Redeem the Time
One of the problems that may occur among followers of Christ is our failure to use time wisely. Lack of certainty in what should be done may be replaced by doing many things. Work, hobbies, family activities and even church programs all compete for our time. Sometimes these are done with a pace in which our lives are in such a tight spiral that we honk at our own tail-lights. In Tyranny of the Urgent, Charles Hummel relates that “We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.” We need to learn what the scriptures are referring to when they tell us that we should redeem the time.
Webster’s dictionary has varying definitions for the word redeem. Here are a few: “to regain possession of,” “to rescue or deliver,” “to buy off or take up,” and “to fulfill.” The word redeem is taken from Ephesians 5:16 which states “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (KJV) The thought is the same as given in Psalm 90:12. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (KJV) Ephesians 5:16 furthermore is bracketed by verse 15 which states “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise,” and verse 17 relating the following, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” It is apparent, then, that the first step in “redeeming our time,” is to understand what the Lord’s will is for us in regard to the use of our time.
We see an example of seeking the will of God in Mark 1:35-38. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they explained: ‘Everyone is looking for you!‘ Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else-to the nearby villages-so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.‘ “ In this passage Jesus clearly was able to determine where He was to go, what He was to do when He got there, and why He was going. He was able to redeem the time given Him by the Father by seeking the will of His Father.
It is impossible to redeem the time given to us without coming before the Lord to seek His direction for each day. As someone once said “God is not looking for people whose plans He can bless. He is looking for people who will fit into His plans.” John MacArthur in his book “Slave” relates that a slave does not bring his agenda to their master but is simply available for his master’s plans. So our lives must be presented to our Lord as we seek Him daily.
What then, we may ask, was the mission that the Father gave the Son as He redeemed His time here on earth? It is plainly stated in Luke 19:10. “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”(KJV) His mission was people. He ate with them, traveled with them, fed them, taught them, healed them and gave His life for them. He redeemed the time by the redemption which He has feely given to all who accept Him as their Savior and Lord.
If we are to redeem the days given to us, we, likewise, must give our lives to people. The Lord has given us this promise in Isaiah 43:4. “Since you are precious and honored in my sight and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.” Sadly, there is much in our lives that competes for this priority. Our possessions clamor for attention, requiring cleaning, repair, and eventually replacement. We are involved in projects at home, at work, and in our neighborhoods which do not focus on people. Our programs, designed to help others, do not often give us access to others individually in a way that is beneficial to them. Everyone we meet is an eternal soul, which will spend eternity either with or without Christ. As Jim Morris was fond of saying “There are only two kinds of people in this world-those who need to know Christ and those who need to know Him better.” We redeem our lives by giving them not to our possessions, projects or programs but to people. In order for God to give people in exchange for our lives (Isaiah 43:4), we must first give our lives to God. As we make our lives available to Him, He will give us the people in whom He desires that we invest our lives. In this manner, we will have redeemed our lives in such a way that we will be able to say to Him “we have redeemed the time, we have finished the work that You gave us to do.”
In Christ, Richard Spann