, ease, pleasure, worldly business …” All of us could do a better job of this, couldn’t we?
So many other possibilities come to mind.
Tending wounds (emotional and physical) in others is redemptive. So is cleaning, caregiving, yard work, decluttering, restoring old furniture, letter writing that is restorative — anything you can think of that attempts to return something to its original design or intent.
Redemptive work is active but not for the mere sake of activity. It’s more about being intentional. It’s about leaving a park cleaner than you found it. It’s about putting books back on the library shelf where they belong, even if — especially if — they were out of order when you found them. It’s about fixing a bicycle for a neighborhood kid who just wants to get back to riding with his buddies.
Of course, as little redeemers, our powers are limited.
The dog that Dr. Jeff saved may have ended up losing his leg or walking with a limp. The person you are taking care of might never return to good health. The bicycle you fixed for the neighborhood kid might only have a little life left in it. Even so, we do our part, knowing the long-term results aren’t up to us.