Vic Rhodes

Redeeming The Time

Early in a season of managing a feed store I had an encounter with a customer that branded an awareness of time into my thinking that endures today.

A customer had come into the store about two weeks earlier and ordered a large quantity of custom forage seed mix. It was a typical hectic day, and I was interrupted many times by questions like what to use to kill weeds in the garden, what kind of fertilizer is best for clay soils, and where are the calf pullers for so-and-so ranch? I did not write down the order for the custom mix. Now, two weeks later, I was ensnared in a rapidly escalating confrontation of my own design. I had not ordered the seed! My fault entirely. As store manager I was personally responsible anyway since, if there was a buck somewhere, it stopped with me. Thankfully the customer was wiser than me and had padded his timing by a week. He didn’t need the seed till next week, but it had better be here! After reassuring him it would arrive on time I called the supplier and confirmed the order.

I will never forget that sickening feeling of looking someone in the eyes who trusted you, depended on you, and seeing the anger frustration and disappointment I caused by dropping the ball. I began carrying a notebook in my pocket, writing down names and numbers and details, and reviewing it often to catch time-sensitive information. It wasn’t long till I found Daytimer brand planners, and used them for over twenty years. Now I make my own daily planner, and record significant events as I work. I am determined to not waste time by forgetting or ignoring opportunities.

Every second you live only occurs once. We have exactly one opportunity to do something each moment. When the moment passes, it cannot be retrieved. There are no retakes, no “mulligans”, no do-overs. It becomes another marker in your history, another stepping stone to eternal life or eternal damnation.

There are hundreds of quotes about time. We have heard them so often we are hardened to how vital time is. We ignore this supernatural supply of opportunity. Time is a finite commodity. There are a precise number of seconds God has allocated to the human race. Every second counts. Are you counting yours?

I believe time may be the first item or ”thing” God created. I say this because all physical matter requires time to exist. The concept of movement requires time to make sense. Atoms move therefore atoms must have a time environment in which to exist. Since time is the first created “material”, and we know there is a limit to how much time there is available, it is very important to the Lord. Is it important to you?

Our title today comes from Ephesians 5:16.

Ephesians 5:16 (NKJV) redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

As with many Scripture verses taken out of context, this verse needs the preceding words to help us see the importance of redeeming the time we have.

Ephesians 5:15 (NKJV) See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,

The word circumspectly means to be wary, to look around, be cautious, to be attentive to everything, watchful in all directions against danger or error. It is the mindset of a soldier, a warrior, a shrewd businessman, or an elite athlete. It ought to be our mindset as disciples of the Living God. Those at the top of their game are circumspect, alert, watchful, quick to respond and adjust to shifting pressure points.

The next phrase “not as fools” brings definition and clarification. The Bible says to be circumspect is to be wise, and to be inattentive, careless, unaware of surroundings, or not watchful is to be a fool. We have all been foolish at times (pun intended). God warns us that we must be watchful about our use of His time. We must be cautious and wary about ticking seconds. There is danger and error for those who do not maintain alert attentive awareness of how they spend their time.

Whose Time Is It?

There is a concept commonly subscribed to that suggests we are all striving for control of our time. Our work life is supposed to “free up time” to enjoy upon retirement. We bristle (I know I do!) when someone or something “steals our time”, or prevents us from doing whatever we had planned in a block of time. Some are offended when asked to donate their time. Hourly workers are very aware of overtime, and double time, and travel time. Manufacturers want “just in time” delivery of inputs. The entire fast food industry is predicated on “saving time” by offering cheap fast fodder that is much more expensive to our health than “taking the time” to prepare inexpensive healthy meals.

The essential thread in all these scenarios is the idea of possession of time. We all think it is ours, and we are endlessly balancing it, wasting it, and counting it. I wonder if we are missing the point. Is it possible our fundamental understanding of time is flawed? Could there be a better way to “manage our time”?

The Bible tells us to redeem the time. The word translated redeem appears four times in the New Testament, twice in Galatians, once in Colossians, and this occurrence in Ephesians. Reading these verses will help us understand the Biblical sense of “redeem”.

Galatians 3:13 (NKJV) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Galatians 4:5 (NKJV) to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Colossians 4:5 (NKJV) Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.

The main idea is to redeem in the sense of buy back, or to utilize, make use of. Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the law. His sacrifice paid for our redemption. That was the most costly transaction known to man. God paid the highest price possible, His own life, His own Son, to make it possible for us to know Him and love Him.

The act of redemption does not necessarily mean the fullness of redemption is enjoyed by all those redemption was intended for. Many refuse His offer of forgiveness and reconciliation. The availability of an asset does not guarantee full deployment or enjoyment of it. You must do something to use it.

So it is with time. It is available to you but you must consciously choose to use it to get the most possible out of what is available. God gives us time to redeem, to utilize and make use of. Just because we “have time” does not mean we are doing anything eternally worthwhile with it.

We will be judged for how we redeem our time. Will we be judged circumspect, honoring and pleasing the Lord, or will we be judged fools? Will He look you in the eye with pleasure or will you see disappointment or even anger in His eyes? Your call.

Questions to ask yourself

  • If you only have a day to live, what would you do?
  • What can you do right now to maximize results?
  • What is the very best use of my time right now?
  • If I knew God was watching me, what would I do?
  • Am I making the best possible use of my time right now?


Prayer for Repentance and Salvation.

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Saviour, I invite you to ask Him into your heart. If you knew the Lord but have not been hungering for Him I invite you to consider your ways and repent. He is faithful and righteous to wipe your slate clean when you confess your sin to Him! (1 John 1:9)

1 John 1:9 (NASB95) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

He gave His life for you, and you honour Him when you give your life for Him. It is the right thing to do!

1 Corinthians 6:20 (AV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

You must give yourself to God for Him to come into your life and help you change. He will not force you! Ever. But oh! The joy and peace and hope He gives you!

Romans 12:1–2 (NKJV) 1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 10:9 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

You must acknowledge Jesus Christ is Lord, and you must believe He was resurrected from the dead by the Father.

Say this prayer out loud.

Heavenly Father I turn to you and acknowledge You as the Almighty God, eternal and sovereign over all. I have been rebellious, selfish, and deceived trying to live without you. I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died on the cross to redeem me from death and sin, and that He rose from the dead, alive forever with You. I ask you to forgive me of all my sin, known and unknown. Please come into my life as my Lord and my Saviour. Thank you for forgiving me, and redeeming me from sin. I choose to trust You and put You first in every area of my life. I will love You and serve You with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my resources, for the rest of my life, beginning right now. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!

If you prayed this to the Lord, please let me know! I have some resources to share with you, and will help you on your journey with the Lord.