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According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Americans now spend more than 100 hours a year commuting to work. The nationwide average drive-time is about 24.3 minutes, which tops the average two weeks of vacation time (80 hours) taken by many workers during a year.

Rather than bemoaning the time we spend going back and forth from work, we would be better served by thinking of ways we can redeem this time and use it for God’s glory. Here are five ways you can redeem your ride. Use the time…

1. To Grow Spiritually

If you drive to work, why not listen to the Bible on audio? I’ve found listening to the Word to be a spiritually fruitful exercise. I often discover connections and commonalities in the text that go by unnoticed when I’m just reading. Try two or three different translations as you seek to go deeper in “faith that comes by hearing.”

I generally don’t recommend praying while driving, as I have a difficult time keeping my concentration when I’m trying to keep my eyes on the road. (Fellow motorists are thankful, I’m sure.) But some people are able to use their commute time for this purpose as well.

2. To Grow Intellectually

I usually take the bus into work. It’s a 40-minute trip one-way, which gives me a lot of time to read my Kindle. I alternate between Christian classics (many of which are free online) and academic journals (also free!). Reading during my commute time stretches me intellectually.

If you drive to work, choose some audio books. Or consider downloading audio lectures from seminaries and other educational institutions. If you are on the road for an average of an hour a day, you can listen to an hour-long lecture on any given subject. That’s like taking a 5-hour-a-week class at any institution.

3. To Grow Creatively

Your ride into work shouldn’t be a drudgery. You ought to also read books that stretch you creatively. Read fiction. Read books just because you want to.

If you drive, download some podcasts that are entertaining, not merely informative. Listen to audio dramas. Sing along to great music. Set aside some time for silence as well, so you have the space to consider new ideas and how you might implement them.

4. To Grow Relationally

Use your commute time to connect with good friends. Give someone a call and spend a half hour talking about life and work. Perhaps you can talk with a fellow coworker and process the day’s events together.

If you take public transportation, start making connections with some of the other regular riders. You will meet interesting people if you’re open enough to hearing their stories.

The ride home can also provide a “buffer” between work and home. Take the time to decompress from the stress of the work day, and try to recharge your relational batteries before going home to your family. You want to give your best at home. Let your commute time aid you in that goal.

5. To Grow in Gratitude

Very few people ever take the time to go through and consider all the good gifts that come from our Father. Why not spend some time being aware of the great joy of simply being alive? Look outside as you drive home. Notice the majesty of creation. Be aware of your surroundings. Bask in the ever-changing seasons. Thank God for the gift of life, of family, of employment. As N.D. Wilson writes:

There is a crushing joy that crackles in every corner of this world. I am tiny and yet I am here. I have been given senses, awareness, existence, and placed on a stage so crowded with the vast, so teeming with the tiny, that I can do nothing but laugh, and sometimes laugh and cry. Living makes dying worth it.

What about you? How much time do you spend commuting to work each day? What do you do to redeem the time?

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19 thoughts on “5 Ways to Redeem Your Ride to Work”

  1. Drewe says:


    I also have to often drive ‘for’ work. So I keep a selection of Audio books, podcasts, teaching, preaching and music for when my brain can’t take any more! I find it often more productive than sitting at work….


  2. Taylor says:

    not specifically work related, but I try to keep a trifecta going on my kindle. I always have one Christian classic, one fun fiction, and one secular classic in my ‘current reads’ collection.

  3. Don Sartain says:

    I love the ideas. I generally listen to worship music, or sometimes podcasts.

  4. Ralph says:

    My wife and I used to ride together on the 45 minute drive so that was time we could talk uninterrupted. She now works in a different city but we both invested in bluetooth ear pieces and we still spend a good part of the morning commute just talking. Some days it is the most uninterrupted time we have together.

  5. Joe Torres says:

    What academic journals are free online?

  6. Dan Fisher says:

    I pray during my commute (eyes open). I’ve found that it helps to build focus and it makes it very difficult to have road rage. J I also use my commute time to listen to sermons that I have down loaded. One pastor I like has a habit of preaching through books of the bible. So far, I have listened to sermon series on Luke, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Titus, Hebrews, James, and 1 John.

  7. Trevin Wax says:


    I’ve downloaded essays from the Journal of the Evangelical Society, the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, Themelios, etc.

  8. Sylvia says:

    Awesome Ideas!! I have been listening to James in my car, trying to memorize it. It’s amazing how the Word comes to me in conviction when I need to confess. Just last night, the Holy Spirit convicted me that I was not being quick to listen, slow to speak or slow to anger. “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I may not sin against you.”

  9. While I understand your use of the word “redeem,” it carries too much soteriological weight for our commute to work. I would prefer saying these are 5 ways to wisely receive – not use – the gift of time.

    For audio courses, I highly recommend The Great Courses (formerly named The Teaching Company):

    For developing the narrative imagination, I love This American Life (

  10. MarieP says:

    I ride the bus to work, 14 minutes one way. I have had numerous opportunities to witness to the lost, and there several Christians who are regular riders (including one of the bus drivers!) Unfortunately, people are increasingly tuning out on on their ipods, so it makes conversation harder. Because my ride is relvativly short, I don’t read much on the bus (except sometimes I bring index cards with Scripture on them for memorization.) I usually spend the time meditating on the Scripture I read before leaving.

  11. Walt says:

    I can memorize scripture while driving. I have a little different situation in that I’m in my vehicle a lot of the day as I’m self employed and my work involves making several service calls per day. I have Bible verses printed out in large print so I can glance at it to check my accuracy. P.S. I only look at it when stopped :-).

  12. Jeremy says:

    Thanks for the ideas! I have an 1:30 (one way) commute to school three days a week. I’ve definitely gotten good use of my kindle during these times. Like others I always have multiple genres going (Theology/Christian living, fiction, history/intellectual/non-fiction). Podcasts are also a great idea.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  13. Brian Roden says:

    I have no problem with using the word “redeem” based on Paul’s usage in Ephesians (in the KJV) of “redeeming the time” which in the NIV is translated “making the most of every opportunity.”

  14. James S says:

    I pray the whole 30 minute drive.
    I remember once i was heavy in prayer and went around a snowy bend way too fast, completely wiped out and slammed against a large pile of snow (ploughed off the road) which miraculously knocked me back onto the road safely, still going way too fast but at least able to now apply brakes to slow down. If that piled snow was not there, I would have most likely rolled the car and been in bad shape if I’d even survived.
    I was shaken up but went right back into my prayer, but I sure had a hard time concentrating the rest of the way to work.

    So be careful you don’t let your mind be removed TOO FAR from the task at hand. It’s easy to minimize how important the task of driving safely is. It requires your full attention.

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Trevin Wax

​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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