Amplified: Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people) (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
NLT: So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Live life, then, with a due sense of responsibility, not as men who do not know the meaning and purpose of life but as those who do. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Be constantly taking heed therefore how accurately you are conducting yourselves, not as unwise ones but as wise ones (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: See, then, how exactly ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise
THEREFORE BE CAREFUL HOW YOU WALK: blepete (2PPAM) oun akribos pos peripateite, (2PPAI): (Eph 5:33; Mt 8:4; 27:4,24; 1Th 5:15; He 12:25; 1Pe 1:22; Re 19:10) (Ex 23:13; Mt 10:16; 1Co 14:20; Php 1:27; Col 1:9; 4:5)
Note: All verbs in bold red indicate commands, not suggestions! Also hold mouse pointer over underlined links for pop up of Scripture which stays open and can be copied.
Be as careful and wise as Jonathan Edwards was when he wrote in his diary at age twenty
Therefore (3767) (oun) introduces a logical result or inference from what precedes (so, consequently, thereupon, then). Therefore is a term of conclusion draws us back to the immediate context, in which Paul has just given the command to be continually awake. But it undoubtedly also goes back to the beginning of this practical section where Paul implored his readers to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called." (Eph 4:1-note) adding that they were to "walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk" (Eph 4:17-note). In chapter 5 Paul continued to emphasize the importance of the believer's walk giving the command to continually "Walk in love" (Eph 5:2-note) like Christ and to continually "Walk as children of Light" since they are now light in the Lord (Eph 5:8-note). And so here in verse 15, Paul picks up the theme of a worthy walk, emphasizing that it is to be a careful walk, a circumspect walk (redeeming time) and a controlled walk (filled with the Spirit).
Moule has some great introductory comments to Ephesians 5:15-21 writing that...
Be careful how you walk - carries the idea of looking around carefully so as not to stumble, which Paul explains equates with walking intelligently and not in ignorance.
F B Meyer in his comments on King David's sad failure to keep watch (cp 1Chr 20:1) warns that "THERE are times and tides in the affairs of men; favorable moments for doing and daring, for attempting and achieving (cp Esther 4:14-note). Hours when the ship must be launched, or it will have to wait for another spring tide. Days when the seed must be sown, or it will have to tarry till another autumn. Royal natures (Ed: Beloved as a believer, you are a "Royal Priesthood"! 1Pe 2:9-note) show their quality by taking advantage of times like these, when God and circumstances favor a great attempt. Alas, if long‑continued prosperity has robbed the kingly soul of its desire or power to use its sacred opportunity! Once missed, it may never recur; and the soul that has missed it condemns itself, and loses heart, and surrenders itself to lower and ever lower depths of temptation."
Bishop J C Ryle alluded to a careful...walk when he said "We may depend upon it as a certainty that where there is no holy living there is no Holy Ghost.
A W Tozer echoed this same thought when he said "The filling of the Holy Spirit (see Ep 5:18) brings a sharp separation between the believer and the world.
John Stott introduces this section writing that "Paul’s next little paragraph is based upon two assumptions, first that Christians are sophoi,—wise people, not fools—and secondly that Christian wisdom is practical wisdom, for it teaches us how to behave. His word for to ‘behave’ throughout the letter has been a Hebrew concept, to ‘walk’. Our Christian walk or behaviour, he has written, must no longer be according to the world, the flesh and the devil (Ep 2:1, 2, 3), or like the pagans (Ep 4:17). Instead, it must be ‘worthy’ of God’s call, ‘in love’, and ‘as children of light’ (Ep 4:1; 5:1; 5:8). Now he adds a more general exhortation to us to behave like the wise people he credits us with being: look carefully how you walk, he writes. Everything worth doing requires care. We all take trouble over the things which seem to us to matter—our job, our education, our home and family, our hobbies, our dress and appearance. So as Christians we must take trouble over our Christian life. We must treat it as the serious thing it is. ‘Be most careful then how you conduct yourselves: like sensible men, not like simpletons’ (neb). (Stott, J. R. W. God's New Society : The Message of Ephesians. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press)
The KJV provides a more literal translation than the NAS rendering it as "See (NAS = be careful) then that ye walk circumspectly (akribos) (KJV)
Be careful (991) (blepo) means to look at, behold, discern mentally, observe, perceive, consider, contemplate, look to in the sense of taking care, take heed. It means perceive with your eyes. Have your eye on so as to beware of. Blepo generally denotes simply a voluntary observation or taking notice of something or someone.
The present imperative commands one to continually pay especially close attention to how they walk. “Be constantly taking heed how accurately you are conducting yourselves.” We need to remember that our heart is more deceitful than all else and that the enemy of our soul constantly prowls around and his desire is for our soul. The only way to be continually on guard is to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18-note), Who is continually at work (energeo = continually energizing) in us both to give us "the desire and the (supernatural) power" to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord (Php 2:13NLT-note).
Blepo - 117v in NT - Matt. 5:28; 6:4, 6, 18; 7:3; 11:4; 12:22; 13:13f, 16f; 14:30; 15:31; 18:10; 22:16; 24:2, 4; Mk. 4:12, 24; 5:31; 8:15, 18, 23f; 12:14, 38; 13:2, 5, 9, 23, 33; Lk. 6:41f; 7:21, 44; 8:10, 16, 18; 9:62; 10:23f; 11:33; 21:8, 30; 24:12; Jn. 1:29; 5:19; 9:7, 15, 19, 21, 25, 39, 41; 11:9; 13:22; 20:1, 5; 21:9, 20; Acts 1:9, 11; 2:33; 3:4; 4:14; 8:6; 9:8f; 12:9; 13:11, 40; 27:12; 28:26; Rom. 7:23; 8:24f; 11:8, 10; 1 Co. 1:26; 3:10; 8:9; 10:12, 18; 13:12; 16:10; 2 Co. 4:18; 7:8; 10:7; 12:6; Gal. 5:15; Eph. 5:15; Phil. 3:2; Col. 2:5, 8; 4:17; Heb. 2:9; 3:12, 19; 10:25; 11:1, 3, 7; 12:25; Jas. 2:22; 2 Jn. 1:8; Rev. 1:11f; 3:18; 5:3f; 9:20; 11:9; 16:15; 17:8; 18:9, 18; 22:8.
NAS renders blepo as - be on guard(1), behold(1), beware(5), careful(1), careful*(1), consider(1),facing(1), keep on seeing(2), look(7), looking(5), looks(1), partial(2), saw(12), see(54), seeing(8), seen(8), sees(8),sight(2), take care(5), take heed(5), watch(1).
Jesus used blepo in a similar sense of contemplating in order to beware...
Paul used blepo with a similar meaning in Colossians writing...
The apostle John uses blepo to warn the believers to...
In Hebrews the writer warns...
Wuest adds that you are to "see to it that your conduct is accurate with respect to the demands of the Word of God. It is like a motorist accurately following on the right side of the center line dividing traffic. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
To reiterate, Paul's command in this passage is calling for continual attention to how we walk. Why? For we are continually in danger of walking down the wrong path, for our mortal enemies (Sin [flesh], Satan, System [of the fallen world]) are continually bombarding us with "fiery missiles" in an attempt to tempt us to doubt the goodness and sufficiency of God's way and try the errant way. (Pr 14:12, 16:25, 12:15)
Circumspectly (KJV) = this word is not directly translated in the NAS.
Circumspectly (199) (akribos) means characterized by exactness, thoroughness, precision, accuracy in addition to the associated idea of looking, examining, and investigating something with great care and alertness. Akribos pertains to strict conformity to a norm or standard, involving both detail and completeness, with focus on careful attention. In context akribos refers to ethical behavior with a focus on careful attention especially regarding the dangers and deceptions that continually assault us from our mortal enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil.
See to it that you walk circumspectly (akribos - accurately, diligently, carefully). Walk warily, exactly or diligently. Our English word circumspect is from the Latin circum- = around + specere = look and conveys the literal picture of looking around or figuratively being cautious. One who is walking circumspectly is one who is surveying all circumstances and possible consequences before acting or deciding. A great word picture!
The idea of akribos is that our walk is in strict conformity to a standard, and as such calls for carefulness against any departure from what is proper to a believer's walk. How does one accomplish this charge to be careful how we walk? By not walking unwisely, but wisely, as those who are continually redeeming for themselves the precious time God gives, by understanding His good and acceptable and perfect will and by not being filled with wine but being filled with His Spirit.
Note that the NAS translates the adverb akribos (199) somewhat vaguely. Here are other translations that translate akribos more literally...
There are 5 uses of akribos in the NT...
Walk (4043) (peripateo from peri = about, around + pateo = walk, tread) (Click word study on peripateo) means literally to walk about here and there or to tread all around. Peripateo then came to mean, to make one’s way, to make progress, to make due use of one’s opportunities and finally (as used by Paul in Ephesians), to live, to regulate one’s life, to conduct one’s self. Most of the NT uses refer to the daily conduct of one's life or how one orders their behavior or passes their life.
Walk is one of the key words of Ephesians (Eph 2:2, 10; 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15) and describes “the whole round of the activities of the individual life.”
Peripateo - 90v in NT (Meditate [see also Primer on Biblical Meditation] especially on the figurative uses of peripateo in the Pauline epistles) - Matt. 4:18; 9:5; 11:5; 14:25f, 29; 15:31; Mk. 1:16; 2:9; 5:42; 6:48f; 7:5; 8:24; 11:27; 12:38; 16:12; Lk. 5:23; 7:22; 11:44; 20:46; 24:17; Jn. 1:36; 5:8f, 11f; 6:19, 66; 7:1; 8:12; 10:23; 11:9f, 54; 12:35; 21:18; Acts 3:6, 8f, 12; 14:8, 10; 21:21; Ro 6:4; 8:1, 4; 13:13; 14:15; 1 Co. 3:3; 7:17; 2 Co. 4:2; 5:7; 10:2f; 12:18; Gal. 5:16; Eph. 2:2, 10; 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15; Phil. 3:17f; Col. 1:10; 2:6; 3:7; 4:5; 1 Thess. 2:12; 4:1, 12; 2 Thess. 3:6, 11; Heb. 13:9; 1 Pet. 5:8; 1 Jn. 1:6f; 2:6, 11; 2 Jn. 1:4, 6; 3 Jn. 1:3f; Rev. 2:1; 3:4; 9:20; 16:15; 21:24.
NAS renders peripateo as - behave(2), conduct ourselves(1), conduct yourselves(1), leading a life(1), leads a life(1), prowls about(1), walk(50), walk about(1), walk around(2), walked(7), walking(21), walking about(1),walks(5), were thus occupied(1).
To walk circumspectly is to walk in the light of our exalted position and privilege as beloved children of God. To walk in an unwise manner means to descend from the high plane and privilege to the profane practices of the fallen world. To walk wisely is to redeem each day, "buying up" every precious moment God gives.
The Amplified Version conveys the thrust of Paul's command rendering it...
MacDonald - To walk circumspectly is to live in the light of our position as God’s children. To walk as fools means to descend from this high plane to the conduct of worldly men.
Jonathan Edwards in his resolutions wrote...
Wayne Barber - Ephesians 5:15 tells us we are to be very careful as we walk. When we put on this new garment and walk out into a world penetrated by darkness, this garment, Christ in us (cp Col 1:27), has the power to first of all refuse the deeds of darkness, secondly reprove the deeds of darkness, and thirdly remove the deeds of darkness. Light puts out darkness. Folks, when you put on the garment, when you are living what you have in Jesus Christ, it is a powerful weapon against the darkness that is residing in this world. (Ephesians 5:15-17 Walking as Light in a World of Darkness)
NOT AS UNWISE MEN BUT AS WISE : me os asophoi all' os sophoi,: (2Samuel 24:10; Job 2:10; Psalms 73:22; Proverbs 14:8; Matthew 25:2; Luke 24:25; Galatians 3:1,3; 1Timothy 6:9; James 3:13)
Wisdom is the art of
Now Paul explains what he means by walking carefully...first the negative, then the positive.
