Time Flies!

Can I “Redeem” It?

How time flies! We all know that feeling, though we may perceive time differently at different times. To the young child anticipating a special event, time seems to drag. But for an adult preparing for that same event, time flies faster as the day nears. Teenagers can hardly wait to be old enough to get their driver’s license, while to the parent it seems only yesterday that their child was learning to walk. Yet the actual march of time is the same for all.

Over the ages man has learned to divide time into even segments: years, days, hours, minutes and seconds. We are all familiar with this very exact system.

These segments of time are used to measure many things, from the approximate age of the earth and the length of geological ages, to the ages of trees, animals and humans. They are used to measure speed, (miles per hour or feet per second). They are used in calculating long distances such as light years, the distance light travels in one year (186,000 miles per second, 670,000 miles per hour or 6 trillion miles per year). The ability to measure time is valuable to us in many ways.

We are all given 24 hours a day, but we don’t know how many days, or even hours in one day we will be given. We do know that, based on the facts given us in God’s Word, the 6000 years He has allotted for this age is very, very close to the end. First Elijah the herald, and then our Lord and King Christ Jesus will return.

We don’t know how many days are left, but the hours and minutes of TODAY are precious, and we must be using them all to God’s honor and glory if we would have God’s approval (1 Cor. 10:31). We have no time to waste on gratifying ourselves or giving in to what tempts us away from our first priority, that of becoming like Christ in character. He is our pattern, and His instructions are: “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

The Apostle Paul told his brethren to “redeem” the time (Col. 4:5; Eph. 5:16). Other translations are, “make the very most of your time.” The word Paul uses for time is kairos, which has the double meaning of a limited amount of time, and a decisive moment. To redeem the time means to use time like purchase and a decisive moment. To redeem the time means to use time like purchase How time flies! We all know that feeling, though we may perceive time differently at different times. To the young child anticipating a special event, time seems to drag. But for an adult preparing for that same event, time flies faster as the day nears. Teenagers can hardly wait to be old enough to get their driver’s license, while to the parent it seems only yesterday that their child was learning to walk. Yet the actual march of time is the same for all.

Over the ages man has learned to divide time into even segments: years, days, hours, minutes and seconds. We are all familiar with this very exact system.

These segments of time are used to measure many things from the approximate age of the earth and the length of geological ages, to the ages of trees, animals and humans. They are used to measure speed, (miles per hour or feet per second). They are used in calculating long distances such as light years, the distance light travels in one year (186,000 miles per second, 670,000 miles per hour or 6 trillion miles per year). The ability to measure time is valuable to us in many ways.

We are all given 24 hours a day, but we don’t know how many days, or even hours in one day we will be given. We do know that, based on the facts given us in God’s Word, the 6000 years He has allotted for this age is very, very close to the end. First Elijah the herald, and then our Lord and King Christ Jesus will return.

We don’t know how many days are left, but the hours and minutes of this day are precious, and we must be using them all to God’s honor and glory if we would have God’s approval (1Cor. 10:31). We have no time to waste on gratifying ourselves or giving in to what tempts us away from our first priority, that of becoming like Jesus in character. He is our pattern, and His instructions are: “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).

The Apostle Paul told his brethren to “redeem” the time (Col. 4:5; Eph. 5:16). Other translations are, “make the very most of your time.” The word Paul uses for time is kairos, which has the double meaning of a limited amount of time, and a decisive moment. According to the Lexicon, to redeem the time means to use time like “purchase money” to “buy up opportunities.” The Lexicon says it is to “make wise and sacred use of every opportunity” (Thayer’s lexicon).

Because time is our most valuable resource – spent only once – we must use it to “buy up opportunities” for spiritual profit. This means

  • No idle chit-chat
  • No leafing through questionable books and magazines
  • No TV that is entertaining or degrading
  • No video games or videos that do not edify and make us better
  • No empty, mindless thinking or daydreaming

But it isn’t all about what we don’t do. It isn’t even about getting a lot “done.” Our most “redeemed” day might be one that was filled with delays, problems, unwanted interruptions and things that didn’t get done—because it had so many opportunities for spiritual gain!

