Time is an amazing thing. It can be greatly valued, or wasted without thought. It cannot be hoarded. It cannot be stopped. Its progress is inexorable, yet at times it almost seems to stand still.
Time may be a friend or an enemy. Every living creature has the same number of minutes and hours in a day. There is no way to stockpile it, no way to retrieve it when it has passed. It is a non-renewable resource, although each day brings us a fresh supply. Some people learn how to use their supply wisely; others seem to always “run out of time.”
Today’s focus verse instructs us to “redeem” time. To redeem something is to buy it back, but how can we buy back time? We do that by spending our time on things that have value. Time that accomplishes a purpose has been “bought back.” Time passed with no useful purpose or aim is lost forever.
Solomon had a fantastic ability to make things happen. At the end of his life, he wrote that there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), yet his bitter assessment was, “all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). All the time and energy he had spent pursuing his dreams seemed of no value to him, even though his accomplishments had surpassed the attainments of any of his peers. His God-given gift of wisdom had ultimately been spent in pursuits that left him unfulfilled. His final admonition was to “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13); leaving the impression that this was the only part of his life that had brought him any satisfaction.
Consider what is valuable: Talking on the phone can heal or hurt. Reading can feed the mind or shrivel the soul. A dinner date can lead to a positive relationship or to an illicit affair. A walk on the beach can inspire the soul or be a means of running away from responsibility. For every positive there can be a negative. If we follow God wholeheartedly, He will help us to understand the difference, and we will learn how to get the most value from each day.