The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5:15-16 (KJV2013), “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Verse 16 of this reference is worded in the NLT as, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” So redeeming the time is an admonition to use time wisely, avoid wasting time, and simply put, make every minute count. There is a sense of urgency embedded in the phrase, “redeeming the time.”
Time redemption in our present world is important, because we have an impermanent world; it will not go on forever, and each day that passes brings us closer to the end of it. The end can mean many different things: death, poor health, limitations brought on by advancing age, and of course, the return of the Lord. Any and all of these will automatically end our ability to be productive. For this reason, whatever we need to accomplish in this life has to occur within a particular time frame, which is when we are capable, because there will come a time when we will be incapable. King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes has this to say: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom” (Ecclesiastes 9:10 NIV84).
Also, our responsible use of time should benefit others. What if, by the time we are done digging in our heels, and consequently wasting time, these people are no longer able to benefit, because they’ve experienced life-altering circumstances like death, dementia, and the like? We would have lost the opportunity to minister or be a blessing to them.
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a local nursing home with the bell choir from my church. The nursing home staff brought the residents to an auditorium for the visit. Most of them were in wheelchairs. Some paid attention and participated, but others didn’t. I was saddened as I looked at them and thought to myself, “There are both Christians and non-Christians in this group.” No matter what they believed, their productive years are behind them. For the unbelievers, how many had turned their backs on the gospel in their younger years, and would they understand and accept it now? For the believers, how many seized every opportunity in their vibrant years to serve God? If they hadn’t in the past, it seemed almost too late.
This is our time to work diligently, because the Scripture says, “Night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4NIV84). We need to be redeeming the time now, when we are not confined to hospital beds, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, and the like. If the Lord tarries, many will likely find themselves in that situation: with lots of time, but without the ability to serve in a meaningful way, their gifts and talents dormant.
Also, when we see Jesus face to face, there will be accountability regarding how faithfully, diligently, and responsibly we’ve used our talents, abilities, gifts, and opportunities. What do you think God will say to you then? Will He say, “Well done, my faithful servant! “or will He say, “You slothful servant”? What will you say about yourself at the end? Will you be able to agree with the apostle Paul, who confidently said at the end of his life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on the day of his return” (2 Timothy 4:7-8 NLT2013)?
So what are your plans, and when will you start making every minute of your life count? The old adage says, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” Let’s not procrastinate any longer, because time is short. Let’s redeem the time!