(Not wise) Unwise (781) (asophos from a = without + sophos = wise) (used only in Ep 5:15) means without wisdom and so unwise, silly or foolish. This adjective describes one who lacks the power of proper discernment.
To walk any way except in the path of holiness, the ancient paths, turning neither to the left or the right, is to walk as a fool!
The NKJV has a good rendering...
To walk circumspectly and thus wisely is to live in the light of our position as God’s children. To walk as fools means to descend from this high plane to the conduct of worldly men.
Wise (4680) (sophos) is the practical application of acquired knowledge. Friberg says sophos generally describes "acquired intelligence characterized by the ability to use knowledge for correct behavior (1Cor 6:5)." Sophos is the opposite of anoetos which means without understanding or foolish. Sophos in 1Cor 1:20 implies a "philosopher." The Hebrew word chokmah corresponds to the Greek sophos. Sophos describes the ability to use knowledge for correct behavior (1Co 6:5). Sophos describes understanding that which results in wise conduct. Jesus uses sophos to describe worldly wisdom (Mt 11:25, cp Lk 10:21, 1Cor 1:19-20), emphasizing that what the world refers to as "wise" does not allow one to see spiritual truth. In Ro 1:14, Paul refers to the Greeks as the "wise" (although not in spiritual matters). Paul then refers to those who profess to be wise, (Ro 1:22), who have jettisoned the clear evidence (Ro 1:19-20) of the natural revelation of God (mocking the truth of a Creator and substituting the theory of Evolution). In contrast to the wisdom of fools, Paul exhorts believers at Rome to be wise in a godly sense, wise about spiritual truth and how to live in an evil world opposed to God (Ro 16:19), referring to God Himself as wise. In First Corinthians Paul repeatedly denounces man's natural wisdom which is really not wisdom in spiritual matters. James 3:13 shows how practice wisdom is by describing the one who is wise (godly wisdom) as demonstrating he is wise by his good behavior. And here in Ephesians we see that the wise walk is a behavior that redeems the time, "buying up" every (spiritual) opportunity presented by God (Eph 5:16). In short, God pleasing wisdom is revealed by godly living and (in context) calls for one not to be controlled by wine but to be continually controlled by the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18).
Webster's definition of philosopher (philos = love + sophia = wisdom) - a person who seeks wisdom or enlightenment. A person of philosophical temperament, esp one who is patient, wise, and stoical. "For the Sophists it meant the study of things with a view to practical insight. Plato saw in it a profound desire for truth, yet not without relation to educational and political action. Aristotle equated it with a methodical attempt to explain sensory reality. The Epicureans perceived true philosophy in culture fulfilled in detachment. The Stoics regarded it as a mastery of reality culminating in progress in right conduct." (ISBE) (See Philosophy - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
The first use of sophos in the Septuagint (Lxx) describes Pharaoh's "wise" men (Ge 41:8), who were not "wise" enough to tell him his dreams, because their wisdom was "natural" not "supernatural" wisdom, which He had bestowed on Joseph. In fact the second use of sophos in the Septuagint illustrates wisdom given to men by God (Ex 28:3). Practically, this stark Biblical contrast between man's wisdom and God's bestowed spiritual wisdom makes me wonder why I do not more often cry out for His wisdom when I am in a perplexing situation? (See James 1:5-8). To give you an expanded sense of the meaning of sophos, take a moment to go through the many uses in Proverbs (see below). For example, notice what Pr 1:5 teaches us about sophos - "A wise (Lxx = sophos) man will hear and increase in learning." Enjoy!
NIDNTT says in Classic Greek sophos denotes "an attribute, never an activity....Socrates’ wisdom consisted in the fact that he knows that he knows nothing (Plato, Ap. 21)."
Zodhiates - In Class. Greek (sophos) not only described respected philosophers and other truly learned men but was also appropriated by vain quibblers and rhetoricians whom Aristophanes parodied and Plato and Aristotle censured. The meaning of sophós in the NT and its Hebrew equivalent, chokmah, differs from the classical meaning in at least two ways. First of all, the biblical concept of wisdom is Theo-centric rather than anthropocentric. It denotes a fear of God and an understanding of His ways (cp Pr 9:10). Lastly, wisdom signifies the possession of a certain adeptness or practical ability. It does not necessarily imply brilliance or scholastic training (cp 1Cor 1:26-27); rather, sophós indicates adroitness, the ability to apply with skill what one knows (especially spiritual truth).
There are 20 uses of sophos in the NT translated in NAS as wise(16), wise man(2), wise men(1), wiser(1).
Sophos - 145v in the Septuagint often translates the Hebrew word chokmah (or related words in this family) -- Ge 41:8; Ex 28:3; 35:10, 25; 36:1, 4, 8; Deut 1:13, 15; 4:6; 16:19; 32:6; Judg 5:29; 1 Sam 16:18; 2 Sam 13:3; 14:2, 20; 20:16; 1 Kgs 2:9; 3:12; 4:20; 1 Chr 22:15; 2 Chr 2:7, 12ff; Job 5:13; 9:4; 15:2, 18; 32:9; 34:2, 34; 37:24; Ps 49:8; 58:5; 107:43; Pr 1:5-6; 3:35; 6:6; 9:8-9, 12; 10:1, 4, 8, 14; 12:15, 18; 13:10, 13-14, 20; 14:1, 3, 7, 16, 24; 15:2, 7, 12, 20; 16:14, 21, 23; 17:24; 18:15; 19:20; 20:1, 26; 21:11, 20, 22; 22:17; 23:15, 19, 24; 24:5, 7, 23; 25:12; 26:5, 12, 16; 27:11; 28:11; 29:8-9, 11; 30:24; Eccl 2:14, 16, 19; 4:13; 6:8; 7:4f, 7, 19; 8:1, 5, 17; 9:1, 11, 15, 17; 10:2, 12; 12:9, 11; Isa 3:3; 19:11f; 29:14; 31:2; Jer 4:22; 8:8f; 9:17, 23; 51:57; Ezek 27:8f; 28:3; Dan 1:4, 19f; 2:10, 12ff, 18, 21, 24f, 27, 48; 4:6, 18; 5:7f, 11, 15; Hos 14:9; Obad 1:8
In short we are to be walking as God expects (His will) and enables (by His indwelling Spirit) believers to walk. To walk circumspectly is to live in the light of our position, privilege and power as God’s children. It's to attain to our potential as men and women who are in Christ (see in Christ and in Christ Jesus). To walk as fools means to descend from this high plane to the conduct of worldly men.
John Eadie writes that "If the Ephesian Christians walked without taking heed to their ways, then they walked as fools do, who stumble and fall or miss the path. Wisdom, not in theory, but in practice—wisdom, and not mere intelligence — was to characterize them; that wisdom which preserves in rectitude, guides amidst temptations, and affords a lesson of consistency to surrounding spectators. And if there be any allusion to Eph 5:11, then the inferential meaning is—it would be the height of folly to rebuke that sin which the reprover is openly committing; to condemn profane swearing, and barb the reprimand with an oath; or exemplify the vices of wrath and clamor in anathematizing such as may be guilty of them. It is strange infatuation to be obliged, in pointing others to heaven, to point over one's shoulder. And one peculiar proof and specimen of wisdom is now given (in Eph 5:16) (Ephesians 5 Commentary)
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Check Your Work- I'm getting pretty good at math. That's because every day my son Steve and I have a little math session. He does his 30 junior high math problems, and I help him check them over. Sometimes we even get them all right.
As I go over Steve's math, I notice that he understands how to do his problems. In fact, in some areas he's better at it than I am. But occasionally, despite knowing how to do the problem, he gets the wrong answer. He either gets a little sloppy in using the right formula or he just doesn't check his answers carefully.
Aren't we all a little like that in our Christian life? We know what we should do. We have a good understanding of how to live the Christian life, but we get careless or lazy. We know better, but we fail.
For instance, we know we aren't supposed to gossip. But before we know it, we're roasting a fellow Christian. Or this: We know God wants us to keep our mind and heart pure, but we let down our guard and watch a TV program or movie we know is not edifying.
It's true, isn't it? We all get a little sloppy in how we live for God. Let's be more careful and pay closer attention to our Christian walk (Ephesians 5:15). Let's make sure we're doing quality work for our heavenly Father. —J D Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, help me to apply Your Word
Amplified: Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
NLT: Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: buying up for yourselves the opportune time, because the days are pernicious. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: redeeming the time, because the days are evil;
MAKING THE MOST OF (REDEEMING) YOUR TIME: exagorazomenoi (PMPMPN) ton kairon: (Romans 13:11; Galatians 6:10; Colossians 4:5)
REDEEM THE TIME
There's always enough time to do God's will.
Instead of counting the days, make your days count.
To spend time wisely, invest it in eternity.
The wise know God's limits—fools know no bounds.
ETERNITY will be appreciated only in the measure that we have rightly handled TIME!—F. King
God can turn any difficulty into an opportunity.
Wasting the gift of time insults the Giver of time.
Order my footsteps in Thy Word,
See in depth onsite discussion on
Solomon gives an excellent parallel thought from the Old Testament "Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going." (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
How does a believer walk wisely and not walk foolishly? Paul says one way is by making the most of your time. In other words the first sign that a person is wise is that he is sensitive to how he uses his time. He makes a disciplined use of his time. (cp Moses' prayer Ps 90:12 - see Spurgeon's notes below) We all understand that time is valuable, for even the lost world says "time is money". We all have the same amount of time, but in this context as explained more fully below, Paul is not speaking so much of time in general but of the opportunities that are placed before us. In the next segment Paul explains that wise people discern the will of God (Ep 5:17).
Redeeming the time calls for a "supernatural (Spirit controlled) sense of urgency", for the time is short for each of us (see Jn 9:4, 12:35, Ro 13:11, 1Co 7:29, 30, 31).
Someone once wrote a wise saying which is so apropos in regard to the opportunities God gives each believer...
Making the most (1805) (exagorazo from ek = out or from -- If something is in something else, then ek describes separating it in respect to place, time, source or origin + agorázo = buy, acquire possessions or services in exchange for money with the result that whatever has been bought is the buyer's by right of possession <> from agora = market place where things were exposed for sale, a forum, a place in which the people assemble and where public trials were held) means literally to buy out of (ek = out of) the market place. It means to completely redeem. Click for word study on exagorazo. Believers are to take advantage of every spiritual opportunity because we know that the night is coming when no one can work. There is an open window in time for the gospel. We must seize the moment!
Exagorazo - 4v in NT - Gal. 3:13; 4:5; Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5, translated (NAS) as making the most(2), redeem(1), redeemed(1).
