Redeem the Time
Redeem the Time
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
The word translated “making the most of your time” or “redeeming the time” means to ransom, rescue from loss, or buy up. “Buying up opportunities” (Alf). “Making the most of every opportunity” (TCNT). “Make the best use of your time” (Phi). “Opportunities must be exploited while they last” (Bruce, p. 379). “Certainly wise people know that time is a precious commodity. None of us can stretch time. But wise people use it to the fullest possible advantage. For once it has passed, even the wisest people cannot recover it. Foolish people naively convince themselves, “Well there will be other times.” In contrast, wisdom is demonstrated by the prompt and discerning zeal to make every opportunity our own. “We say use the opportunity; Paul says buy it out, purchase all that it offers. That means: pay the necessary price in effort and exertion” (Lenski, p. 614). One either "uses" opportunities or he "squanders" them, and opportunity is given to all (Galatians 6:10; Matthew 25:14-15; Colossians 4:5).
The Things of Real Value
The world often makes the mistake of thinking that money, fame, pleasure and possessions are the objects of true value, yet none of that is true. What is really valuable?
- Being forgiven of your sins. Peace of mind. Being right with God.
- Having the Word of God.
- Being spiritually mature.
- Having your health. Being mentally healthy.
- Having people who love you, being surrounded by real friends.
- Having the time to change.
Keeping Track of Time
“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Psalm 90 presents a great contrast between God’s eternal existence and man’s temporary residence on the earth (90:2, 10-11). Among other things to “number our days” means “We cannot apply our hearts unto wisdom, as instructed by Moses, except we number every day as our possible last day… Of all the mathematical disciplines this is the hardest: to number our days. We count everything else, but we do not seem able to use our days rightly and with wisdom” (Psalms, Boice p. 744). It is so easy to lose track of time and to allow five, ten or twenty years of your life to just slip by:
- “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to use than when we believed” (Romans 13:11).
Being Quick to Repent
“Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?” (Psalm 90:11).
If there is in the face of all this one truth that man should have discerned, it is the power of God’s wrath. “But that just happens to be the one truth that men do not regard” (Leupold, p. 646). The reason that life is short and full of toil is that sin has merited God’s displeasure (Genesis 3). Even professed Christians at times will say that we talk too much about the wrath of God. Yet Moses said that we don’t talk about it enough. The implied answer is that “no one” really understands or grasps how God feels about sin. “We continue to sin and whistle in the dark” (Williams, p. 163). “In spite of all these signs of God’s displeasure, the message never registers until God brings it home to us… The psalmist includes himself among those who need this lesson” (Kidner, p. 330). Thus the Holy Spirit further exhorts us,
- “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). That is, the time to make the necessary changes in our lives is now.
- “For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you’” (Ephesians 5:14).
Even professed Christians can fall into the trap of thinking that they have an unlimited amount to time to finally pull their lives together.
There is No Gauge
“And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry’. But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” (Luke 12:19-20).
When I go camping each year there is a gauge on my propane tank that keeps me informed concerning how much propane I have left in the tank. There is also a gas gauge in all my vehicles that keeps me informed as well. Yet when it comes to my life, there is no gauge that can accurately tell me exactly how much time I have left. At 60 I might guess that I have used up 70-80 percent of my time on earth, yet that might not be accurate. Therefore, I always need to be right with God, for many people in the past have assumed that they had plenty of time left and died that very night.
“Because the days are Evil”: 5:16
Among other things, we need to carefully watch the use of our time because we live in a world that will gladly waste our time and our lives for us, if we allow it.
I Spent Too Much of My Life…
In the Parable of the Sower Jesus spoke of a heart filled with weeds or thorns that prevents any real spiritual or personal growth (Luke 8:14 “As they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life”). Peter writes about the various attributes that we need to add to our faith so that we end up living fruitful and productive lives (2 Peter 1:8). Titus is told to remind God’s people to be involved in good deeds that meet pressing needs, so that we avoid living barren lives (Titus 3:14).
- I spent too much of my life worrying about earthly things rather than focusing on spiritual things/Matthew 6:27; 33
- I spent too much of my life being angry, but not upset with my own sins.
- I spent too much of my life on things that had no eternal or spiritual value.
- I spent too much of my time being unprepared/Colossians 4:5-6
- I spent too much of my time substituting a fantasy for real life:
“New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show teens are having less sex than ever before, but they also are consuming more porn than ever. And while men still use pornography more than women, the gender gap is closing. Recent research shows a close and painful relationship between pornography and loneliness, especially for young people, according to Mark Butler, a professor at Brigham Young University. Butler and his colleagues found loneliness and pornography usage increase in tandem to one another in a self-fueling cycle. “If loneliness can lead to pornography use, and pornography use may bring about or intensify loneliness, these circular linkages may create a vicious cycle, pulling the user even further from health-promoting relationship connections,” Butler hypothesized the root of the problem is a deviation from design – God’s design, though he doesn’t name God. “The human sexual system is carefully designed to support both conception and bonding,” Butler wrote. He added that sexual pleasure is designed – both physically and chemically – to create attachment, and when pornography triggers that biological system, the user has a false relationship experience that provides short-lived relief from loneliness. But when it’s over, the experience “may only end up excavating a deeper loneliness,” trapping users in an “addictive void,” (World Magazine Online, The Loneliness Trap, Kiley Crossland, 7-13-2018).
- I spent too much of my life fighting against the reality that is clearly presented in the Bible.
- I spent too much of my time playing at being a Christian, rather than doing it right/Luke 6:46
Mark Dunagan | firstname.lastname@example.org
Beaverton Church of Christ | 503-644-9017