How can we “redeem” our time? I certainly cannot tell you how to fill your day, but may I offer a few pointers that may be helpful?

Pointer #1. Give your body the sleep it needs.

We are told that getting enough sleep is very important to our health. But what if you have long, wakeful night hours? Redeem them. “Buy up your opportunities.” Try using this time to review Bible passages you have memorized. Or call to mind the words of a sacred song, or poem, or Bible story. Or be like an elderly (crippled) brother we knew years ago. When he couldn’t sleep, he didn’t “count sheep.” He said he “went visiting” with some of God’s heroes—like Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Paul. People who visited him came away spiritually invigorated and refreshed.

Pointer #2: Wake up—with God.

Do you redeem those first waking moments with prayer? “Buy up your opportunities.” Thank God for keeping you through the night. Thank Him for the new beginning, that you are able to breathe, and move, and get out of bed. Thank God for being there to call on, for His care, mercy, and protection. Thank Him in advance for whatever the new day brings.

When you start the day with a prayer in your heart, you set the pattern for the day. Repeat Jeremiah’s grateful meditation (Lam. 3:22-23), that

People everywhere use these same God-given resources, but how many thank Him? Don’t go there! Redeem the time! See each blessing as an opportunity to be purchased, and “buy up your opportunities.”

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”

Pointer #3: Food, drink, exercise? Keep God thankfully near.

People everywhere use these same God-given resources, but how many thank Him? Don’t go there! Redeem the time! See each blessing as an opportunity to be purchased, and “buy up your opportunities.” Watch for the things you use that He provides (like breath, food, water, fresh air, sunlight, warmth) and keep thanking Him all day.

If you take a walk or exercise another way, use the time to meditate on a passage of Scripture, or listen to a sermon or inspirational recording, or memorize some choice verses. Remember,“Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

Pointer #4. Go with a little news, and thank God for His care.

However you choose to be informed about world events, keep it brief. We don’t want this world’s thinking to take over our minds. “Buy up the opportunity” to be reminded that prophecy is being fulfilled and the day of the Lord is near!

Pointer #5: Constantly review and renew—in the Word.

What are you thinking about as you do your day’s work? Moments can be lost if we are just “busy,” getting things done, or they can be redeemed if we commit what we are doing to God. “Whatever you do,” said Paul, “do it heartily as to the Lord, not to men” (Col. 3:23).

Use “busy” time, around-home time,  or “wait” time to review and renew. When you do not need to focus your mind on the work at hand, “buy up the opportunity” to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind”… “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Eph. 4:23; Rom. 12:2). Review the solid facts that make your faith in God sure and secure–whatever renews your faith and keeps your inner life on track.

Pointer #6. Out in the car?Take the words of Jesus with you…”

Do you drive, or ride, or take public transport to your place of work, or to go shopping for groceries? Redeem that time! “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”… “meditate on these things” (Col. 3:16; 1:9; 1 Tim. 4:15). Fill that time with constructive listening or thinking. Have Bible CDs or Bible apps you can play.

Do you find yourself inching along in heavy, congested traffic? It’s a perfect time to “buy up the opportunity” to practice patience, and keep focused on the Word. Delays will happen, but they don’t have to be stressful. They can be great opportunities for spiritual enrichment and soul-searching.

Pointer #7. Cut distractions and time-wasters.

Redeem the time. Buy up your opportunities by removing anything that does not strengthen your inner, spiritual life.

One of the greatest dangers of our modern world is its distractions. Psychologists say most people “waste” 3 hours a day. They are referring to time spent with what they consider non-essentials. For us as Christians, there is the bigger question: What distracts us from things spiritual? What gets our first attention? Are our minds occupied with too much interest in the present —and not enough in the future? Do we need those stacks of papers we have saved and “hope” to read or use someday?