Eadie writes that "The “unwise” allow the propitious moment to pass, and it cannot be recalled. They may eulogize it, but they have missed it. The “wise,” on the other hand, who walk correctly, recognize it, appreciate it, take hold of it, make it at whatever sacrifice their own, and thriftily turn it to the best advantage. They redeem it (Ephesians 5 Commentary)
Pastor Ray Pritchard writes that exagorazo "is a word from the market place. You go down to your supermarket and look for bargains because you know they will not last long; they are passing, changing. Therefore, make the most of them and buy them up. This is exactly the word he employs here. Buy up the opportunities which are created constantly by the evil days. (Ephesians 5:15-20: Watch How You Walk)
Warren Wiersbe laments " How foolish to stumble along through life and never seek to know the will of the Lord! Instead of walking “accurately” (which is equivalent to “circumspectly”), they miss the mark, miss the road, and end up suffering on some detour. God wants us to be wise and understand His will for our lives. As we obey His will, we “buy up the opportunities” (redeem the time, v. 16) and do not waste time, energy, money, and talent in that which is apart from His will. Lost opportunities may never be regained; they are gone forever. (Wiersbe, W. W. Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
G Campbell Morgan in his book The True Estimate of Life and How to Live has an entire chapter (VII) on Redeeming the Time and he introduces it with a discussion of the origin of the verb making the most of ("buying up") (exagorazo) "“Buying up.” The word so translated comes from another word, which means “the market-place.” (agora) In rural districts the market is often held upon one day of the week, somewhere in the center of the town, sometimes under cover, sometimes in the open; and to that common meeting-place those come who have goods to offer for sale and those who desire to purchase, and there they transact their business. In eastern towns the same habit obtained. The merchantman came to the market-place in the center of the town, bringing his wares with him, there to transact his business; and he watched the market, and waited for a favorable opportunity, either to buy or sell, and when the opportunity presented itself he acted with promptitude. He bought up his opportunity. (Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the Time from True Estimate of Life)
Thomas Brooks has these devotional thoughts on time as it applies to a believer...
Puritan Thomas Watson...
Spurgeon's Devotional on Ecclesiastes 9:10...
James Montgomery Boice, the great Christian pastor and writer, who redeemed the time well until his untimely death at age 61 (June 15, 2000) wrote that there are...
In Ephesians 5:15 and the parallel passage in Colossians 4:5 (note) Paul uses the middle voice which conveys a "reflexive" sense to exagorazo - the idea then is of buying up for oneself, of buying up every opportunity (kairos), turning each opportunity to the best advantage for oneself.
The venerable Pastor Harry Ironside wisely reminds us that "Time is given us to use in view of eternity."
MacArthur writes that exagorazo "has the basic meaning of buying, especially of buying back or buying out. It was used of buying a slave in order to set him free; thus the idea of redemption is implied in this verse. We are to redeem, buy up, all the time that we have and devote it to the Lord. The Greek is in the middle voice, indicating that we are to buy the time up for ourselves—for our own use but in the Lord’s service. (MacArthur, J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
Hodge adds that Ephesians 5:15 can be translated "availing yourselves of the occasion, i.e. improving every opportunity for good. (Hodge, C. Commentary on Ephesians)
The UBS Handbook Series adds that "The readers are being told to seize and use every opportunity to carry on their Christian witness, because these are evil days, In some languages it is necessary to specify what is involved in every opportunity. Accordingly, it may be necessary to translate make good use of every opportunity you have as “every time you can do something good you should” or “you should use every chance to do good. (Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. A Handbook on Paul's letter to the Ephesians. UBS handbook series. New York: United Bible Societies)
The idea then is turning each season (kairos) to the best advantage since none can be recalled if missed. "Every time you can do something good you should."
As someone else has said
Redeem the time! God only knows
The idea is not to make best use of time as such (although that is certainly advisable), which is what we should do in the sense of not wasting it, but of taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.
What are you living for? What are you working for? Beloved the hard working farmer should be the first to receive his share of the "wages" even now [2Ti 2:6-note] and yet even better he is storing up wages in the "bank of heaven" (cp 1Ti 4:8-note, Mt 6:20-note, cp Mt 19:21, 1Ti 6:17, 18, 19, He 10:34-note, He 11:26-note; 1Pe 1:4-note). Are you working for this life or the life to come? Do not lose heart as you labor [Gal 6:9, 10], striving according to His power which mightily works within you [Col 1:28-note, Col 1:29-note; He 13:20, 21-note], for your "payday" awaits eternity and the bema seat [word study] seat of Christ [2Cor 5:10, 1Co 3:11, 12, 13, 14, 15], the Lord of the harvest. Redeem the work days you have [Ep 5:16-note, Ro 13:11-note, Ro 13:12-note] for the days are evil and our life is but a vapor - cp Ps 90:12-note, Jas 1:10, 11-note, Jas 4:14, Ps 102:3-note, Ps 102:11-note, Ps 103:15, 16-note, Ps 144:4-note, Isa 40:6, 7, 1Pe1:24, 25-note, Job 7:6)
MacDonald - Every day brings its opened doors, its vast potential.
H C G Moule...
To usefulness and power
Expositor's Greek Testament sums up the essence of Paul's charge in this section writing that "The sense comes to be this -- the character of wisdom by which their walk was to be distinguished was to show itself in the prompt and discerning zeal with which they made every opportunity their own, and suffered no fitting season for the fulfilment of Christian duty to pass unused." (Nicoll, W Robertson, Editor: Expositors Greek Testament)
John Henry Jowett discusses The Watchful Use of Opportunity based on "Redeeming the time." Eph. 5:16.
The disciple of Christ is to be an expert merchant in the commodity of time. He is to be always engaged in "buying up opportunity." He is to allow no one to be the peer of the Master's servant. His vigilance must never sleep, and he must never be away from the market. Every moment must be bought up for the King, and used in the service of His Kingdom.
And therefore the disciple will be busy buying in seasons both sad and joyful. He will not allow the evil one to buy any of the brighter seasons for his own infernal purpose. Seasons of merriment will be purchased for the Lord; bright moments of wit and humour will be gained for Him. This will never mean that merriment will lose its sparkle; it will really mean that sunlight will be added to common daylight, because the merriment will shine with the very lustre and purity of the love of Christ. All wit will be perfectly clean and therefore translucent, containing nothing which darkens or defiles. Gaiety will become the most intimate friend of sanctity and will be the possession of the Lord.
And the watchful merchant will also buy up the darker seasons for his Lord. He will not allow his moments of disappointment, or sickness, or adversity, to be owned and used by the devil. He will rather claim that the black seasons may be used for the home of Christ, and he will accordingly bring them and offer them to His service. A dark house, with the Lord in it, becomes a temple of ineffable fellowship.
But in all these purchasings everything goes to the early buyer. To be first in the market must be our constant aim. Let us regard every moment as precious treasure, and before the enemy of our souls can lay his hand upon it let us be up and buy it for the Lord. (Life in the Heights)
Adrian Rogers gives 4 principles on how to redeem time...
A. The Prayer Principle - Principle number one is what I want to call the prayer principle. How important that you let prayer be the key that unlocks the door of the morning, that you begin your day with prayer. As the poet said, "Lean your arms upon the windowsill of Heaven, and gaze at the face of God" (paraphrase of Thomas Blake). As you greet the day, begin the day with prayer, spend enough time every day, in the morning, to get God's will for your life. Prayer must be in the morning. You see, it's not a waste of time to wait on God any more than a woodchopper is wasting time when he sharpens his axe. I've said this before from this pulpit, and I honestly believe it. There's enough time in every day to do everything that God wants you to do and to do it gracefully. It's an insult to God to say you don't have enough time. If you don't have enough time, you're doing something God did not intend for you to do—either something that you've imposed upon yourself, or you've allowed others to impose upon you. So, what you must do in prayer every morning—the principle of prayer—is to get quiet before the Lord, and let God speak to your heart.
B. The Priority Principle - Now, after the prayer principle, there comes the priority principle. I mean, after God speaks to you, it's very obvious that you've got some priorities. You see, life would be simple, if life were a choice between good and bad. Very frankly, most of the choices that I have to make are not choices between good and bad—they are choices between good and best. Isn't that true? I mean, I don't have time to read good books for I haven't read the best ones yet. I need to find out what God wants me to do. Most of the time, management books tell you how to do more things. How you can play and work, and how you can read, and how you can do all of those things, are fine; they all have their place. But you see, my dear friend, what you do is far more important than how you do it. I mean, to get your priorities correct. Jesus, who lived only to the age of 33 in His humanity here on earth, said, when He bowed His head, "It is finished" (John 19:30). And, the Lord Jesus said to the Father, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do" (John 17:4). Now, notice it was the work that God gave Him to do. Now, there were many villages wanting Jesus to come and teach, there were many places that wanted Jesus to heal and so forth, but Jesus didn't do everything. Jesus didn't go everywhere. Sometimes, when the crowds were clamoring after Jesus, He just got alone. But, He could say, at the end of His ministry, "I have finished the work thou gavest me to do" (John 17:4). You go to our bookstore, some bookstore, and buy the little book by Charles Hummel, called The Tyranny of the Urgent. It's a great little book: The Tyranny of the Urgent. Do you know what our problems are, dear friend? We're constantly having a battle between the important and the urgent. Now, what is more important—the plumbing in your house, or your quiet time with God? "Well," you say, "my quiet time with God." What's more urgent—your quiet time or your toilet that's overflowing? You say, "That's more urgent; I've got to get that fixed." Your wife calls you and says, "Adrian, no matter what you're doing, you go in there and you've got...—I mean, the thing is overflowing." Now that, my dear friend, is something that is urgent. And, it is the urgent so many times that keeps us from the important. Isn't that true? I mean, in all of life, we have these things, that somebody calls, and you've just got to do this, you've just got to do that. It takes such incredible willpower, such an incredible prioritizing of priorities, to see the difference between the urgent and the important. Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important things.
C. The Promptness Principle - Third principle—not only the prayer principle, not only the priority principle, but there is the promptness principle. Boy, am I speaking to me at this time! This deals with the sin of procrastination. The Bible says, in James 4:17, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). Sin is not just merely doing wrong; it is failing to do what you ought to do. Did you know that procrastination and disobedience are different shades of the same sin? Procrastination and disobedience are different kinds of the same sin. In my life, what I want to do is to cultivate the habit of instant obedience. Now, where most of us fail, it is in this area of willpower. Isn't that correct? I heard a good definition of willpower—I copied it down, and I want you to listen to it: "When you have a job to do, begin this very hour. You supply the will, God supplies the power." Isn't that great? "When you have a job to do, begin this very hour; you supply the will, God supplies the power." And, my friend, that is willpower. When there is something you know you ought to do it, and do it now.
D. The Power Principle - There's the promptness principle, and, last of all, there's the power principle—there's the power principle. Most of us think, "Oh boy, I'd just have it made, if I did exactly what God wants me to do." I've already talked to you about this willpower, which is really God's power. Listen—in verse 16, he says, "Redeem the time" (Ephesians 5:16)—that's the promptness principle. In verse 17, he says, "Be... not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17)—that's the prayer principle. Look in verse 18: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18)—that's the power principle. You see—the power principle is to do God's will in the power of the Holy Spirit. Most of us don't need to learn to work harder—we need to work with more power. We need to learn to work with more effectiveness.
Warren Wiersbe - How long will the rest of our lives be? We don't know; nobody knows. We may have many years, or we may have many days. We could be called home to glory before the day ends. We don't know. "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Heb. 9:27-note). It is an appointment, not an accident, and God knows when it is going to be. When you are redeemed, you are set free from bondage to the old life. This is why Ephesians 5:16 tells us to redeem the time. Don't live the rest of your life the way you used to live. You have been set free from that. "The old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Cor. 5:17-note). Therefore, redeem the time, buy up the opportunity, make the most of the rest of your life. I would like to apply that, if I may. Perhaps you are born again, but you are following the traditions of other people. You are doing what everybody else does. Why don't you ask God what He wants you to do with the rest of your life? Perhaps you are in the wrong school, and you ought to be in another school training to serve God. Perhaps you are pursuing the wrong career. Perhaps you are a successful businessman, but God is calling you into His service. You could use your experience and your gifts to glorify God in full-time Christian service.
We are redeemed from bondage to sin; we are redeemed from bondage to the old life. We should live wholly for God. (Key Words of the Christian Life)
Say to yourself each morning-” My soul, thou hast to-day a God to glorify, a Christ to imitate, a soul to save, a body to keep under (control), time to redeem, temptation to overcome--verily, I must be about my Father’s business (cf Jn 9:4).” (Dean Goulburn.)
