Redeeming the Time: Living Meaningfully

by | Mar 31, 2023 | Topical

As we were recently reminded with daylight savings, time is a resource that can be easily lost. Simply losing an hour of sleep can leave us feeling groggy and unproductive. However, instead of trying to make up for that lost hour with a nap, let’s consider how we can redeem our time in a larger sense. 

In today’s article, we’ll explore the concept of redeeming time and how it can help us make the most of the time we have. Just like money, energy, and physical resources, time is an invaluable asset that we all have and use every day. How we spend this time affects us psychologically, physically, financially, and socially, So understanding how we can redeem the time and make the most of this precious resource is a crucial task. 

To begin, let’s define “redeeming our time.” In the Greek, the concept of redeeming the time means “to buy back” time. In practical terms, this means making the most of the time God has given us by following His will and being productive for His kingdom. Today, we will explore this idea and discover what we need to know to start redeeming our time and maximizing the precious time we’ve been given.

Remember that Time is a Gift From God 

 “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”James 4:13-17

James 4:13-17 reminds us that time is a gift from God and emphasizes the importance of using it wisely. God has mercifully postponed our judgment for sins until the day of judgment. It is only by His mercy that we have not yet faced punishment, and yet, even with such mercy, our life remains a fleeting moment in the world’s history. Redeeming time is not just about productivity or achieving goals but also about recognizing that our time is a precious gift from God. James encourages us not to boast but to be humbled by the fact that God has graciously given each breath to us. This humility should encourage us to meaningfully value this precious gift.

Remember that Time is Limited

That leads us to our second thing to remember. Our time on this earth is limited.

 A Prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” – Psalm 90:1-4

Here in Psalm 90:1-4. Moses’ ancient poem reflects on the nature of time and God’s eternal nature. Here we see Moses acknowledges God’s eternality. For God, time moves quickly, and a thousand years are but a passing moment to Him. Here it is described as if it feels like a three-hour period and is further demonstrated by explaining that for God, an event that happened a thousand years ago “feels like it was just yesterday.” 

For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” – Psalm 90:9-14

Moses continues by encouraging us to find joy in the time we have been given. He asks God to teach us to number our days so that we can focus on living well. In other words, Moses wants us to recognize the limited nature of time and have that realization motivate us to achieve what is important while we still can.

For the sake of illustration, consider that people with a terminal illness are people who can truly number their days. It may be numbered in years, months, or weeks, but they know their days are numbers. Do people in this situation sit around and waste away? No. they will choose to live their lives unrestrained. In the same way, we must recognize that we, too, like a person with a terminal illness, have limited time. Just like them, our time is ticking down; the only difference is we can’t feel it yet. 

We shouldn’t waste the time we have on trivial matters. Instead, we should use our time to serve God and make a positive impact on the world around us. This passage encourages us not to be sad about this realization of our inevitable fate but to be glad that we have the opportunity to use the time we have more effectively through this realization. If you read carefully, you’ll see Moses asks God to satisfy us early with His mercy so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. In this way, Moses urges God to help us realize in our youth that we have a finite time here so that we do not wake up one day realizing that all our time has passed us by.

 Redeem Time by Serving Others 

 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Galatians 5:13-14

In Galatians 5:13-14, Paul urges us to use our freedom to serve others. He reminds us that God has given us the freedom to do what we want with the time we have been given; however, we should not use this freedom as an excuse to indulge ourselves. Instead, we should use our freedom to love and serve one another. This can come in many different forms; it could be serving at church, helping a neighbor, or even just taking the time to listen to someone who needs a friend. Through these opportunities, God is glorified and worshiped in our service to others.

Redeem Time by Investing in the Kingdom 

 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; … What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it  He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 9-13

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 reminds us that everything has its own time and purpose. As we already discussed, there is a time to be born and a time to die, and we should be aware of it. But Ecclesiastes also emphasizes that there is a time to plant and a time to pluck up what has been planted. In other words, there are things we can do now that we don’t see profit from until later.

One way we can redeem our time is by investing (or planting) in the kingdom of God. This includes actions such as mentoring a newer Christian, sharing the gospel with others, or investing in our own spiritual growth and development. When we invest our time in these areas, we plant seeds that will grow and bear fruit later, sometimes long after we’re gone.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 reminds us that the work we do on earth may seem meaningless and without benefit, but that we can find joy and fulfillment in doing good in our life. We need to be mindful of how we spend our time. This world we live in is full of distractions and temptations, so we must be intentional in our use of time and make the most of the precious gift we’ve been given.

Redeem Time by Building Up Our Own Walk 

 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” – Eph 5:4-21

Ephesians 5:4-21 provides guidance on how to redeem our time by building up our own walk. According to this verse, the first step towards redeeming our time is understanding the will of the Lord. Jesus himself told us what God’s ultimate will is In John 6:40.

And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” 

So we know it’s God’s desire for all to be saved. And if we want to redeem time by building up our walk with God, our desire should also be to see others saved.

The second step Paul gives is to avoid alcohol. Drunkenness is a destructive force that can quickly waste away all our time and potential. Millions of lives have been ruined by alcohol, and the effects of excessive drinking are responsible for millions of deaths every year (2.8 million across the globe, to be exact) -more than all other drugs combined. Alcohol is a quick way to ensure that your time and potential are wasted. Do not be deceived by its public acceptance. Although people don’t want to talk about it, alcohol destroys lives and takes people further down paths than they want to go. 

The third step is to minister to ourselves in song. And if you read carefully, even if you cannot sing well, you can still follow this one. The verse does not say to make a melody out loud but to have a melody in your heart. By filling our hearts and minds with spiritual songs, we can lift our spirit and find joy and encouragement no matter where we are. 

Our fourth step is giving thanks for all that God has done in our lives. How often do we spend time sulking in bitterness when things don’t go our way? Do you know that God promised if you love Him, He will work all things for your good? If you love God, you can find thankfulness in all things because, ultimately, God is going to do good for you through it. With this in mind, why waste another moment on bitterness and discontentment? Thank God for the good He’s doing!

Finally, we are called to submit ourselves to each other. Something that Jesus demonstrated well to us when he washed the disciple’s feet. The key to submission is humility, self-sacrifice, grace, and love. To reject pride and choose to be a servant to others. 

Concluding Thoughts

Redeeming our time is all about using our time in a way that honors God and makes a positive impact on others. This can take many forms, such as prioritizing our relationship with God, serving others, sharing the Gospel, studying Scripture, or using our talents and resources for God’s glory. 

God’s gift of time is a truly limited resource, so as we go about our daily lives, we must consciously make a choice to either waste our time on meaningless pursuits or invest it in things that have lasting value. Our challenge, then, is to take the time we’ve been given and use it to its fullest potential. God has shown us that He wants us to redeem the time, so will you choose to redeem the time God has given you today?

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