Ephesians 5:15-16 (KJV)
15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
I have written before on this phrase “redeeming the time” and the vivid pictures that are created by Paul’s original language. Paul describes the process of making the most of our time in marketplace terms.
To redeem a slave is to buy them and set them free. To redeem our time is to exert effort to rescue our time from slavery to the world, our sin, and our earthly systems and thoughts.
But we forget that redemption isn’t easy.
At Great Cost
Redeeming a slave was only done with a great sum of money, with a great sacrifice. The word for “redeeming” in Ephesians 5:16 is used elsewhere in scripture to refer to Christ redeeming us with the cross – so very costly indeed.
So redeeming our time carries with it the idea of a cost.
The Cost of Effort
But what is this cost?
W.F. Adeney on Ephesians 5:16:
“The true value of time can only be obtained at a cost. We have to buy it up before we can make use of it.
We must spend thought in considering how we can best use our time and in watching for right opportunities. For want of due consideration there is a frightful lack of economy of energy and time.”
Many of us hope that time management will produce in us a life of ease and comfort and relaxation and peace. And of course it is true that Christ gives us those things. It’s true that his plan for how we spend our time is not one of endless bustle and stress.
But let’s not forget that redeeming our time is not natural and easy – just the opposite. We must exert effort, not to be busier and check more off our lists, but to truly be productive in God’s eyes.
It takes effort. It takes thought. It takes discipline and diligence. It takes introspection. It takes learning. It takes prayer. It takes wisdom. It takes growing.
What cost do you need to pay to redeem your time well?
Photo Credit: Sheila in Moonducks (Creative Commons)
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