We learned in part one of the vital importance of Christians seeking God for wisdom on our use of time (see: Here for first part).
Ephesians 5:15-17 teaches us:
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.“- ESV
As Christians, we are called to see every moment of time as a new opportunity to serve and glorify God in our life, because God has shown His loving grace and mercy to us in Jesus Christ.
In Christ, we have a new and living hope in Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead (1 Peter1 :4ff). We have wisdom in Christ Jesus, and we can be confident that because He will never leave us nor forsake us, He will help us to redeem our time for God’s glory.
Christ gave up every moment of time that He was given to live and die for God’s beloved children. Christ redeemed His time where we had constantly failed. Only Christ has lived in time perfectly, loving God and neighbor as Himself, fully glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.
As new creations in Christ, we can seek to do just the same with the grace He has granted to us by the Spirit. The Spirit creates; the Spirit re-creates, renews, and gives new hope and opportunities.
Seeking to understand how we spend our time is getting wisdom:
ESV Ephesians 5:15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise…
How are we to “walk”? Ephesians 4:1: “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received…”
This is to walk wisely with regard to our time in this world.
We are to do this “carefully” (5:15): Peter O’ Brien writes: “The adverb rendered ‘carefully’ signifies something done accurately, precisely, or after close attention has been given.” (O Brien, PNTC, Letter to the Ephesians, 380).
If we do not concern ourselves with our time, then we are fools.
From Screwtape to Wormwood: “In modern Christian writings, though I see much (indeed more than I like) about Mammon, I see few of the old warnings about Worldly Vanities, the Choice of Friends, and the Value of Time. All that, your patient would probably classify as ‘Puritanism’—and may I remark in passing that the value we have given to that word is one of the really solid triumphs of the last hundred years?” (Screwtape Letters, pgs. 50-51).
Do you understand this? Fools do not think about their use of time; fools waste their time.
So how do we get this wisdom? One way is to understand how we waste time, then to consider how God teaches us to redeem it.
God is to be served using our time wisely, but we can so easily waste time!
How do we waste time? What are our “time robbers”?
The Notorious BIG Time-Robbers of History
- Sloth and idleness
- Excess of sleep
- Inordinate adorning the body with clothes and health
- Possessions and entertainment
- Needless parties and feastings and gluttony
- Idle talk; “chatting”
- Bad company; “vain and sinful company”
- Excessive worry about earthly cares and business
- Ungoverned sinful thought-life
- The “Master-Robber”: An unsanctified, ungodly heart!
Why is this THE master? The BIG ROBBER?!
We must remember that wasting time, acting foolishly in relation to our time reveals deeper problems of our heart.
Remember that behavior is merely the fruit; the heart is the actual root.
Too busy too pray; too busy to take time away to rest; to busy to meditate on the LORD?
Something deeper is wrong.
What you’re spending your time doing may be idolatrous –and probably is- -you are most likely doing it more for yourself than for God and others.
If you find yourself filled with anger,anxiety, worry, busy-ness, exhaustion, bitterness, envy, and self-pity- -these are produced by the flesh and by folly. These are not results or fruits of time well-spent.
Wasted time will produce the works of the flesh; we are seeking and never finding what we’re truly looking for and need in Jesus alone.
As Richard Baxter in his Christian Directory wisely warned parents (and all in positions of authority) about redeeming the time for ourselves, and seeking by God’s grace to teach our children and others under our care how to redeem their time; he wrote:
“Time must be redeemed from smaller duties, which in their season must be done, as being no duties, when they hinder greater duty which should then take place…
…It is a duty in its time and place to show respect to neighbors and superiors, and to those about us, and to look to our family affairs; but not when we should be at prayer, to God, or when a minister should be preaching, or at his necessary studies! Private prayer and meditation, and visiting the sick, are duties; but not when we should be at worship, or about any greater duty which they hinder” (Part 1, Chapter V).
Baxter is teaching us to remember wisely to make the distinction between what is important and what is urgent. Every morning we have much urgency: a busy schedule, emails to answer, calls to make, places to go, etc. But what is most important? How do you make the distinction prayerfully between the important (seeking God, prayer, bible reading and meditation, and service for others), in the midst of urgency?