The years, freighted with golden possibilities, have been buried one by one in the bosom of an eternity which never gives up its dead. (Duckworth)
Be not afraid, oh, duty-neglecting Christian, to rise up with a fixed resolve and retrace your steps and say : "I will redeem the time. I will renew my vows with Jesus." (George Truett - A Quest for Souls)
Ps 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy doings; I muse on the work of Thy hands. - The consideration of the past will stimulate us to redeem the time.
1. The whole life of man is short.
2. How much shorter has it become to us!
3. Had it been spent aright, its increased shortness would not be a matter of regret.
4. But only look back! (James Stewart)
Verses 15-21. Another remedy against sin, is care, or caution, it being impossible else to maintain purity of heart and life. Time is a talent given us by God, and it is misspent and lost when not employed according to his design. If we have lost our time heretofore, we must double our diligence for the future. Of that time which thousands on a dying bed would gladly redeem at the price of the whole world, how little do men think, and to what trifles they daily sacrifice it! People are very apt to complain of bad times; it were well if that stirred them more to redeem time. Be not unwise. Ignorance of our duty, and neglect of our souls, show the greatest folly. Drunkenness is a sin that never goes alone, but carries men into other evils; it is a sin very provoking to God. The drunkard holds out to his family and to the world the sad spectacle of a sinner hardened beyond what is common, and hastening to perdition. When afflicted or weary, let us not seek to raise our spirits by strong drink, which is hateful and hurtful, and only ends in making sorrows more felt. But by fervent prayer let us seek to be filled with the Spirit, and to avoid whatever may grieve our gracious Comforter. All God's people have reason to sing for joy. Though we are not always singing, we should be always giving thanks; we should never want disposition for this duty, as we never want matter for it, through the whole course of our lives. Always, even in trials and afflictions, and for all things; being satisfied of their loving intent, and good tendency. God keeps believers from sinning against him, and engages them to submit one to another in all he has commanded, to promote his glory, and to fulfil their duties to each other.
Many Christian acts I do on earth I will also din in heaven. I pray. I will pray in heaven. I sing. I will sing in heaven. I serve God. I will serve God in heaven. There's one thing I won't be able to do in heaven: bring the lost to Jesus. It will be too late. My heart must be set aflame for the lost now. We must all be about our Father's business. The other truth that should drive us out of our easy chairs is that Jesus is coming again. Christians in the West spend a lot of time debating the theological ramifications of His coming. In the Eastern Europe, they live in anticipation of it. We need to learn to long for the coming of Jesus. Anticipate His coming, not by debate but by practice. We need to be on the streets, in the workplace, and throughout the neighborhoods calling people to Jesus. We need to live as though Jesus would come today. Some may argue that Paul and the early Christians anticipated the coming of Christ, and He didn't come in their generation. Yet Paul and other early Christians shook the Roman Empire for the glory of God. Perhaps if we anticipated the imminent return of Christ, we would shake Western civilization for His glory! Awake, Christian! Life is short! Christ is coming! Redeem the time! -Sammy Tippit in Fire in Your Heart
May not life be filled fuller of blessings, if only we know how to redeem the time, and appreciate the opportunity to perceive the God that is near us? (H. W. Beecher.)
If any day passes without embracing some opportunity for learning new truth, or doing some fresh good, he should feel with that Roman Emperor who said, “I have lost a day.” (J. G. Angley, M. A.)
Steven Cole - Our text tells us how to walk wisely, so that we make the precious years that God allots to us count for His purpose and glory. There is a paradox in that God is the sovereign over time. He has a divine will (Eph 5:17) and He “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). And yet at the same time, He allots time to us to use responsibly to bring about His sovereign will. We must walk carefully and redeem the time that He gives us (Eph 5:15-16). To make your life count for eternity, you must give careful thought to how you spend your time.
What are you doing with your time? J. R. Miller comments on "Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise--making the most of the time" Ephesians 5:15-16
Our days, as God gives them to us--are like beautiful summer fields.
The hours are like trees with their rich fruit, or vines with their blossoms of purple clusters.
The minutes are like blooming flowers, or stalks of wheat with their golden grains.
Oh the endless, blessed possibilities of our days and hours and minutes--as they come to us from God's hands!
But what did you do with yesterday? How does the little acre of that one day look to you now?
What are you doing with your time? Every moment God gives you, has in it a possibility of beauty or usefulness--as well as something to be accounted for.
Are you using your time for God?
"Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life!" Psalm 39:4NIV (cf Ps 90:12)
An ancient Greek statue depicted a man with wings on his feet, a large lock of hair on the front of his head, and no hair at all on the back. Beneath was the inscription:
“Who made thee? Lysippus made me.
What is thy name? My name is Opportunity.
Why hast thou wings on thy feet? That I may fly away swiftly.
Why hast thou a great forelock? That men may seize me when I come.
Why art thou bald in back? That when I am gone by, none can lay hold of me.”
Buying Time -- Consider this: “If we had to buy time, would there be any difference in how we would spend it? Would the days of our lives be used more wisely?” That’s what time management consultant Antonio Herrera asked the participants in a seminar he conducted on the subject. Then Dr. Herrera became more specific. He asked, “What if you had to pay in advance $100 an hour for the time allotted to you? Would you waste it?” The answer should be obvious. Of course, we can’t put a price tag on the minutes and hours we possess. They are given to us freely. But that doesn’t excuse us from using them conscientiously, carefully, and wisely. The giver of time is God Himself, and that places a far greater value upon it than any monetary figure could suggest. We must therefore use our time intelligently, taking advantage of opportunities it provides for us to serve the Lord and to do His will.
Only one life
So teach us to number our days,
Life is too short for us to do everything we want to do; but it is long enough for us to do everything God wants us to do. - Anon.
Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God; in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act. - Richard Baxter
Time should not be spent, it should be invested in the kingdom of God. -John Blanchard
Time is not yours to dispose of as you please; it is a glorious talent that men must be accountable for as well as any other talent. - Thomas Brooks
There is nothing puts a more serious frame into a man's spirit than to know the worth of his time. -Thomas Brooks
We are to redeem the time because we ourselves are redeemed.-Richard Chester
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life to save. -Will Rogers
TIME: Three most difficult things to do are: keep a secret, forget injury, and make good use of your leisure time (it's really not yours anyway but His...He's just "loaning" it to you.)
God set a goal, yet gave the choice
Solomon wisely exhorted his readers "Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going. (Eccl 9:10)
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Time (2540) (kairos [word study]) means a point of time or period of time, time, period, frequently with the implication of being especially fit for something and without emphasis on precise chronology. It means a moment or period as especially appropriate the right, proper, favorable time (at the right time). Kairos speaks of a limited period of time, with the added notion of suitableness ("the suitable time", "the right moment", "the convenient time"). Kairos refers to a distinct, fixed time period, rather than occasional moments.
Kairos - 80x in NT - Matt. 8:29; 11:25; 12:1; 13:30; 14:1; 16:3; 21:34, 41; 24:45; 26:18; Mk. 1:15; 10:30; 11:13; 12:2; 13:33; Lk. 1:20; 4:13; 8:13; 12:42, 56; 13:1; 18:30; 19:44; 20:10; 21:8, 24, 36; Jn. 7:6, 8; Acts 1:7; 3:20; 7:20; 12:1; 13:11; 14:17; 17:26; 19:23; 24:25; Rom. 3:26; 5:6; 8:18; 9:9; 11:5; 13:11; 1 Co. 4:5; 7:5, 29; 2 Co. 6:2; 8:14; Gal. 4:10; 6:9f; Eph. 1:10; 2:12; 5:16; 6:18; Col. 4:5; 1Th 2:17; 5:1; 2Th. 2:6; 1 Tim. 2:6; 4:1; 6:15; 2 Tim. 3:1; 4:3, 6; Titus 1:3; Heb. 9:9f; 11:11, 15; 1Pe 1:5, 11; 4:17; 5:6; Rev. 1:3; 11:18; 12:12, 14; 22:10.
NAS renders kairos as - age(1), epochs(2), for a while(1), occasion(1), opportune time(1), opportunity(3), proper time(5), right time(1), season(1), seasons(4), short*(m)(1), time(55), times(10).
Richards explains that...
In a sense kairos alludes to the brevity of life, which begs one to pause and ponder his or her life like flowering grass, here today, gone tomorrow and in light of this truth to take a sincere, possibly sobering inventory of our daily activities of thought, word and deed!
Kairos is not so much a succession of minutes (Greek chronos 5550), but a period of opportunity. Chronos refers to chronological time, to clock time or calendar time, to a general space or succession of time. Kairos, on the other hand, refers to a specific and often predetermined period or moment of time and so views time in terms of events, eras, or seasons. In other words, kairos defines the best time to do something, the moment when circumstances are most suitable, the psychologically "ripe" moment.
In rhetoric kairos is "a passing instant when an opening appears which must be driven through with force if success is to be achieved." (E. C. White, Kaironomia p. 13)
Kairos is a season, an opportune time, an opportunity ("window of opportunity"). It is a fixed and definite time. It is a period possessed of certain characteristics. For example, a "season" is a time characterized by a particular circumstance or feature. Thus the time for bringing forth fruit [karpophoros - see study of karpophoreo] is the season (kairos) in which the tree bears fruit, in contrast to late autumn, when there is no more fruit.
Kairos does not emphasize a point of time but rather a time space filled with all kinds of possibilities. And so Kairos characteristically means an "opportunity" (and is so translated in some versions -- in in the NIV and NASB) which represents the best time to do something, the moment when circumstances are most suitable.
From the Moody Bible Institute's "Today in the Word" we read that the idea of kairos...
Paul uses kairos in a manner similar to his use her in Ephesians in the following examples...
In Romans Paul uses kairos exhorting the saints that there is an urgency in regard to the instructions he has just given writing...
MacArthur writes that kairos "denotes a measured, allocated, fixed season or epoch. The idea of a fixed period is also seen in the use of the definite article in the Greek text, which refers to the time, a concept often found in Scripture (cf. Ex. 9:5; 1Pe 1:17-note). God has set boundaries to our lives, and our opportunity for service exists only within those boundaries. It is significant that the Bible speaks of such times being shortened, but never of their being lengthened. A person may die or lose an opportunity before the end of God’s time, but he has no reason to expect his life or his opportunity to continue after the end of his predetermined time. Having sovereignly bounded our lives with eternity, God knows both the beginning and end of our time on earth. As believers we can achieve our potential in His service only as we maximize the time He has given us. (MacArthur, J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
Webster defines "opportunity" as a favorable juncture of circumstances or a good chance for advancement or progress. Study the following verses and see if you can discern the "window of opportunity" aspect in each verse to help give you a "feel" for the meaning of Kairos (Mt 13:30, 21:34, Mark11:13,13:33, Lk 4:13,19:44, Lk 21:24, Acts 1:7, 17:26, 2Co 6:2, Gal 6:9, Eph 2:12, 2Th 2:6, Rev 1:3). There is no good English equivalent to kairos, and when it it plural with chronos it is translated “seasons,” or times at which certain foreordained events take place.
Redeem the time because...
G. T. Dunney says we should redeem the time "With an eye to God’s judgment day employing it (2Co 5:10-note), rescuing each opportunity from the chains of sloth, ease, and listlessness."
Warren Wiersbe in his discussion of redemption asks an important question...
Wayne Barber gives us some practical advice on how we can redeem the time writing...
The idea is not to make best use of time as such, which is what we should do in the sense of not wasting it, but of taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. One who lives life carelessly and without forethought would be walking foolishly. One who doesn’t use his time wisely obviously would be unwise. Finally, one who isn’t following God’s will would be most foolish.
Adoniram Judson alluded to making the most of your opportunities when he wrote that...
