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Are you Redeeming Your Time?

- Tom Jacob, Mumbai

Time and tide wait for none”, goes the age-old adage. The Word of God commands all believers at all times, “Redeeming the time for the days are evil”. A majority of believers are very careful concerning their finances regarding how they spend it, and they understand the need of wisely investing for eternity (though several do not have the same attitude). However, when it comes to our attitude toward time, sadly this is not the case. Quite often, we don’t seem to value time the way we value money.

Even in a digital age when we talk about bullet trains and the “new-gen” gets everything at the click of a button, sadly most of us still have a very careless attitude regarding managing our time. Consequently, we end up devaluing the time of others as well! The visible trend in most of our gatherings is that several believers casually walk into a meeting without regard to what time the meeting starts (surprisingly, none of us have this attitude when we need to travel). However, such are very careful to note that the meeting ends at the prescribed time.

So, the question is how do we bring a change in our attitude regarding time? Let’s look at what the scriptures tell about this

The reality

The Word of God very clearly reminds us about the brevity of our time on earth (Psalm 39:4-5; James 4:14). Therefore, we are exhorted always to wisely invest our time. Moses the great man of God prays, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). This can be possible only when we live our lives on earth having eternity as our perspective. Though we are finite humans with a finite lifespan on earth, we possess a spirit that lasts for eternity. Solomon the wise one says that the Creator has set eternity in our hearts (Eccl. 3:11).

Moreover, as children of God, we are expected to be faithful stewards of all that God has entrusted us, and this includes every moment of our lives. And, we need to give an account of how we spend our time to the One who adds every second to our lifespan here on earth. Let’s therefore look at certain expectations God has from us as believers regarding our attitude toward time.

Redeem it

We are instructed by the Lord in Ephesians 5:15-17, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

The other words used for “redeeming the time” are “making the best use of the time.” We are the ones who have the power to decide how we use the 24 hours that God graciously grants us each day. We can deliberately make a choice to either make the best use of it or to allow our circumstances and wandering thoughts rob us of our precious time. Mostly, when we don’t prioritize and plan out our tasks for each day, we end up either postponing or never doing the most important tasks, while spending hours on things that are of not much importance (spiritually or otherwise).

The reason why we are instructed to “make the best us of the time” is “because the days are evil”. Therefore, the instruction given before and after this statement in verse 16 is “walk… not as unwise but as wise... do not be foolish (v.15 and 17).” This very well resonates with Moses’ prayer that we saw earlier. In short, when the days that we live in are evil, when we do not make the best of our time we are knowingly or unknowingly waking unwisely and acting foolishly! Have we ever wondered that our casual attitude toward our time is actually robbing us of the priceless opportunities to cry, pray, and witness to numerous of our friends and acquaintances who are each day going headlong to hell! Should not we be a little more serious of how we use our time (at least for the sake of saving a few from fire)?

Identify our time thieves

God says these words through the wise Solomon in the Song of Songs (2:15): “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” We need to watch out for the “little foxes” that rob our time from our beautiful vineyards of life. C.T. Studd who spent his life in faithfully serving the Lord in China, India, and Africa, wrote like this:

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,

If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee!

Before Apostle Paul instructs us to make the best use of our time, he instructs us several things from the beginning of Ephesians Chapter 5:

“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

Are any of these things highlighted here, our “little foxes” that rob us of our time and opportunities? Let’s all look to the Lord for His resurrection power (immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised him from the dead [Eph. 1:19, 20]). And let’s use the resources of His Spirit, His Word, and His people who fear Him to identify and capture the “little foxes” in our personal, family, and assembly lives that rob our precious moments that belong to the Lord. Remember that we are only stewards of our time, not owners! So let us use our time only for excellent things (Philipp. 1:10).

Our time is limited dear ones. Either the Trumpet will sound any moment for our Rapture or our time on earth will soon finish; only what we did for the Lord (1 Cor. 10:23-31) will be of worth on that Day. Therefore, let us seriously listen to Him, “And if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile” (1 Peter 1:17).




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