Redeeming the Time
The year is racing away from us. We need to be
"redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (EPHESIANS 5:16), making the most of what we have, what we are, and our fellowship with the Son of God. It is frightening, except for God's redeeming grace, to think that the Lord is asking us not to waste, or casually use any of our allotted time on earth. Time is as essential to life as the air we breathe and the food we eat. It is the immeasurable gift of the Creator.
One of the concerns for the church must be the demands secularism, or the world, makes on the believer's time, especially in the form of work and the modern-day demands of families and homes. It seems that in an affluent society both parents are expected to meet ever-increasing demands in these areas. No level of commitment is enough. And yet neither the children nor the pressures of society are ever satisfied.
What Does Redeem Mean?
Is God being robbed of the time He should have in our lives? I think that for believers the time has come to do an evaluation of our lives and ask whether we are "redeeming" the time. I find there are two words translated "redeem". One is the simple word for "to buy", agorazo. It means to buy on the legitimate, normal market or in the marketplace. In Young's Concordance, "to acquire at the forum".
The other is "exagorazo" which means "to acquire out of the forum" or outside the legitimate, normal market. We read, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law". He did not "buy us back" in any NORMAL market we know of. The transaction was done on a cross with blood and torture. He was made a curse for us and "hanged on a tree". In the same way a ransom paid to criminals is a deal that takes place outside the legitimate market.
So we are to redeem the time. There is a place where time can be purchased if the right price is paid, but it is not in any normal marketplace. Jesus purchased the SOULS of men on a cross. TIME is the only other substance which the Bible says can be redeemed in this special way, outside the normal markets. God wants us to FIND THIS PLACE where time is available to those who believe, AND BUY TIME THERE. Then we will never be short of time for God's work again. This means there is NO EXCUSE.
How Does It Work
Does He do it by making us more efficient? Do we stop wasting time on unnecessary things in life? Do we define priorities and stick to them? Do we live more in faith so that we achieve more by believing and in less time? Probably a combination of all of these and His granting us the power NOT to be deflected from our number one commitment to the things of God. Pastor Yonggi Cho describes how the Lord showed him that if he had to go and catch quail he might catch a few in a night. But when the wind (spirit) of God blew all Israel was knee deep in quail. Why can't we be just as effective in evangelism? (See "Prayer - Key To Revival" by Pastor Cho) I do believe an essential is to take charge of our time. We have to decide before God how much time we are prepared to give to work and the other demands. We rob God if He does not get a reasonable portion of our lives. Remember the man who laid up his goods and was told,
"This night thy soul shall be required of thee." To allow ourselves to drift into a heavy work commitment simply because things are there to be done is madness, in the spiritual sense. Let's all learn to REDEEM THE TIME. Find that marketplace of God where time can be purchased from Jesus. A delusion is that by our own efforts in allocating the Lord little measures of time we do achieve a little. Just as Yonggi Cho may have caught a few quail in his own strength. But God wanted much more, a divine effectiveness, as if all the time in the world were available.
Have you noticed how one of the marks of great sportsmen is that in the middle of a football game or with a fast bowler hurling cricket balls at them, they seem to effortlessly find the time to deal with the situation. They just know where to be or what is coming and set themselves to meet it with all the time in the world when everyone else is in a fluster and panic. Let's be super sportsmen in the Lord. We can find the time from God to be a fantastic performer for Him. Sure it's hard in the flesh or normal marketplace but we have another market. A "white" market (because we can't call it a black market).
Here's something else. I sat down to start typing this with the notes from last Sunday's talk all ready to go. I typed in the date, saw that and thought, "Not May already," and all the above flowed out. Thank God for His inspiration which is so much better than our own efforts. May God forgive us for all the time we waste in so many ways.
How to Save Time
Home is one of the great time users and, I must say, time wasters. The "normal" situation is that men consume time at work and women consume it at home. Let's all give this some serious thought. I believe the answer is not so much in using time management techniques, but in the order of commitment.
We give the Lord His portion FIRST, and believe that He will look after the rest. By simply making things go well instead of badly He can save us weeks rather than just hours. We figure our week around the Lord's work and let Him sort out the other things. We establish spiritual priorities.
by Pastor Fred Needham
Taken from HQL-9420, p. 10-11