Many years ago when the great missionary Adoniram Judson was home on furlough, he passed through the city of Stonington, Connecticut. A young boy playing about the wharves at the time of Judson’s arrival was struck by the man’s appearance. Never before had he seen such a light on any human face. He ran up the street to a minister to ask if he knew who the stranger was. The minister hurried back with him, but became so absorbed in conversation with Judson that he forgot all about the impatient youngster standing near him. Many years afterward that boy—who could never get away from the influence of that wonderful face—became the famous preacher Henry Clay Trumbull. In a book of memoirs he penned a chapter entitled: "What a Boy Saw in the Face of Adoniram Judson." That lighted countenance had changed his life. Even as flowers thrive when they bend to the light, so shining, radiant faces come to those who constantly turn toward Christ! Over 3000 years ago Moses prayed a prayer (see Ps 90:12 in next note below) that is reflected in the life of Adoniram Judson and might well be an appropriate prayer of every saint who loves "His (Christ's) appearing" (see note 2 Timothy 4:8) (Spurgeon's devotional)...
This is Coram Deo living before the face of God, Carpe Diem seizing the day, because Tempus Fugit, time flies and so our daily prayer should be
The time is short!
The great sixteenth-century reformer Philip Melanchthon kept a record of every wasted moment and took his list to God in confession at the end of each day. It is small wonder that God used him in such great ways.
Time: A creation of God which marks the duration of life and which is measured by changes in the created order. The flow of time is directed by God who appoints particular “times” within his unfolding purposes. Because human life is brief, time should be used properly, making the most of every opportunity. (Manser, Martin H., Dictionary of Bible Themes)
Christianity gives real value to life for it "is a life that impels the seizure of every opportunity for good-doing. “Redeeming the time “--buying up the opportunities. Opportunity is the flower of time which blooms for a moment and is gone for ever." (G Barlow)
WATCH FOR OPPORTUNITIES “Redeeming the time.” Chances must be sought for putting in the right word, and when God sends it we must make the most of it. We must go on the principle of now or never. This will make us eager to embrace opportunities; and in turn we must urge the undecided to embrace Christ at once. Every act of kindness to the unconverted will help us. (T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)
John Broadus said "Opportunity is like a fleet horse that pauses for a moment at one's side. If you fail to mount him in that moment, you can hear the clatter of his hoofs down the corridors of time. That opportunity is gone forever."
P. Grant on The merchandise of time
L. O. Thompson - The right use of time
If this year is to be more valuable than the last, we must more carefully attend to the use of our time.
Puritan divine Thomas Watson preached a sermon on 1Cor 7:29 ("the time is short") from which the following excerpt is taken (take a moment and read his entire exhortation!)...
Handley C. G. Moule comments that...
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Redeeming the Time - A Tragic Illustration - We missed him. Our chance to change things came and passed and we did not know it was there. A dark-skinned little boy sat through Sunday School classes for three years at a great Baptist Church (First Church, San Antonio) but someone missed him. His name was Sirhan Sirhan, and at age 24 he shot and killed Senator Robert Kennedy. In a welter of words and the shudder of grief throughout our nation, the persistent thought keeps recurring—someone missed him. (Dr. Jimmy Allen, former pastor of First Baptist Church, San Antonio, Texas in Pulpit Helps, May, 1991, from 10000 Sermon Illustrations. Dallas: Biblical Studies Press)
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William MacDonald: “Redeeming the time.” (Eph. 5:16)
In a day when men of the world are becoming increasingly allergic to work, Christians must make the most of every passing moment. It is a sin to waste time.
Voices from every age testify to the importance of diligent labor. The Savior Himself said, “I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).
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Thomas a Kempis wrote,
When asked the secret of his success as an interpreter of the Word, G. Campbell Morgan said,
“Work—hard work—and again, work!”
We should never forget that when the Lord Jesus came into the world, He served as a carpenter. The greater part of His life was spent in the shop in Nazareth.
Paul was a tentmaker. He considered it an important part of his ministry.
It is a mistake to think that work is a result of the entrance of sin. Before sin entered, Adam was placed in the garden to dress it and to keep it (Gen. 2:15). The curse involved the toil and sweat that accompany work (Gen. 3:19). Even in heaven there will be work, for “his servants shall serve him” (Rev. 22:3).
Work is a blessing. Through it we find fulfillment of our need for creativity. The mind and body function best when we work diligently. When we are usefully occupied, we enjoy greater protection from sin, because “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do” (Isaac Watts).
Thomas Watson said, “Idleness tempts the devil to tempt.”
Honest, diligent, faithful work is a vital part of our Christian testimony. And the results of our labor may outlive us.
As someone has said, “Everyone owes it to himself to provide himself with some useful occupation while his body is lying in the grave.”
And William James said, “The great use of a life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” (Truths to Live By-Daily Devotional)
Our efforts in life must be seasonable. There is a religious forethought. He who neglects to gather in summer neglects the bounties of the Lord as well as neglects his own future necessities. The man who sleeps in harvest is pronounced a fool, because he lets his opportunity slip. The historian writes concerning Hannibal that when he could have taken Rome he would not, and when he would he could not. We are to be men of opportunity--that is to say, we are to buy up the opportunity, to redeem the time. When God opens a gate He means that we should go through it, and pass into all the inheritance beyond. There was a king of Sicily who was called “The Lingerer,” not because he stayed till opportunity came, but because he stayed till opportunity was lost. There is a time to wait and a time to act. Overlong waiting means loss of chance, for the king has passed by, and the gates are closed; but to wait patiently until everything is ripe for action is the very last expression of Christian culture. (J. Parker, D.D.)
TIME IS PRECIOUS.
Life Application Commentary writes that...
Harry Ironside writes that...
From Essex Congregational Remembrancer...On redeeming the time: —
1. We must redeem time by sincerely repenting of sin and devoting ourselves immediately to the great business of life.
2. We must redeem time by considering the various ways in which we have wasted it, and avoiding them for the future.
3. We must redeem time by forming a wise and judicious plan for the regulation of our conduct, and firmly and conscientiously adhering to it. The immortal Alfred, one of the best of kings that ever filled the British throne, divided his time into three portions, allotting eight hours to sleep, recreation, and meals, eight to public business, and eight to private study and devotion; and by constantly adhering to his plan, he accomplished the works and acquired the wisdom which have excited the admiration of posterity. Dr. Doddridge adopted nearly the same plan, and by that means he was enabled to educate so many young men, to preach so frequently, and to leave the world those various writings which have enlightened the minds and aided the devotion of multitudes. Colonel Gardiner always set apart two hours in the morning for devotion, and if his troops had to march at six o’clock he rose at four to commune with God, and like his Divine Master prepare for arduous duties by fervent prayer.
4. We must redeem time by forming habits of activity and diligence. It requires great labour to improve time as it comes — what then must it require to redeem it? Should a husbandman or mechanic have lost any time in his work, he redeems it by extra exertion; in like manner should we redeem the time which we ought to have spent in serving God and preparing for eternity.
1. The merciful purpose for which time is granted, and the greatness of the work which we have to perform.
2. Because the period in which we can redeem time is not only very uncertain, but may be extremely short. The goldsmith gathers up every particle of gold. The very least which he can discern he deems too valuable to be lost. Can you, then, willingly suffer the loss of your precious moments, when worlds on worlds cannot buy one of them back again? Many who are now on the bed of death or passing into eternity, would part most gladly with all the wealth they have amassed, and all the fame they have acquired, for another year, or another month. While time lingers for you, improve it. Conscientiously set apart its hours as they come to the highest purposes.
3. We should redeem time because of the eternal consequences which will result from the use we make of it. As our time is given us by God, He will call us to account for the way in which we have spent it. Every day therefore brings with it an awful responsibility. (Essex Congregational Remembrancer.)
TIME IS SIGNIFICANT because it is so rare. It is completely irretrievable. You can never repeat it or relive it. There is no such thing as a literal instant replay. That appears only on film. It travels alongside us every day, yet it has eternity wrapped up in it. Although this is true, time often seems relative, doesn’t it? For example, two weeks on a vacation is not at all like two weeks on a diet. Also, some people can stay longer in an hour than others can in a week! Ben Franklin said of time, “ … that is the stuff life is made of.” Time forms life’s building blocks. The philosopher William James once said, “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” —Lloyd Cory, Quote Unquote
Opportunity may only knock once, but temptation leans on the door bell!
Swindoll - I’D LIKE TO PLAY DEVIL’S ADVOCATE and tell you how to waste your time. Five proven ideas come immediately to mind: First, worry a lot. Start worrying early in the morning and intensify your anxiety as the day passes. Second, make hard-and-fast predictions. For example, one month before his July 1975 disappearance, Jimmy Hoffa announced: “I don’t need bodyguards.” Third, fix your attention on getting rich. You’ll get a lot of innovative ideas from the secular bookshelves (I counted fourteen books on the subject last time I was in a bookstore), plus you’ll fit right in with most of the hype pouring out of entrepreneurial seminars and high-pressure sales meetings. Fourth, compare yourself with others. Now, here’s another real time-waster. If it’s physical fitness you’re into, comparing yourself with Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jane Fonda ought to keep you busy. Fifth, lengthen your list of enemies. If there’s one thing above all others that will keep your wheels spinning, it’s perfecting your skill at the Blame Game. Put these five surefire suggestions in motion and you will set new records in wasting valuable time.
OUR GOAL, then, is not to find more time but to use time more wisely. Make an honest appraisal of your week. If there are leaks in your time dike, why not plug them? If your priorities should be sifted more clearly from the trivia, that would be to your advantage. If a simple plan would help to organize your day, that’s only playing it smart. If you should give a kind but unqualified, unexplained “No” more often, do it. It’s easy to forget that time is our slave, not our sovereign, isn’t it?
John Phillips - Suppose that a wealthy man were to give someone $1440 a day to spend. He had to spend it. The gift did not allow him to save it, still less to hoard it. At the end of each day what was not spent was lost. The same sum would arrive every day until the end of life. Then an accounting would be made of what the recipient had done with the sum. There it was $1440 a day to spend or squander, to be used buying things for oneself or in helping others, to be wasted on trifles or invested for eternity. Every day God gives us 1440 minutes to be spent by us and us alone. We have to spend it. We cannot save up some of today's time for tomorrow. We have none of yesterday's time left over for today. All of these precious minutes are ours. However, when life is over, there will be a strict accounting of what we have done with that time. We, as Christians, will give our accounting at the judgment seat of Christ. The unsaved will render account at the Great White Throne. But an accounting will be made. "Make the best possible use of your time," Paul says. Paul might have wasted his time moping over the restrictions placed upon his liberty. Not him! He invested that time in writing immortal books, in praying for the furtherance of the gospel, in talking to those who came or were sent to him about the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, in meditating upon the Scriptures long since committed to memory, and in preparing himself for new missionary journeys should he be released or to meet the Lord in Glory should Nero order his execution. (Exploring Colossians)
Tim Schoap - "Making the most of the opportunity." exagorazo kairos, Lit. "redeem the time," buy it up. Picture a garage sale shopper, making every Saturday morning minute count. Time is short for this fallen world. We must redeem time, and every opportunity God has given us by using it in the most effective way possible. Think of Jesus' parables of hidden treasure, the pearl of great price in Mt. 13:44-46, where the characters give up all for that treasure of the kingdom. This is the same idea. You can never have the last 5 minutes back, so evaluate your activity. How does it contribute? Each opportunity with outsiders is to be bought, and treated as precious.
