One of the most critical decisions we make each day is how we utilize our time. God’s Word says: “Be very careful, then, how you live – not s unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) The KJV rendering, “redeeming the time” may be a better translation of the words, “making the most of every opportunity.” The word in verse 16 exagorazomenoi implies something is being purchased or ransomed.
The poet, Carl Sandburg wrote, “Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let others spend it for you.” Time management is a transaction.
There are choices we make about the transaction of our time.
We may choose to dwell on the past and lose focus on the present. Colin Powell once said, “None of us can change our yesterdays but all of us can change our tomorrows.” Today represents an opportunity. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)
We may choose to procrastinate. God’s word tells us to avoid waiting in the helping of others. “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow’ – when you now have it with you.” (Proverbs 3:27-28)
We may choose between good and evil usages of our time. Temptations await us daily. They come in many forms. Some people are tempted to do things that will impair themselves physically, such as taking drugs or the excessive use of alcohol. Others are tempted to do things that will jeopardize their most treasured relationships, such as engaging in infidelity. Still others are tempted to live dishonestly, such as falsifying an expense report on the job. Temptations distract us from the will and the Word of God.
We also may choose between good, better, best usages of our time. On occasion we select something to do that we want to cross off a list. It may be good to finish it, but the activity may not be the best utilization of our God-given moments. Robert J. McKain once observed, “The reason most goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first.”
One key to our choices is wisdom. We receive wisdom from God. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Good wisdom questions for us to ask are:
- God what is your will for me today?
- God what is the most important thing I’ll do for you this day?
- God what must I sacrifice in order to accomplish what is most important this day?
- God how can I please you today?
In our use of time we’re inclined to worry. Jesus said, “‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’” (Matthew 6:34)
Jesus is saying that we’re to focus on today. It’s a gift from God. Let’s enjoy it! “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Above all things, may we take time to be with the Lord.
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.