Here we need Christian discernment (Heb. 5:14). What is our motive, our commitment, our deepest satisfaction in the choices we make?

How can we best “buy up our opportunities” and redeem the time to spiritual profit? All the way we must be watchful and alert. Some temptations may be with us as long as we live.

Maybe our curiosity draws us to news reports, or photos, or items of human interest. All might be clean and innocent, but how much can we allow without violating our promise to God to “redeem” the time and buy up the opportunities He is giving us?

Perhaps we like to look at the changes in fashions, or what is developing in politics, or see what the “stars” of this world are doing. These are choices we must make and keep asking, Does this give me spiritual benefit? Will this or that improve my chances of securing the favor of Christ when He comes? Will it increase or diminish my love for God’s Word?

How about what we read? Is every magazine subscription one we would invite Jesus to look at? How about the books we read—or hope to read? Remember Paul’s words: “Make the very most of your time,” regardless of the evil around you.

Pointer #8. Make a list of “to-do’s”

Do you find it stressful to think ahead of all the things you need to do? One way to relieve the stress is to write them down. Make a list. That way you don’t have to keep thinking of all of them. You may even look at the list and prioritize. Ask yourself:

  • What is urgent and important?
  • What is important but not urgent?  
  • What seems urgent but is not important?  
  • What is not urgent and not important?  

As you look over the list, you will be able to separate what is spiritually profitable from what is an “opportunity” you can let go.

Some tasks need close concentration, and we must keep our minds focused so that we do it well. This is part of our spiritual discipline. While doing other tasks we can think about something spiritual—a song of praise, a prayer, a verse of Scripture, or a good thought we read. But when doing even simple tasks, we need to check the purpose and motive behind it, ask not just “What am I doing?” but “Why am I doing it?”

The command is simple: “Do all to the glory of God”—easy to say, but much harder to make happen.

Pointer #9. Plan a “must do” to encourage someone.

Thinking of others, even those we might not naturally “like,” is always an opportunity we need to “buy up.” Like Paul said, “Look to each other’s interest and not merely to your own” (Phil. 2:4 NEB).

Pointer #10. Keep your thinking God-centered.

We all have time when we must wait. It happens at the doctor’s office, at the bank, or at the dentist. It happens while waiting in line at the grocery store. Instead of being distressed by the wait, or letting our eyes wander onto the publications displayed at the checkout counter, we can “buy up the opportunity” by using what we have stored in our minds. We can prepare for these times by having a stock of uplifting, spiritual thoughts so we can “buy up the opportunity” when it comes.

Pointer #11: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).

Don’t forget the opportunity to pray. Communing with the Heavenly Father is something we can do anywhere, anytime.

Do you feel slow, elderly, disabled or hindered in what you would like to do? You can still “buy up opportunities.” You can still redeem the time with a prayer to God. In this way you will be building that strong, inner, spiritual life, “praying always with thanksgiving in your heart for all your blessings” (Eph. 6:18 paraphrased).

Pointer #12: Retire with God.

The hymnbook says it well:

Lie down at night alone with God,
      who gives His servants sleep,
And when thou dreadst the veil of death,
      He will thee guard and keep.

If we keep “buying up” the opportunities of the hours and minutes as they come and using them to strengthen our inner, spiritual life, it won’t matter whether the day went according to “plan” or was full of problems and delays. And one day we will get to spend eternity without a thought of time. Time then will be without limit, and we will be able to travel from star to star. Or we can linger in one place for ages and not have a concern about missing something important. Whatever will fill our days will be glorious, delightful, and eternal!

Now is our “day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Now is our time to seize our opportunities, and keep our eye on the full reward God has set before us. Think of being given the right to eat of the Tree of Life!

The time God has allotted for this age is just about spent. We cannot afford to waste any of it on things that will not profit.

May God help us to redeem every moment—buy up all those opportunities that come moment by moment, and use them to win us a place in Eternity!

Maranatha, the Lord is Coming!                      PAF

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.