Redeeming the Time
How do you use your time? Do you use it well? Time is the most precious commodity we have and yet so many people waste so much of it, spending their days in frivolous pursuits which bring them no real benefit. Other people devote their time to more important things – to their work, their family, their community or even their religion – and yet at the end of their lives they have gained nothing and lose everything as they leave this world. What is the wisest and best use of our time?
The Bible says that we are to redeem the time (Eph.5:16). In common with every other aspect of our lives we have ‘sold’ our time to sin and we need to ‘buy’ it back. However we have no currency with which to pay the price a holy and just God demands. We must look instead to the Lord Jesus Christ and His death at Calvary by which He has redeemed poor sinners: we must be born again by the mighty grace of God. While we cannot have our lives over again this spiritual rebirth will mean that our remaining years will be wonderfully different from our former years.
With all our sins forgiven, and with a new heart to love the Lord, we are called to take advantage of every occasion to glorify His name and to do good to our fellow men. A godly zeal will enable us to achieve much even if our time is short. In what ways should we redeem our time?
Time spent in worship is always a good use of our time, whatever the devil may tell us. We should be regular in our private devotions and in attending the public means of grace, remembering that Scripture says, “seek ye first the kingdom of God” (Matt.6:33). By the preaching of the Word our faith is strengthened and our souls are sanctified; by prayer we obtain blessing for ourselves and others. Is knowing, enjoying and following the Lord the most important thing in your life? It will be our employment in heaven and so it should be our chief concern here.
Time spent in witnessing is a profitable use of our time too. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30). We are called to confess Christ by godly lives and gracious lips, seeking to gain others to the Saviour. When those we speak to seem to pay no attention we may feel as though our efforts are in vain but we are not to give up: God is glorified in any case and He will bless the truth to some. “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good” (Ecc. 11:6 ).
Time spent in works of charity is never wasted time. It i s wasted time if we have no faith in Christ or regard for the glory of God or if our deeds are contrary to Scripture. But if we are right with God and adopted into His family then our gratitude will be evident in works of true kindness done to others, especially those who are of “the household of faith” (Gal.6:10). So Paul encouraged the Galatians: “let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal.6:9).
In a selfish age let us follow the example of our selfless Saviour, “who went about doing good” (Acts 10:38) and “lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Such a use of our time will not be without its reward. “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name” (Heb.6:10).