Mark Dever - What situations are you in right now that you won’t always be in? How are you using those situations in obedience to God? Trust the Lord to use you in those situations instead of always seeking for new situations. Trust the Lord to use you in this moment, instead of waiting until the next one, since you don’t even know if the next one will come. Don’t let the passing permanence of great buildings and established institutions, or the lulling tedium of long hours and minutes, make a fool of you! “The days are evil,” says Paul in Ephesians 5:16 , meaning that they are dangerous, they are a fleeting opportunity, and so we must redeem the time, we must make the most of every opportunity. So we say with Paul that, in view of certain judgment, Christ’s love compels us to proclaim the Good News (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10-14). (Nine Marks of a Healthy Church)
The lights which God hath set in the firmament ENABLE US TO REDEEM THE TIME; to retrieve the misspent past by the right improvement of the present. Each day is a miniature of the whole of life and of all the seasons of the year. Morning answers to spring; midday to summer; afternoon to autumn; evening to winter. We are children in the morning, with fresh feelings and hopes; grown-up men and women, with sober and sad experiences, at noon; aged persons, with whom the possibilities of life are over, in the afternoon and night. - H. Macmillan, D. D.
BECAUSE THE DAYS ARE EVIL: hoti ai hemerai ponerai eisin. (3PPAI): (Eph 6:13,15; Ps 37:19; Eccl 11:2; 12:1; Amos 5:13; John 12:35; Acts 11:28,29; 1Corinthians 7:26,29, 30, 31)
Eph 6:13 Therefore, take up (aorist imperative) the full armor of God, (Why is this so critical?) that you may be able (have the supernatural power) to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
What should be a powerful motivator to believers to buy up the time? As Paul explains, the day are evil. referring to moral evil (especially to the moral evil he has described earlier in Ephesians 5). The fact that the times in which they lived were morally so corrupt was a strong reason for making every opportunity for good their own. Are you buying up the opportunities for spiritual good which the Lord is graciously giving you?
Because (hoti) is a conjunction which in this context serves as a term of explanation, explaining why we should walk carefully and why we should be continually redeeming the opportunities God places in our path! The fact that there is active evil opposing that which is good, lends a sense of urgency to redeem the time. And the fact that there is active evil (see meaning below of poneros) opposing good, means we must not try to accomplish this redemption of time by depending only on our good intentions and our type triple A compulsive personality, but by seeking spiritual sustenance from His Word and spiritual power from His Spirit!
Days (2250) (hemera) is used figuratively of the times in which we live. They are characterized by a propensity to active evil.
Are evil - The verb is in the present tense. Not some days are good and some are evil, but the days in which Paul (and we) lived were continually evil. This reminds us of God's assessment of men in Genesis 6 before He flooded the earth, Moses recording that Jehovah "saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Ge 6:5-6)
Pastor Ray Stedman writes that "These are evil days, not only because of the widespread fears and tension and violence, but also because of the materialism that creates such hollowness and emptiness within. But what is the result? It is the evil days that make people want to know the truth about God. It is the evil days that give us opportunity to demonstrate Christian life. Therefore, buy up the opportunities. Understand, as you look at life, that this is the way life is. (Ephesians 5:15-20: Watch How You Walk)
Evil (4190)(poneros from pónos = labor, sorrow, pain) is "active evil" or evil in active opposition to good. The days are pernicious. Poneros describes that which is actively harmful, hurtful, evil in effect or influence. From the root (pónos) we see the sense of that which is full of or oppressed by labors.
Poneros -78xin the NT - Matt. 5:11, 37, 39, 45; 6:13, 23; 7:11, 17f; 9:4; 12:34f, 39, 45; 13:19, 38, 49; 15:19; 16:4; 18:32; 20:15; 22:10; 25:26; Mk. 7:22f; Lk. 3:19; 6:22, 35, 45; 7:21; 8:2; 11:13, 26, 29, 34; 19:22; Jn. 3:19; 7:7; 17:15; Acts 17:5; 18:14; 19:12f, 15f; 25:18; 28:21; Rom. 12:9; 1 Co. 5:13; Gal. 1:4; Eph. 5:16; 6:13, 16; Col. 1:21; 1 Thess. 5:22; 2 Thess. 3:2f; 1 Tim. 6:4; 2 Tim. 3:13; 4:18; Heb. 3:12; 10:22; James. 2:4; 4:16; 1 Jn. 2:13f; 3:12; 5:18f; 2 Jn. 1:11; 3 Jn. 1:10; Rev. 16:2
John Eadie writes that "The apostle...does not adduce the fewness of the days to inculcate in general the diligent use of time, but he insists on the evil of the days for the purpose of urging Christians to seize on every opportunity to counteract that evil... furnishes a strong argument. Their days were evil. All days have indeed been evil, for sin abounds in the world. But the days of that period were characterized by many enormities, and the refining power of Christianity was only partially and unequally felt. If these days so evil afforded any opportunities of doing good, it was all the more incumbent on Christians to win them and seize them. The very abundance of the evil was a powerful argument to redeem the time, and the apostle writing that letter in a prison was a living example of his own counsel...The Greek fathers are careful to remark that the apostle calls the days evil, not in themselves...as they are creatures (creations) of God; but on account of the events with which they are connected. (Ephesians 5 Commentary)
WE LIVE IN EVIL DAYS - You may recall that Alice in Wonderland said to the Cheshire Cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I should go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat. “I don’t much care where,” said Alice. “Then, it doesn’t matter which way you go,” the cat replied. We don’t live in a wonderland. We live in a hostile world with stern limitations. We cannot go just anywhere we want to go. The past is a closed door, and the future depends on what we do today and what it does to us. Time marches on!
Vance Havner says that this evil day is one of
Anarchy in the world
Apostasy in the church
Apathy in the individual believer
MacDonald offers an insightful explanation of "evil days" writing that "What lends special urgency to this matter is the evil character of the days in which we live. They remind us God will not always strive with man, the day of grace will soon close, the opportunities for worship, witness, and service on earth will soon be forever ended. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
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Spurgeon on "time" in Ps 90:12-note- So teach us to number our days. Instruct us to set store by time, mourning for that time past wherein we have wrought the will of the flesh, using diligently the time present, which is the accepted hour and the day of salvation, and reckoning the time which lieth in the future to be too uncertain to allow us safely to delay any gracious work or prayer. Numeration is a child's exercise in arithmetic, but in order to number their days aright the best of men need the Lord's teaching. We are more anxious to count the stars than our days, and yet the latter is by far more practical.
That we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Men are led by reflections upon the brevity of time to give their earnest attention to eternal things; they become humble as they look into the grave which is so soon to be their bed, their passions cool in the presence of mortality, and they yield themselves up to the dictates of unerring wisdom; but this is only the case when the Lord himself is the teacher; he alone can teach to real and lasting profit. Thus Moses prayed that the dispensations of justice might be sanctified in mercy. "The law is our school master to bring us to Christ", when the Lord himself speaks by the law. It is most meet that the heart which will so soon cease to beat should while it moves be regulated by wisdom's hand. A short life should be wisely spent. We have not enough time at our disposal to justify us in misspending a single quarter of an hour. Neither are we sure of enough life to justify us in procrastinating for a moment. If we were wise in heart we should see this, but mere head wisdom will not guide us aright.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Ps 90:12. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Moses who was learned in all the sciences of the Egyptians (among which arithmetic was one) desireth to learn this point of arithmetic only of thee, O Lord; and why? Is it because, as Job speaketh, thou hast determined the number of his days? Would Moses have thee reveal to every man the moment of his end? Such speculations may well beseem an Egyptian, an Israelite they do not beseem. Thy children, O Lord, know that it is not for them so to know times and seasons which thou keepest in thine own power, and are a secret sealed up with thee: we should not pry into that counting house, nor curiously inquire into that sum. It is not then a mathematical numbering of days that Moses would be schooled in, but a moral; he would have God not simply to teach him to number, but to number "so"; and "so" points out a special manner, a manner that may be useful for the children of God. And indeed our petitions must bear this mark of profitable desires, and we should not ask aught of thee but that by which (if we speed) we may become the better; he that so studies his mortality learns it as he should, and it is only thou, O Lord, that takest him out such a lesson. But what is the use, O Moses, that thou wouldst have man make of such a knowledge? "Even to apply his heart unto wisdom." O happy knowledge, by which a man becomes wise; for wisdom is the beauty of a reasonable soul. God created him therewith, but sin hath divorced the soul and wisdom; so that a sinful man is indeed no better than a fool, so the Scripture calleth him; and well it may call him so, seeing all his carriage is vain, and the upshot of his endeavours but vexation of spirit. But though sin have divorced wisdom and the soul, yet are they not so severed but they may be reunited; and nothing is more powerful in furthering this union than this feeling meditation -- that we are mortal. -- Arthur Lake.
Ps 90:12 So teach us, etc. Moses sends you to God for teaching. "Teach Thou us; not as the world teacheth -- teach Thou us." No meaner Master; no inferior school; not Moses himself except as he speaks God's word and becomes the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ; not the prophets, not apostles themselves, neither "holy men of old", except as they "spake and were moved by the Holy Ghost." This knowledge comes not from flesh and blood, but from God. "So teach Thou us." And so David says, "Teach me Thy way, O Lord, and I will walk in Thy truth." And hence our Lord's promise to his disciples, "The Holy Ghost, He shall teach you all things." --Charles Richard Summer, 1850.
Ps 90:12 Teach us to number our days. Mark what it is which Moses here prays for, only to be taught to number his days. But did he not do this already? Was it not his daily work this, his constant and continual employment? Yes, doubtless it was; yea, and he did it carefully and conscientiously too. But yet he thought he did it not well enough, and therefore prays here in the text to be taught to do better. See a good man, how little he pleaseth himself in any action of his life, in any performance of duty that he does. He can never think that he does well enough whatever he does, but still desires to do otherwise, and would fain do better. There is an affection of modesty and humility which still accompanies real piety, and every pious man is an humble, modest man, and never reckons himself a perfect proficient, or to be advanced above a teaching, but is content and covetous to be a continual learner; to know more than he knows and to do better than he does; yea, and thinks it no disparagement to his graces at all to take advice, and to seek instruction where it is to be had. --Edm. Barker's Funeral Sermon for Lady Capell, 1661.
Ps 90:12 Teach us to number our days.
"Improve Time in time, while the Time doth last.
--From Richard Pigot's "Life of Man, symbolised by the Months of the Year", 1866.
Ps 90:12. Teach us to number our days. The proverbial oracles of our parsimonious ancestors have informed us that the fatal waste of fortune is by small expenses, by the profusion of sums too little singly to alarm our caution, and which we never suffer ourselves to consider together. Of the same kind is prodigality of life: he that hopes to look back hereafter with satisfaction upon past years, must learn to know the present value of single minutes, and endeavour to let no particle of time fall useless to the ground. An Italian philosopher expressed in his motto that time was his estate; an estate, indeed, that will produce nothing without cultivation, but will always abundantly repay the labours of industry, and satisfy the most extensive desires, if no part of it be suffered to lie waste by negligence, to be overrun by noxious plants, or laid out for show rather than for use. -- Samuel Johnson.
Ps 90:12. To number our days, is not simply to take the reckoning and a measurement of human life. This has been done already in Holy Scripture, where it is said, "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." Nor yet is it, in the world's phrase, to calculate the chances of survivorship, which any man may do in the instance of the aggregate, but which no man can do in the case of the individual. But it is to take the measure of our days as compared with the work to be performed, with the provision to be laid up for eternity, with the preparation to be made for death, with the precaution to be taken against judgment. It is to estimate human life by the purposes to which it should be applied, by the eternity to which it must conduct, and in which it shall at last be absorbed. Under this aspect it is, that David contemplates man when he says, "Thou hast made our days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee", Psalms 39:5; and then proceeds to include in this comprehensive estimate even those whose days have been the longest upon earth: "Verily, every man at his best estate is altogether vanity." --Thomas Dale, 1847.
Ps 90:12. To number our days. Number we our days by our daily prayers -- number we them by our daily obedience and daily acts of love -- number we them by the memories that they bring of holy men who have entered into their Saviour's peace, and by the hopes which are woven with them of glory and of grace won for us! --Plain Commentary.
