Tag Archives: time management

Redeeming the Time

 “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”   Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJ)

“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.”  Colossians 4:5 (NKJ)

 As a child, I remember going with my parents to shop for groceries. Upon paying the bill, my mother would be given “redemption stamps” (equal to the grocery receipt) that could be later exchanged for household items, i.e., dishes, flatware, or cookware. After saving enough stamps, we’d go to a local redemption center and trade in our stamps for our special selection. My mother felt this was a great way to get the “most bang for her bucks”–groceries AND household items. While stamp redemption worked well for my mother’s budget, there’s a different kind of redemption believers should pursue as they endeavor to accomplish God’s purpose for their life. It’s redeeming the time.  We close this series, Redeeming the Time, by examining the Apostle Paul’s urgent call to New Testament churches in Asia Minor to redeem the time.

The New International Version (NIV) of the Bible translates “redeeming the time” to mean making the most of every opportunity. The meaning is further illuminated by Bible interpreters to mean “to make wise and sacred use of every opportunity for doing good so that zeal and well-doing are as if it were the ‘purchase money’ by which we make the time our own.” (Thayer Lexicon)  The Apostle Paul uses this phrase in letters to two (2) new churches established in Christ to prepare them for the challenges they would face living in a hostile, pagan society.

To the church at Ephesus, Paul reminded believers that they were no longer agents of darkness but were to redeem the time by being “light in the Lord” (Ep. 5:8).  Their new identity was to be evidenced by their fruit–goodness, righteousness and truth. They were to walk “circumspectly, not as fools”.  There is urgency in Paul’s message to this church because the “days were evil” meaning there was a general disregard for what was right while embracing that which was profoundly immoral, wicked, and depraved. The days continued to be evil into the 21st century.

To the church at Colossae, Paul advised believers to redeem the time by walking in “wisdom” (sophia). This wisdom was very special in that it described a skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth.  It required “devout and prudence communication with men who were not disciples of Christ.” The NIV rending of Colossians 4:5 states it more clearly, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” In other words, Paul was speaking about “life witnessing” where the believer became the “living testimony” as to the life changing power available to individuals who enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (Titus 3:4-6).

Also Read:  Can You Handle the Truth?

 

Today Paul’s use of “redeeming the time” draws attention to believer’s solemn responsibility to proclaim and practice Christ-centered principles in their home and in their community. While society exchanges moral absolutes for what seems “right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6), believers must be “committed to God’s truth in every element of our lives as the separation between light and dark become apparent in the world and in our society.” We are to redeem the time by renouncing world system standards and boldly proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. By redeeming the time, believers will become viable change agents” for Christ until He returns (2 Peter 3:11-12).

SELAH:  Is there “an opportunity” God has shown you that you might be ignoring or rejecting?  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the root or source of your hesitation, i.e. fear of failure or rejection.  Then find Scripture that will support you in moving forward to “redeem the time”, i.e., Philippians 4:13.

Appreciative Living

So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.

Psalm 90:12 (NRS)

 

This teaching was part of an earlier series we did on “Reclaiming Your Life”.  As we formulate principles for “Redeeming the Time”, it is critical that we fully understand the value of appreciative living.

There is a short poem I often I recite when I reflect on my past and anticipate my future.

When I was a baby, time crawled

When I was a child, time walked

When I became an adult, time ran

When I became old, time flew

Time is the constant factor throughout every phase of our existence. Too often, however, rather than appreciate time, “the gift of 7X24”, we try to control it like any other resource we either consume or squander. We attempt to gain more of it, spend it more wisely, or endeavor to save it. All these efforts are folly and a waste of time (Eccl. 9:11-12). Instead God’s desire is that we “gain wisdom” as we move through time. And that wisdom begins by appreciating the time God has given us.

Psalm 90, the oldest of the psalms, was written by Moses to contrast the frailty of man with the eternal, everlasting nature of God. In light of this sobering difference, Moses petitions God to “teach us to number our days.” It is within God’s teachings that invaluable knowledge is provided as to how we are to live in the time He has allotted each one of us; it is available in God’s Word and through His Spirit who lives within us. The “numbering of our days” recognizes that each moment of our life counts. No moment is to be wasted (Prov. 24:33-34). To “grow in wisdom” acknowledges the reality of God’s Lordship and results in the believer actively seeking His will. All these actions result in a life lived to the fullest and in the fullness of God (Ep. 3:16-20). This is appreciative living.

What causes us not to fully appreciate the time God gives us? The first might be ingratitude. As times marches on, our days may become more routine or mundane. We settle into a rhythm of apathy and indifference not fully aware that an “ingratitude attitude” has moved into our heart (Luke 17:15-18; 2 Tim. 3:2). The next theft of appreciative living might be pride. Pride operates out of the false belief that whatever is accomplished is as a result of one’s own skills and knowledge and perhaps a “little luck”. Time is not a factor in the pride equation accept as a medium in which work is accomplished. It is only appreciated when the individual comes to the end of their life (becoming either old or ill) and are then surprised how, “time flew.” Ingratitude and pride are but two examples of personal behaviors that result in undervaluing time. That’s why Moses advises us even in the 21st century to “number our days”.

What do you do with the time God has gifted you with? Is it spent with your children and family? Do you tithe time to your church or volunteer with a local nonprofit that serves the needs of your local community?  Or do you simply “live within time” with little appreciation for its purpose and potential in your life? While we don’t know how many days or time we have in the future, we do know that ultimately our days will come to an end (Heb. 9:27). Don’t let your last thought be that you wish you had appreciated one of the great gifts from God—TIME!

SELAH:  Reflect on the poem at the beginning of this teaching.  Ask the Holy Spirit to share with you how you can become more appreciative of the time God has gifted you with?  CAUTION:  SPEND NO TIME ON REGRETS!   You cannot move forward in your life spending time looking in the rear view mirror.