“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” – Ephesians 5:15-17 (KJV).

As you are reading this devotional, one of your most valuable assets is slipping away. This asset is shared equally by the poor and rich, educated and uneducated, married and single alike. And once it is lost, it is impossible to regain. I am talking about time.  And in Ephesians 5, Paul tells us to redeem the time. The NIV version tells us to “making the most of every opportunity” while the ESV tells us to “making the best use of the time.” Paul instructs the church to use their time in a way that reflects Jesus’ redemptive work in their lives. That means there is a way that we can give generously of our time, in a way that honors God.

God is going to give to you a measured amount of time to live on planet earth. How are you going to spend it? Or, let me back up a bit and rephrase that question this way. How are you spending it?

The difficulty we have in redeeming the time in the present is we often find ourselves traveling and dwelling in the past, as if we would have little to do with the present. We return to our yesterdays, resurface bad memories, and by doing so lose the time in the present. Happily, it doesn’t need to be so. The apostle Paul reminds us that the past can be forgotten so we can focus on the present.

Redeeming the time is a great reminder when the holidays are in sight. Time is about to become scarce and, if we are not careful, time will fly by before we know it. We have to be intentional about reserving time so that we can be generous with it.

With that in mind, think and pray about how you might be more generous with your time this holiday season. Maybe say “no” to activities that take up time while distracting us from Jesus. Say “yes” to activities that keep us focused on Jesus and the people Jesus loves. As you do, you will find peace and blessings in the time of the holidays. You will also find that Christ is redeeming your time as you give it away.

Every once in awhile it hits me. I made the decision to start Northstar over 18 years ago, although it seems like yesterday. And 20 years from now may seem as if it is here as soon as tomorrow.  And then my grandchildren will be looking at pictures of me and thinking, “He sure does look old!” No, I am not having a midlife crisis. The point is that we don’t have enough days to spend on the past. We need to focus on the present.

Since I only have a limited number of days, I want them all to matter in the light of eternity.  So I’m focused on the present and helping the whole world find and follow Jesus.    

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do any of your past afflictions or trials still affect you in the present? In what way?
  2. Do you ever fear that your past experiences will keep you from serving God and ministering to others in the present? Why?
  3. What past hurts do you need to trust God to redeem? Take some time to pray for God to help you let go of the past and trust Him to work those past hurts for your good.
  4. Spend some time this week reviewing your use of time. Write out how you are spending your time. Don’t let your time keep slipping away. Identify time that can be captured for His kingdom’s purposes and redeem it.