Ps 90:12. Apply our hearts unto wisdom. Sir Thomas Smith, secretary to Queen Elizabeth, some months before his death said, That it was a great pity men know not to what end they were born into this world, until they were ready to go out of it. --Charles Bradbury.
Ps 90:12. Apply our hearts unto wisdom. St. Austin says, "We can never do that, except we number every day as our last day." Many put far the evil day. They refuse to leave the earth, when the earth is about to take its leave of them. --William Secker.
Ps 90:12. Apply our hearts unto wisdom. Moses speaketh of wisdom as if it were physic, which doth no good before it be applied; and the part to apply it to is the heart, where all man's affections are to love it and to cherish it, like a kind of hostess. When the heart seeketh it findeth, as though it were brought unto her, like Abraham's ram. Therefore God saith, "They shall seek me and find me, because they shall seek me with their hearts", Jeremiah 29:13; as though they should not find him with all their seeking unless they did seek him with their heart. Therefore the way to get wisdom is to apply your hearts unto it, as if it were your calling and living, to which you were bound apprentices. A man may apply his ears and his eyes as many truants do to their books, and yet never prove scholars; but from that day when a man begins to apply his heart unto wisdom, he learns more in a month after than he did in a year before, nay, than ever he did in his life. Even as you see the wicked, because they apply their hearts to wickedness, how fast they proceed, how easily and how quickly they become perfect swearers, expert drunkards, cunning deceivers, so if ye could apply your hearts as thoroughly to knowledge and goodness, you might become like the apostle which teacheth you. Therefore, when Solomon sheweth men the way how to come by wisdom, he speaks often of the heart, as, "Give thine heart to wisdom", "let wisdom enter into thine heart", "get wisdom", "keep wisdom", "embrace wisdom", Proverbs 2:10, 4:5, 8:8, as though a man went a wooing for wisdom. Wisdom is like God's daughter, that he gives to the man that loves her, and sueth for her, and means to set her at his heart. Thus we have learned how to apply knowledge that it may do us good; not to our ears, like them which hear sermons only, nor to our tongues, like them which make table talk of religion, but to our hearts, that we may say with the virgin, "My heart doth magnify the Lord", Luke 1:46, and the heart will apply it to the ear and to the tongue, as Christ saith, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh", Matthew 12:34. --Henry Smith.
Ps 90:12. -- Of all arithmetical rules this is the hardest -- to number our days. Men can number their herds and droves of oxen and of sheep, they can estimate the revenues of their manors and farms, they can with a little pains number and tell their coins, and yet they are persuaded that their days are infinite and innumerable and therefore do never begin to number them. Who saith not upon the view of another, surely yonder man looketh by his countenance as if he would not live long, or yonder woman is old, her days cannot be many: thus we can number other men's days and years, and utterly forget our own, therefore this is the true wisdom of mortal men, to number their own days. --Thomas Tymme.
Ps 90:12. -- Observe here, after that Moses had given us a description of the wrath of God, presently his thoughts are taken up with the meditation of death. The wrath of God thought on makes us think of death ... Let us often think of the wrath of God, and let the thought of it so far work upon us, as to keep us in a constant awe and fear of God (see notes on phobos); and let this fear drive us to God by prayer, that fearing as we ought, we may pray as we are commanded, and praying, we may prevent the wrath of God. If our present sorrows do not move us, God will send greater; and when our sorrows are grown too great for us, we shall have little heart or comfort to pray. Let our fears then quicken our prayers; and let our prayers be such as are able to overcome our fears; so both ways shall we be happy, in that our fears have taught us to pray, and our prayers have made us to fear no more. -- Christopher Shute, in "Ars pie moriendi: or, The true Accomptant. A Sermon", etc., 1658.
Ps 90:12. It is evident, that the great thing wanted to make men provide for eternity, is the practical persuasion that they have but a short time to live. They will not apply their hearts unto wisdom until they are brought to the numbering of their days. And how are you to be brought, my brethren? The most surprising thing in the text is, that it should be in the form of a prayer. It is necessary that God should interfere to make men number their days. We call this surprising. What! is there not enough to make us feel our frailty, without an actual, supernatural impression? What! are there not lessons enough of that frailty without any new teaching from above? Go into our churchyards -- all ages speak to all ranks. Can we need more to prove to us the uncertainty of life? Go into mourning families, and where are they not to be found? -- in this it is the old, in that it is the young, whom death has removed -- and is there not eloquence in tears to persuade us that we are mortal? Can it be that in treading every day on the dust of our fathers, and meeting every day with funerals of our brethren, we shall not yet be practically taught to number our days, unless God print the truth on our hearts, through some special operation of his Spirit? It is not thus in other things. In other things the frequency of the occurrence makes us expect it. The husbandman does not pray to be made believe that the seed must be buried and die before it will germinate. This has been the course of the grain of every one else, and where there is so much experience what room is there for prayer. The mariner does not pray to be taught that the needle of his compass points towards the north. The needle of every compass has so pointed since the secret was discovered, and he has not to ask when he is already so sure. The benighted man does not pray to be made to feel that the sun will rise in a few hours. Morning has succeeded to night since the world was made, and why should he ask what he knows too welt to doubt? But in none of these things is there greater room for assurance than we have each one for himself, in regard to its being appointed to him once to die. Nevertheless, we must pray to be! made to know -- to be made to feel -- that we are to die, in the face of an experience which is certainly not less than that of the parties to whom we have referred. This is a petition that we may believe, believe as they do: for they act on their belief in the fact which this experience incontestably attests. And we may say of this, that it is amongst the strangest of the strange things that may be affirmed of human nature, that whilst, in regard to inferior concerns, we can carefully avail ourselves of experience, taking care to register its decisions and to deduce from them rules for our guidance -- in the mightiest concern of all we can act as though experience had furnished no evidence, and we were left without matter from which to draw inferences. And, nevertheless, in regard to nothing else is the experience so uniform. The grain does not always germinate -- but every man dies. The needle does not always point due north -- but every man dies. The sun does not cross the horizon in every place in every twenty-four hours -- but every man dies. Yet we must pray -- pray as for the revelation of a mystery hidden from our gaze -- we must pray to be made to know -- to be made to believe -- that every man dies! For I call it not belief, and our text calls it not belief, in the shortness of life and the certainty of death, which allows men to live without thought of eternity, without anxiety as to the soul, or without an effort to secure to themselves salvation. I call it not belief -- no, no, anything rather than belief. Men are rational beings, beings of forethought, disposed to make provision for what they feel to be inevitable; and if there were not a practical infidelity as to their own mortality, they could not be practically reckless as to their own safety. --Henry Melvill.
Ps 90:12. So teach us to number our days, etc. Five things I note in these words: first, that death is the haven of every man; whether he sit on the throne, or keep in a cottage, at last he must knock at death's door, as all his fathers have done before him. Secondly, that man's time is set, and his bounds appointed, which he cannot pass, no more than the Egyptians could pass the sea; and therefore Moses saith, "Teach us to number our days", as though there were a number of our days. Thirdly, that our days are few, as though we were sent into this world but to see it; and therefore Moses, speaking of our life, speaks of days, not of years, nor of months, nor of weeks; but "Teach us to number our days", shewing that it is an easy thing even for a man to number his days, they be so few. Fourthly, the aptness of man to forget death rather than anything else; and therefore Moses prayeth the Lord to teach him to number his days, as though they were still slipping out of his mind. Lastly, that to remember how short a time we have to live, will make us apply our hearts to that which is good. --Henry Smith.
Verse 12. Our hearts. In both the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, the term "heart" is applied alike to the mind that thinks, to the spirit that feels, and the will that acts. And it here stands for the whole mental and moral nature of man, and implies that the whole soul and spirit, with all their might, are to be applied in the service of wisdom. --William Brown Keer, 1863.
Ps 90:12 Wisdom. I consider this "wisdom" identical with the hypostatic wisdom described by Solomon, Proverbs 8:15-31, and Proverbs 9:1,5, even Immanuel, the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption of his people. The chief pursuit of life should be the attainment of an experimental knowledge of Christ, by whom "kings reign and princes decree justice; whose delights are with the sons of men, and who crieth, Whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord; come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine which I have mingled." David in the Psalms, and Solomon, his son, in the Proverbs, have predictively manifested Messiah as the hypostatic wisdom, "whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." -- J. N. Coleman.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS - Ps 90:12.
1. The Reckoning.
2. The use to be made of it.
3. The help to be sought in it. "So teach us", etc.
Ps 90:12. -- The Sense of Mortality. Show the variety of blessings dispensed to different classes by the right use of the sense of mortality.
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MISSED OPPORTUNITY- Our chance to change things came and passed and we did not know it was there. A dark-skinned little boy sat through Sunday School classes for three years at a great Baptist Church (First Church, San Antonio) but someone missed him. His name was Sirhan Sirhan, and at age 24 he shot and killed Senator Robert Kennedy. In a welter of words and the shudder of grief throughout our nation, the persistent thought keeps recurring—someone missed him. (Dr. Jimmy Allen, former pastor of First Baptist Church, San Antonio, Texas in Pulpit Helps, May, 1991, from 10000 Sermon Illustrations. Dallas: Biblical Studies Press)
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The shortness of time
Time’s a hand’s breadth; ‘tis a tale;
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Charles Bridges on the Redemption of time -
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John Piper writes
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Where did we come up with this concept of "spare time," anyway? Is there any time for which we aren't accountable to God? Is there any time during which God doesn't care what you are doing? No Christian has ever had spare time. You may have spare time from labor or necessity, you may stop working and refresh yourself, but no Christian ever had time off from living like a Christian.—William Law
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Mark Dever - As Christians, we have come to realize that history is not cyclical, always repeating itself in an endless rotation of events, but that God will one day bring history to a close in judgment. We know that He has given us this life, and that He will require it back. The time that we have is limited, the amount is uncertain, and how we use it is up to us. So Paul tells the Ephesians to make the most of every opportunity (Eph. 5:16). Like a collector buying up every known specimen of some cherished item, we should desire to capture each fleeting hour and turn it into a trophy for God, using it for Him. We shouldn’t be content with thinking, “I’ll live another couple of years in selfishness and then, when all of my desires are taken care of, I’ll turn and follow Christ.” No, we shouldn’t be content with that! We should know, as Paul knew, that, “The time is short. From now on... those who use the things of the world [should use them] as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away” (1 Cor. 7:29, 31). What situations are you in right now that you won’t always be in? How are you using those situations in obedience to God? Trust the Lord to use you in those situations instead of always seeking for new situations. Trust the Lord to use you in this moment, instead of waiting until the next one, since you don’t even know if the next one will come. Don’t let the passing permanence of great buildings and established institutions, or the lulling tedium of long hours and minutes, make a fool of you! “The days are evil,” says Paul in Ephesians 5:16 , meaning that they are dangerous, they are a fleeting opportunity, and so we must redeem the time, we must make the most of every opportunity. So we say with Paul that, in view of certain judgment, Christ’s love compels us to proclaim the Good News (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10-14).
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Redeeming the Time - Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil.—Ephesians 5:15–16
These days we are bombarded with opportunities that entice us to invest our time and energy. Each day the voices of urgency cry out for every available moment. So many causes promise that time spent on them will reap great rewards; how can we recognize God's voice among so many competing voices?
A fool makes unwise choices with his time. With every new opportunity that comes along, the fool chases off in a different direction, not questioning whether that is the best choice. The loudest voice gains his attention. At some point the fool discovers to his dismay that he has squandered the investment of his time.
The days in which you live are evil. Marriages are under tremendous pressure, families are disintegrating. Multitudes are dying each year without hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Investing your life wisely is critical to you and to those around you. Foolishly spending your time in sinful or wasteful pursuits can cost you and others dearly.