If you haven’t made the distinction, then perhaps you are already exhausted, and your life feels very meaningless at times, even as a Christian.
The first step is realizing that there is a difference between the important of seeking and knowing Christ Jesus in the midst of a busy world, and knowing the urgent that can probably wait!
In other words, if we are not making time to worship God; to seek him in prayer and meditation each day; or whatever spiritual duty we must have, because we are busy and overly scheduled in other activities, then we are ultimately wasting time!
Your busy-ness- -your exhaustion is not from Christ! Christ promises rest for the weary; he encourages you to come to him and he will give you rest.
I have heard a wise man tell me, and I will try not to forget it:
“God could not and would not give you more in a day than you could do; if you do have more than you can do, then God could not nor would not have given to you.”
Others may have given it to you; you may have given it to you; but God has not given it to you.
In Jesus we find rest from all the other things we so desperately and foolishly pursue.
Like Martha, there is one thing that is needed or truly necessary for you to do.
ESV Luke 10:40-41: But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things…
Prayerfully ask each day: “What is the one thing needed, O Father? Grant me the wisdom to discern things that I don’t really have to accomplish; help me to serve you wholeheartedly in all I do while resting in Jesus Christ.”
Lest you be driven by something or some desire that is greater than your desire and love for God.
God will grant you wisdom to know the difference between what he has given to you and what you and others have given to you that will overwhelm and exhaust you (James 1:5ff).
Modern Time Robbers:
Biggest time wasters according to website ‘Productivity 501’:
Surfing the web. Maybe that doesn’t count, though, since most folks actually do know they’re wasting time. Biggest time waster without knowing it is being chatty. For real. Chattiness is a total time sink! (be wise and careful my Facebookers friends! :-))
Top ways to waste time (not necessarily sins, but unwise and can be huge time-wasters): BIG 5 [TV,TEXTING, GAMES, INTERNET, and OVERSLEEPING].
Watching Television; texting; video games; internet; oversleeping; Not having specific plans for a day (organization- “Teachers without daily plans will not teach” is what I was told); procrastination; worry; being busy but not accomplishing anything (no agenda, etc); Not learning from mistakes.
One of the big problems that has not been taught to young people today is a good use of time, and all who are parents, teachers, and examples, need to consider this. Have we taught those in our care to ask these questions:
“How do I manage my time? How should I think about my time?”
Since I was young, I have been haunted by the song “The Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin.
It has always made me think about time, but worry about it as well. The song is an important reminder of how we live our lives will most likely be our heritage, our legacy left to our children:
Are we too busy with our time to invest it as we should in the proper relationships with younger people?
“My child arrived just the other day.
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
He was talking before I knew it, and as he grew
He said, “I’m going to be like you, Dad.
You know I’m going to be like you.”
My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, “Thanks for the ball, now come on let’s play.
Can you teach me to throw?” I said, “Not today,
I’ve got a lot to do.” He said, “That’s OK.”
And he walked away and he smiled and he said
“You know I’m going to be like you, Dad,
You know I’m going to be like you.”
The final verse says:
I’ve long since retired and my son’s moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, “I’d like to see you, if you don’t mind.”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu,
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad.
It’s been real nice talking to you.”
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me,
He’d grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.
Did I show my children the importance of their time?
Did I pray for them and others in my congregation and family to know the importance of being wise with their time?
Did I keep show them the importance of wisdom with my time in both work and my rest?
Did I make a distinction between the urgent and the important?
“You know I’m going to be like you, Dad, You know I’m going to be like you.”
God wants us to live with an urgency regarding out time; we must make the most use of it by his grace.
How do we “redeem” exagorazo the time? How do we make the most use of the time?
The Apostle Peter says “The end is at hand”. Same sense here:
Live as if it is your last day; it may just be!
ESV 1 Peter 4:7-11: The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
ESV 1 Corinthians 7:29-31: This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
One translation of “make the most use of the time” (Eph. 5:16): “…Buying up the present opportunity.”
ESV Colossians 4:5 Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.
