Redeeming the Time

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

This incisive expression—“redeeming the time”—occurs also in Colossians 4:5: “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” The Greek word for “redeem” means to “buy back,” to “ransom,” or even to “rescue.” That is, time is a very valuable asset, in danger of being lost forever unless it is rescued or redeemed.

As a matter of fact, time is just about the most valuable asset we have. If we squander our money or lose our health, there is always the possibility of earning more money or being restored to health, but wasted time is gone forever. In our text, those who are wise redeem the time, whereas those who are fools waste or misuse it. The word in the original for “circumspectly” is translated “diligently” in Matthew 2:7. The text thus indicates that those who redeem the time are walking diligently; the parallel passage in Colossians 4:5 says they are walking in wisdom. The time God gives us, therefore, should be used both carefully and diligently.

The marvelous passage in the 139th Psalm which describes the growth of the human embryo concludes with a remarkable declaration: “In thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16). The words “my members” are not in the original, and “in continuance” is actually the Hebrew word for “days.” Thus, the verse is really telling us that all of our days were written in God’s book even before we were conceived. Each day of our lives is vitally important in the plan of God.

“So,” as Moses prayed to the Lord, “teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). HMM

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