“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3.
The world is moving at breakneck speed. Information is overflowing 24 hours a day. As a result, we are busy, busy, busy. Lunch is wolfed down or skipped. When we get home there is still so much to do, so much we want done before finally falling into bed. Time is something we never seem to have enough of. Theologian Jonathan Edwards had this to say in the 17th century: “Upon time we should set a high value, and be exceeding careful that it be not lost; and we are therefore exhorted to exercise wisdom and circumspection, in order that we may redeem it. And hence it appears, that time is exceedingly precious.”
Time is precious. The clock is running. So how do we make the best of it? Most people assume we have put life in overdrive fighting the clock, habitually, as a way of life. But when you study Jesus’ life, He never seemed to be in a hurry. Although He was doing the most important job in history (redeeming the world), and although He knew He only had a few years to do it, He never ran. He made time to talk to people, to heal people, to put his hands on the little children and bless them. Time was His friend.
Every moment we have is a gift from God that must be managed wisely. The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves. The Bible speaks of “redeeming” the time, which is an even better idea. Paul writes: “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.” (Ephesians 5:15)
The phrase “be careful how you live,” means to be constantly looking around to make the most of every opportunity. We should live, looking for every opportunity to invest time wisely, rather than darting through them. When an opportunity passes, it can’t be reclaimed–it is gone forever. That’s what it means to redeem the time.
If you don’t manage your time – someone else will manage it for you. You can’t save time, or even waste time–you are going to spend it somewhere and invest it in someone. If you don’t control your schedule, someone will always be happy to do it for you. Some people complain they just don’t have enough time to spend with their family or to relax or serve in ministry. You’ve got exactly the same amount of time as everyone else; the question is are we making time for the important areas in our life.
- Contrast how the “wise” spend their time versus the “unwise”. Discuss how we can learn what the Lord wants us to do.
- Is there a place for “down-time” in our lives? What should that down-time look like?
- Read Matthew 25:14-30: How does this parable of the talents teach us to wisely use opportunities in the limited time we have been given? Do you have any God-given opportunities that you have been neglecting?
- Spend some time this week reviewing how you are spending your time. Identify time that can be captured for God’s purposes and redeem it.