Then watch how carefully you walk, not as unwise, but as wise ones, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16, LITV
After writing what ended up being closer to something like three separate posts concerning my thoughts about the fact, often mentioned in my circles, that Christians are viewed by many people as intolerant, bigoted, self-righteous, and other less-than-flattering labels, I have decided not to publish it… at least not right now.
Instead, as I have studied through the book of Ephesians, it struck me that there are several highly-relevant passages in the little letter that are probably worthy of greater consideration at present than my inane puzzlings over other folks’ perceptions.
For example, the focus for today in Ephesians 5:15-16 is a pretty little jewel that those of us who are in Christ ought to polish and wear prominently as this ugly little election season grinds to its close. I especially like the phrasing in the King James or the Literal Translations of “redeeming the time.”
It was a dear friend who pointed out the wording as a remnant of our small group sat around and discussed our week’s homework in Ephesians. In most of our translations, the phrase was given as something closer to “make the best use of time,” or “make the most of the time,” but he had run across it in the King James. I took a moment to check the origin in Thayer’s Greek Definitions, and it seemed to us all that “redeeming the time” was a more accurate translation.
And as my friend noted, if we are to redeem the time, it is going to cost us something. In fact, a quick check of any dictionary will reveal that most of the possible definitions of the word “redeem” indicate a buying back, repurchasing, or even payment of ransom.
So what will it cost us, my brothers and sisters; what will be the personal cost of snatching back precious hours and minutes from the downward spiral of moral decay? How shall we personally reclaim vital moments of self-focus and idolatry and redeem them for use in honoring our Lord and God instead?
What will it cost us to gain the wisdom we need to put aside foolishness and understand what the will of the Lord is?
Time, for starters. It will cost us time on our knees, time spent in the Word, time repenting of our selfish ways and our diligent pursuit of passing pleasures so that we can reclaim all our silly, wasted moments for use in Kingdom purposes.
Redeeming the time may cost us the sympathy of others when we choose to praise our King rather than complain. It may cost us the company of certain friends or the favor of others. There may come a time such as has already come for many of our brothers and sisters around the globe when it may cost us our lives.Certainly it will cost us our pride.
And I do not know about you, my friends, but on Monday morning, the day before election day, redeeming the time will cost me a couple of meals and snacks after sunrise. I plan to spend a 24 hour period fasting and praying, repenting of my sin and the sins of my nation, and seeking wisdom from my God on how I can recapture the rest of the time allotted to me and use it for His purposes.
And I will give thanks to God as I do, knowing that no matter what happens, He truly will work out all things according to the counsel of His will as Ephesians 1:11 states. He has already prepared good works for me to do. All I need is the wisdom and strength to walk in them.
That’s really all any of us need.
Most High God, humble our hearts and teach us to redeem the time. May we no longer be afraid of the cost but willing to spend our reputations, our time, even our very lives for the glory of Your Kingdom. Teach us to praise You always, trusting You even through the darkest valleys and praising You even in the midst of pain. Through Your own priceless blood, You have already redeemed us; we invite You to come and take full possession of what is already Yours, amen.