|REDEEM THE TIME|
After the practical questions of dealing with how to dispose of what is left behind materially, they were then faced with one very narrow question that may be the biggest they'd ever faced. What did they wish to do with the time they had left? That may be the question of any day we live as I'm going to attempt to show in this blog post.
There is an Ephesians verse that addresses this. Ephesians 5:16 says, "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." But what does it mean to “redeem the time?” The word “redeem” in the Greek means “to buy up, ransom, or rescue from loss.” So the need to rescue from loss the time that remains in our life might be what is intended here. But this would only involve today since yesterday is past and tomorrow may not come, at least there is no guarantee of it coming.
A need in all this, however, is to understand the phrase "the days are evil."
This word "evil" in the original Greek here means "hurtful evil, calamitous, diseased, derelict and vicious." That is certainly an apt description of today if one were to read newspapers or watch television news channels. We are living in the kind of days that make the facing of what paths of life we take of prime importance. Even our thoughtless habits can cause a loss of Kingdom reality in our living. That evil can win the day is not an understatement. [We know the end is secure however don't we!]
But in order to follow a wise course of action for redeeming the time that we do have today, it would be appropriate to understand what misusing the time might look like. It may be simplistic, but I think it could basically be boiled down to the loss of one concept and the need for a recovery of that concept.
Psalm 90 has that concept in it. It's the idea of living with an awareness that our days are, in fact, numbered. Most people don't entertain that thought often, if ever. It's only human nature to believe and live as if we have unlimited days ahead of us. This idea is especially prevalent among young people. [Although, honestly, it has always been so, even my generation as a young person, a hundred years ago, which is but a slight exaggeration.] But an important and factual statement is found in Psalm 9:10-12 where it says this, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” It is clear that numbering our days is connected to wisdom. So, if we were to regain the understanding of living each day as if it were our last, being wise today would result.
That resulting wisdom is described in that Ephesians 5 chapter just preceding the 16th verse mentioned earlier. Verses 14-15 have this to say, “Wherefore he says, AWAKE you that sleep, and ARISE from the dead, and Christ shall give you LIGHT. See then that you WALK CIRCUMSPECTLY, not as fools, but as WISE." Look with me at that sound instruction.
The word “awake” means “to be wakened, to collect our faculties being roused from sleep or from just sitting or lying down.” [It's like being raised from the dead.]
“Repent and Be Zealous”
This means to have a change of mind and to recognize and understand we are alive in Christ Who is, Himself, our very life and we are to live zealously with this frame of reference.
Walk in the light
When we are truly awake to this reality and zealous in it, there is a promise that He gives light for this day. [And this day ONLY.]
This is an old word which means to walk cautiously; to look where one is stepping; to be vigilant, watchful, diligent, attentive. In simple terms, to pay attention. To what?
To being wise and not a fool
This wisdom is articulated in the several verses following which could be clearly and yet simply stated as being joyful, [verse 19] being thankful, [verse 20] and being a servant to others. [verses 21-33] It would be utter foolishness for us to live each day ANY OTHER WAY.
Now, were we as Christians to face the fact that we all are in that very situation daily, asking what do we do with our time left, and were we to come up with the same answer, to love God and love people and serve others rather than being served, we would discover ourselves living what scripture describes as "the Normal Christian life." We would be, in fact, redeeming the time.