“Buying time”; we speak sometimes with those trying to get some more time; we say: “He or she’s just buying time” (this is the gist here and in Daniel 2:8).
The idea on “buying time” is based on the fact that we know we live on “borrowed time” as we also popularly say.
We use the term “buying time” to say that we would like to have more time to make decisions, respond, etc. (Incidentally, we also use the term “killing time” which means to waste it!).
“Buying time” has to do with using the time that God has given us- -and using it wisely.
Wisely using our time is pleasing to the LORD (Eph. 5:10- “…And try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord”).
Let me say it this way: Jesus has bought us time. God’s grace has bought us or given us the time we call our life.
We can use it for Him and others, or we can waste it on ourselves.
“Buying time” means as ESV: “making the best use of time” or taking advantage of the time we have.
- Know God’s “dream” and goal for your life: Christ-likeness. Don’t waste the time he has graciously given you.
- Know that God has called you to serve him faithfully. Don’t waste the time he has graciously given you.
- Know the brevity of your existence and yet the great legacy you can leave behind (mediate on Psalm 90).
- Know your end and destination.
ESV 2 Corinthians 5:6-10: So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Acts 17:26-31: And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’;1 as even some of your own poets have said, “‘ For we are indeed his offspring.’2 29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
We will all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ
Heaven or hell?
Know the comfort that will come from being wise about your time, especially in your time of death.
Leave a legacy of Christ-centered love and service to your family and friends.
Prayer and meditation on God’s Word: What keeps you from it? What distracts you? UNPLUG to the best of your ability.
Seek to learn the difference between the needed and the “urgent”: Do not become a slave to the urgent (You’ve heard of the “tyranny of the urgent”?). The urgent is usually a disguised demon who is yelling 🙂 in your ear that you “MUST” do this or that (but it is because it means too much to you).
The Holy Spirit calls you near, to share with you the gifts and grace of God deep within the quietness of your soul.
We cannot be fully delivered from the busy-ness of our time; but we can be delivered from the awesome tiredness of our souls by resting in Christ!
I think Paul would tell moderns to UNPLUG if done in excess. Quit your texting; turn off your cell phone and your PC now and then; try just sitting quietly with bible open before God,seeking God for wisdom, and allowing the peace that passes all understanding to come to you by God’s Spirit.
We live at the end of all things; let us live like Christ will return today.
The “No-Nonsense-ness” of Solomon:
He “had it all”- -wisdom and riches and long life- -and it tempted him to be foolish. He realized that all of what we have is but additions to our burden of the brevity of life.
Oh, that we might get to the “No-nonsense” of Solomon and see clearly what truly matters:
ESV Ecclesiastes 12:1, 13-14: Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them” ….The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Not for our sake, but for the sake of our Lord.
We have been redeemed from this present age to live for Christ.
He has redeemed us by His blood in order that we might make known the coming salvation and judgment of the world.
We are not our own; our time is not our own; time is not on our side; Jesus is!!
Fear of God should motivate us; but what should really motivate us is the love of Jesus Christ!
We should remember that our time is given to us NOT to live for ourselves, but ultimately by love, we are to live for Christ and others.
How can we best please him?
ESV 2 Corinthians 5:14-15: For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Richard Baxter wrote: “However it be now, I can tell you, at death, it will be an unspeakable comfort, to look back on a well-spent life; and to be able to say in humble sincerity, My time was not cast away on worldliness, ambition, idleness, or fleshly vanities or pleasures; but spent in the sincere and laborious service of my God, and making my calling and election sure, and doing all the good to men’s souls and bodies that I could do in the world; it was entirely devoted to God and his church, and the good of others and my soul” (Part I. Chapter V).
What if you knew you only had one year to live?
How would you live?
What if you knew you only had one week to live?
How would you live?
What if you knew you only had one day to live?
How would you live?
What if within the next hour you were dead?
How would you live?
How would you live?
The end is at hand…Christ stands ready to receive, forgive; he will return.
He has redeemed you; now go in His grace and redeem the time you have left.
The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of Heaven breaks;
The summer morn I’ve sighed for—the fair, sweet morn awakes:
Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
Love in Christ,