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"Redeeming The Time"

(Ephesians 5.16: Colossians 4.6)

"We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;

We have hard work to do, and loads to lift."

It has been remarked that it is a reproach on the English language to use the expression "killing time", implying that time as it passes is a trivial and boring thing, and human beings must find some way in which to kill it. Satan, the god of this world, has been successful in meeting the demands for inventions and things whereby time may be "killed"! Much valuable time is wasted by men and women in watching unprofitable things on television and in reading much of the literature which pours out of the Press. The wise man said, "in all labour there is profit", but men and women, including some believers, engage in many things in which there is no profit either for time or for eternity. We can appreciate that when human beings are in pain anaesthetists are used to ease the passage of time, but otherwise the desire to "kill" and to forget this most valuable commodity, is evidence that man's outlook is out of perspective.

God has given men time in order to prepare for the eternity to come, and He has given His people time in order that they might redeem it, buying up the opportunities as they present themselves each day, each hour, each minute, to serve the Lord Christ. There have been many apt and wise sayings whereby thinking men have sought to impress on their fellows the value of time. One such is: "Lost, between sunrise and sunset, twelve golden hours, each studded with sixty diamond minutes; no reward is offered for they are gone for ever".

Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose time belongs to the Lord, should be much concerned about the time which has been entrusted to them, for the Lord will require an account of its use.

The expression "pass time" is sometimes used instead of "killing time". Neither of these expressions should be used by the Christian. We are exhorted to, "Pass the time of your sojourning in fear" (1 Peter 1.17). II we do this we shall use the time allotted to us profitably and not waste it.

It is well to lay to heart certain principles concerning ways in which we can either waste or redeem the time. If we absent ourselves from the convened meetings of the assembly without due cause, we are wasting not redeeming the time. We call attention to the law governing the keeping of the feast of the Passover; "The man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, that soul shall be cut off from his people; because he offered not the oblation of the LORD in its appointed season, that man shall bear his sin" (Numbers 9.13). Although we are under grace there is, no doubt, a principle here which pertains to our responsibility with regard to the Remembrance.

If we go on our way in the morning to work or business without time spent with the word of God and prayer for guidance through the day, we are wasting, not redeeming, the time. If we close the day without reviewing it before God and confessing sin and failure, we are wasting, not redeeming, the time. If days pass and no opportunities are taken to bring before others the wondrous love of God to man in making provision for his salvation, we are wasting, not redeeming, the time. There are many ways in which we can redeem the time. The disciple who is exercised before the Lord will be shown by the Holy Spirit just how it can be done. We have in mind, as we write, a sister with few household responsibilities but who does not require to "kill" time. She spends many hours visiting the sick and aged, speaking a needful word as opportunity offers, and distributing gospel leaflets.

As Paul looked back over approximately thirty years in the service of the One who loved him and gave Himself up for him, there was no trace of regret for wasted time. He writes to Timothy:

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give to me at that day: and not only to me, but also to all them that have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4.7,8).

Let us, too, learn the value of time, remembering how swiftly it passes, and use every opportunity to serve Him who loved us and gave Himself up for us, and whom we love in return.

"Work, for the night is coming,

Work through the morning hours;

Work, while the dew is sparkling,

Work mid springing flowers;

Work, when the day grows brighter,

Work in the glowing sun;

Work, for the night is coming,

When man's work is done.