Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)
There are few resources given to us by our Lord that are as precious and invaluable as time. Our wealth and material possessions may increase, but the amount of time that we have on earth only continues to diminish with each passing day. And when our time on earth is done and the Lord calls us home, we will be called to stand before the Lord’s judgment seat and give an account for how we invested or wasted our talents during our time in our Master’s vineyard. The apostle understood this and urged his Ephesian brother and sisters to make the best use of their time, knowing that the evil days in which we live in earnestly seek to devour our precious time with empty promises of pleasure or threats of anxiety. Yet for the apostle, he understood that there was no more meaningful way to spend his time than to spend it for the Lord. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain,” he said. And living for Christ meant fruitful, spiritual labour for him (Phil 1:21-22).
When our eyes are not fixed on eternal things, we become loose with our spiritual spending. Our eyes rove around the world, eagerly looking for some new gadget or hobby to spend our time on. We are no different from the shopper who wanders into the mall intending only to browse, yet leaves with an armful of unnecessary purchases and an empty wallet. Time cannot be hoarded—only spent. And if we do not know what to spend it on that is of value, we will spend it on that which is valueless, fleeting and perishable. Oh, that we would follow the example of our Lord and Master who spent his precious three years of ministry in incomparable service to his God! Never did he waver in his resolve nor did he shrink back from spending his time on bearing with his weak disciples and walking the road to his own death. May we be like our Lord and redeem our time by walking the road of the cross and not the road to Vanity Fair that will only lead us to our own destruction.
It is said that we often overestimate what can be done in two years, but underestimate what can be done for the Lord in twenty. How true! Too often, we think that the things the Lord asks us to do are mountains that are too difficult to climb and so we fail to take any steps at all. In our faithlessness, we shrink back from the road say as the Israelites did, “This is a land that devours its inhabitants.”
Yet so much can be done for our Lord over the course of twenty years if only we are willing to faithfully redeem the time each day! The Christian who begins to memorize the New Testament at a rate of one verse per day will complete the New Testament in twenty years. Listening to the Bible on audio or reading aloud according to a plan for just fifteen minutes a day, will result in having read the Bible two dozen times over the course of twenty years. Reflecting each day on what God has done and writing a short half-a-page diary entry for twenty years will result in a literary work that is five times the length of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Writing one word of encouragement for brothers and sisters each week will produce a treasure trove of over a thousand encouraging articles. So much can be done if we place our hands to the plow and do not look back as we strive to redeem the time!
Brothers and sisters, the days are evil, so let us not waste a moment of our time on the fleeting pleasures of this world, but spend them well in service to our Lord and Saviour who spent his time well, and saved countless poor, lost sinners like you and me.