If you listen closely, you’ll hear an interesting war of words on the internet these days. It’s a battle between two passionate groups. I call them the workers and the shirkers.
The workers seem to be obsessed with using this Covid-19 down time “productively.” So they haven’t slept in a couple weeks. They are too busy learning a new language, writing a new book, starting a new podcast…….or lying about their new language, book, or podcast.
The shirkers love to take shots at the workers. They can sound a bit defensive at times. They criticize the workers for not resting and reflecting during the down time. Their favorite song is “Kum ba yah.” Their favorite cliché is, “we’re not human doings, we’re human beings!”
My suggestion for both groups is to call a cease fire and follow the Bible’s advice to redeem the time. And that will look strikingly different from person to person.
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 KJV
What does “redeem the time” mean?
There are two words in the New Testament for time. One word defines time in the way that most of us understand it. It’s a series of moments. But the other word for time is a season or an opportunity. In fact, the New International Version translates Ephesians 5:15-16 just that way:
“Be very careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise. Making the most of every opportunity, for the days are evil.”
Redeeming the time is valuing time, cherishing time. Redeeming the time is investing in the opportunities that time presents.
So, how can we make the most of our Covid-19 down time? How can we redeem our time? There are a number of ways. Let me suggest 3.
Adjust your attitude about life and death
Dr. Jason K. Allen, president of Midwestern Baptist Seminary suggests that before we adjust our actions to redeem the time, we must first adjust our attitude about life and death.
Death is an inevitability that many in our culture find it hard to accept. There are countless diets, supplements, retreats and seminars that seem designed to further this notion that we can live forever down here. Won’t work.
The Bible on the other hand paints a very realistic picture of life. James 4:14 says it’s like a vapor, a mist. Now you see it, now you don’t. Same for Psalm 144:4. It describes this life as a fast disappearing shadow.
We must accept the reality that we can outrun a number of things, but we won’t outrun death. The key is to spend our time with the knowledge that our days in this sin cursed world are numbered.
Watch your comparisons to others
You’ll never take advantage of your opportunities if you are comparing yourself with others. That’s why the title of this devotional is redeeming your time! The unfortunate reality is that much of what we see and read about others does not tell the whole story. We get the picture after the photoshopping. We get the article after the editing. And so we are intimidated.
We spend way too much of our time minding other folk’s business. That’s actually the source of the conflict between the workers and shirkers. Redeeming the time for some will mean taking a class. Redeeming the time for others will mean taking a break. Focus on your own time and opportunities.
Pursue your purpose
A key to redeeming the time is understanding your purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s handiwork. We were born with assignments God created us to do. When you know your assignment it determines how you choose to spend your time. When you know your assignment it helps you say no to things that are interesting but not essential.
And here’s the key. You don’t find your purpose by pursuing purpose. You find your purpose by pursuing God. You don’t redeem your time by fixing your attention on a clock. You redeem your time by fixing your attention on God. And He is the ultimate authority on redemption.