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, ESV)
A blank page—a clean slate—a fresh start. Whatever we call it, we usually think of the new year as a beginning point, a chance to start over and correct our disappointments and failures of the past year. Many use the start of a new year as a time to reflect and to resolve. We are now into the second week of 2021, and many have already faltered in keeping their New Year’s resolutions. One research showed that January 12 was “the day” that resolutions begins to unravel.
Time is a precious commodity. Today we have 86,400 seconds or 1,440 minutes in our 24-hour day. We are all gifted with the same bank of time, but we don’t all spend from our bank in the same way. Ephesians 5:16 tells us to redeem the time (KJV)—make the best use (ESV)—make the most of every opportunity (NLT).
But what does it really mean to redeem time? Barnes Notes on the Bible explains it this way: “Here it means, to rescue or recover our time from waste; to improve it for great and important purposes.” Something about those two phrases really challenges me. How can I wisely structure my day to:
- Rescue my time from waste?
- Improve it for great and important purposes?
And that creates even more questions in my mind.
- What are my greatest time wasters?
- What should be my great and important purposes?
Each of us would no doubt answers these questions differently, although we would probably also share some similarities. It would be beneficial to reflect on our answers to make sure we devote our time to the important rather than the trivial.
When we use the word stewardship, our mind may automatically go to money. Yes, God has blessed us with material goods and expects us to be wise stewards of those things. But He has also entrusted us with time. Today God put 1,440 minutes in our time bank. Will He require an accounting of how we spent those minutes? Romans 14:12 reminds us, “So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (ESV). That includes how we spend our time.
Rather than feeling guilty about lofty resolutions that only a few actually accomplish (estimated at eight percent), why not choose instead to live each day to its fullest. Live intentionally. Yes, things will come up, and we may not accomplish as much as we hoped. Don’t despair. Yesterday is history, but today offers us each a fresh start.
Today I choose to devote my time to great and important purposes—things that will please God and that will bless others. Today I will redeem my time and use it wisely.
Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to spend my time in things worthwhile and important. Some of that time will be spent in Your presence. Some of that time will be spent helping others. And, hopefully, some of that time will be spent in sharing the good news of the gospel with someone who needs Your salvation.
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