Often, it is not evil pursuits that rob your time. Rather, the temptation is to sacrifice what is best for what is good. The enemy knows that blatantly tempting you with evil will be obvious, so he will lure you with distractions, leaving you no time to carry out God's will. He will tempt you to so fill your schedule with good things that you have no time for God's best. You may inadvertently substitute religious activity for God's will, pursuing your own goals for God's kingdom instead of waiting for His assignment. Time is a precious commodity. Be sure to invest it wisely. (Henry Blackaby - Experiencing God Day by Day)
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Redeeming the Time
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As we contemplate the prospect of death, a new stimulus should be given to duty and action. For it has been well said, “Duty is done with all energy then only when we feel ‘the night cometh when no man can work’ in all its force.” Let me lead your thoughts then for a brief space in this direction. “Redeem the time.” This is the precept, the echo of a past inspiration, which the Holy Spirit of God would still sound in our ears as we look forward to the termination of present life. Spend the life in earnest, and as if the whole future depended upon it. Spend to-day as if there were no certain to-morrow. Be watchful about little things, and especially the brief moments of time. The few pence and the fragments of food have their value. (A. WilIiamson, M. A.)
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Source Unknown - One single year is made up of 31,536,000 seconds. Every tick of the clock records the ever-lessening opportunities of life. Time is in perpetual motion. Like a strong, ever-flowing river, it is bearing away everything into the boundless ocean of eternity. We never know the value of time till we know the value of the fragments into which it is broken up. To make the most of a single hour we must make the most of every minute of which it is composed. The most dangerous moments of a man's life are those when time hangs heavily on his hands. He who has nothing to do but kill time is in danger of being killed himself. It is a miracle of divine goodness if he is preserved from serious folly, or something worse; and such miracles rarely occur. The man who has learnt the value of time can learn any lesson this world may have to teach him. Time is the opportunity for the exercise of Christian wisdom, and should be the more sedulously used when the days are evil ”when evil is in power. Oh for wisdom to number our days (Ps 90:12), to grasp the meaning of present opportunity! Here come the moments that can never be had again; some few may yet be filled with imperishable good. Let us apply our hearts ”all our powers” unto wisdom.
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TIME AND ETERNITY- Recently, at a conference of magazine publishers in the United States, the representatives were requested to stand and give the name of their publication. Inevitably it seemed that a delegate from the Christian magazine, Eternity, always followed one from the secular periodical, Time. A burst of laughter among the delegates resulted when TIME and ETERNITY were thus linked together. Yet there is food for thought here, for indeed the two are vitally related and closely interlocked. The final rewards and position of the saved will be governed by their faithfulness, after their conversion, in filling the hours here with loving service, holy adoration, and diligent study. The lost too will be beaten with "few" or "many stripes" in relation to their deeds and attitudes while here on earth. Therefore, someone has wisely written: "Use well opportunity, drift not with the tide; killing time is not murder, it's suicide!" Indeed, eternity will magnify that which we have done in time.
May I make a practical suggestion for the new year? Always carry something with you to fill the moments that would other-wise be spent in idleness. For instance, take with you a little New Testament which you can study and mark up as you wait your turn in the doctor's office; or a text — printed on a card — which you can memorize while you ride the bus to work; or a notebook in which you jot down helpful suggestions or prayer requests. These are all good ways to "redeem the time" and make golden investments in eternity.
Too busy to read the Bible, too busy to wait and pray! Too busy to speak out kindly to someone by the way! Too busy to care and struggle, to think of the life to come, Too busy building mansions to plan for the heavenly Home. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Too busy for all that is holy on earth beneath the sky,
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Time For Everything- Perhaps the most sought-after but elusive possession of the 90's is "time for everything." The film industry focused on this dilemma in a comedy about a harried man who is cloned so he can fulfill his roles as father, construction foreman, and husband. While pop culture proclaims that people can juggle multiple roles if they just manage them well enough, it takes more than cellular phones and pagers to pull it off in real life.
But "redeeming the time" goes far beyond being efficient. It's a wonderful phrase that can also be translated "making the most of every opportunity." It suggests an attitude toward living that sees every situation as the perfect occasion to do God's will and influence others for Him. During these evil days, we are to live out the goodness God has placed in us through faith in Christ.
How much time do we have today? Time for prayer? Time to answer a child's question? Time to be interrupted by someone in need? Time to consider others during an inconvenience or delay?
May the Lord give us wisdom to grasp today's opportunities and make time for what's important to Him. --D C McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Lord, help us to redeem the time
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Our Measured Life- Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. . --Psalm 90:12
The root meaning of the word translated number in "teach us to number our days" (Ps. 90:12) is "to weigh" or "to measure." We are to place each day in the balance and make it tip the scales in a way that will bring glory to God and blessing to the lives of others.
When the great artist Raphael died at the early age of 37, friends and relatives carried his marvelous but unfinished painting The Transfiguration in the funeral procession. His family felt that because of the limited time he was allotted to use his creative genius, the painting was an appropriate symbol of his unfulfilled earthly aspirations. That half-completed picture has another meaning--a message that should impress itself on all of us: Life is fleeting and death may come unexpectedly. We should treasure each hour as a gift of great value and use it to the best advantage.
If we realize the value of our days, we will try to spend them profitably. To have no regrets at life's end and have much reward in heaven, we must make the most of every opportunity (Eph. 5:15-16). In the words of the psalmist let us pray, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Ps. 90:12). --H G Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The clock of life is wound but once,
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THE WISE USE OF TIME
F B Meyer. Our Daily Walk
GOD DESIRES to give each life its full development. Of course, there are exceptions; for instance, in some cases the lessons and discipline of life are crowded into a very brief space of time, and the soul is summoned to the Presence-chamber of eternity. But, on the whole, each human life is intended to touch all the notes of life's organ. There is an appointed time when it shall be born or die, shall weep or laugh, shall get or lose, shall have halcyon peace or storm cast skies. These times have been fixed for you in God's plan; do not try and anticipate them, or force the pace, but wait thou the Lord's leisure. In due time all will work out for thy good and for His glory. Say to Him" "All my times are in Thy hand."
Times and seasons succeed one another very quickly. Milton, in his glorious sonnet on the Flight of Time, bids her call on the leaden-stepping hours, referring to the swing of the pendulum; and, indeed, as we look back on our past life it will seem as though each experience was only for a moment, and then had vanished, never to return. We are reminded of the cobbler, who, as he sat in his kitchen, thought that the pendulum of his clock, when it swing to the left, said For ever; and to the right, Where? For ever--where? For ever--where? He got up and stopped it, but found that, although he had stopped the questioner, he had not answered the question. Nor could he find rest until, on his knees, he had been able to face the question of the Eternal, and reply to it.
We must be on the alert to meet the demand of every hour. "Mine hour is not yet come," said our Lord. He waited patiently until He heard the hours strike in heaven, and then drawing the strength appropriate to its demand, He went forth to meet it. Each time and season is kept by the Father in His own hand. He opens and none shuts; He shuts and none opens. But in that same hand are the needed supplies of wisdom, grace, and power. As the time, so is the strength. No time of sighing, trial, temptation, or bereavement is without its special and adapted supplies. Take what is needed from His hand, and go forth to play the part for which the hour calls.
PRAYER - Oh, that Thou wouldst bless us indeed and enlarge our coasts of useful service. Let Thine hand be with us, and keep us from all evil that would grieve Thee. AMEN. (F B Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
The use of opportunity - The apostle bids us “buy up” out of the market what we can never purchase so cheaply again--what, in fact, we can never buy again at any price. The lesson is--use opportunity, and use it thoroughly while you have it. Go read the old weird myth of the Cumaean Sibyl. She wrote her predictions upon leaves, and laid them at the entrance of her cave. Those who consulted her were compelled to exercise the greatest care and caution, lest the wild wind should take up the leaves, and scatter and displace them, destroy their arrangement, break their connection, and turn the clear oracles into inexplicable enigmas. That was a mythological lesson on seizing opportunity. Again, according to the familiar Roman legend, a Sibyl came to the palace of Tarquin II bearing nine volumes, for which she demanded a high price. Her offer being declined, she went away, and burned three of the precious books. Returning, she offered the remaining six, but asked for them the same price which she had demanded for the nine. Again her proposition was rejected, and again she departed and committed to the flames three more volumes. Once more she came back, bearing the last three, and refusing any less sum for them than that by which all might once have been bought. Tarquin, startled by this strange conduct of the merciless Sibyl, advised with his augurs, and bought the books, which proved the invaluable “Sibylline Verses”; but the chance of purchasing those priceless sister volumes was forever lost. Buy up opportunity!” Your privileges will never be offered so cheaply again. Each time life’s Sibyl comes to us her precious treasures are diminished in number, and relatively increased in value. Each time she has less to offer, and asks a higher price for each opportunity that remains. So comes Time’s stern, relentless Sibyl, until she herself finally disappears, and Time and her opportunities are no morel (A. T. Pierson.)
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Tick, Tick, Tick- Do you have a clock or watch available with a secondhand on it? Stop and follow that hand as it ticks away 1 minute. Those seconds, of course, are the way we measure time, and time is the very essence of our lives. By the time you reach the age of 75, the clocks and watches of this world will have ticked away a total of nearly 2.5 billion seconds.
Bernard Berenson, an internationally famous art critic, had a zest for life. Even when he was in ill health, he cherished every moment. Shortly before he died at age 94, he said to a friend, "I would willingly stand at street corners, hat in hand, asking passersby to drop their unused minutes into it." Oh, that we would learn to appreciate the value of time!
We certainly don't want to be so time-conscious that we become driven workaholics, neglecting our families, never relaxing with our friends, too busy to smell the roses or admire a sunset. Yet Paul urged us to redeem the time (Ephesians 5:15-16), and Moses prayed, "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).
Let's ask the Lord to help us appreciate the value of time. May we wisely invest our seconds, minutes, hours, and days, realizing that beyond time lies eternity. —Vernon C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
We do not know how long we have
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Stay Within God's Limits- One of life's greatest enjoyments for Suzannah Worl is riding her Harley-Davidson motorcycle. In a devotional article for Covenant Publications, she wrote about cruising the streets of Chicago with her friends late one summer night. They were riding along the shore of Lake Michigan, enjoying the bright moonlight and gentle breeze off the water.
Suddenly the lead motorcyclist took off and several of the group went with him, reaching speeds of 100 miles an hour. Suzannah was tempted to join them—but she didn't. She knew it was not safe and it was against the law. So she held back, continuing at normal speed.
Sometimes the way others live seems far more attractive and exciting than our Christian life. We're tempted to disobey God's commands or compromise principles from His Word. But we are called to live each day with self-discipline and spiritual discernment. The apostle Paul said, "Walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise" (Ephesians 5:15).
We need to ask the Lord for His help so that we'll see situations through His eyes and make wise choices. As we obey Him and stay within His limits, we will find true joy and lasting satisfaction.—David C. Egner
Living for Jesus a life that is true,
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Killing Time- A friend of mine was sitting on a park bench with his hands folded, staring into the distance. When I asked what he was doing, he replied, "Oh, just killing time."
What a cruel thing to do to something as valuable as time! Why kill it? Time is given to us to be cultivated, not murdered. Time should never be wasted but used to the best advantage.
Of course, there are times when we must relax and rest. Even Jesus said to His disciples, "Come aside . . . and rest a while" (Mark. 6:31). But that was not "killing time," it was using time for restoration. After they had rested, they would be able to use their time more fruitfully and profitably.
If a fraction of the time we waste could be used to pray, read the Bible, witness to others, visit a friend in distress, or comfort someone who is grieving, what a difference it would make! Today, when you have leisure time, ask yourself how you can best improve those extra moments. You may think I am being narrow minded, but the Bible is clear—we are to be "wise, redeeming the time" (Eph. 5:16).
Today, see how much good you can do for God and others—not how little you can get by with. It is not true that we can "make up lost time." It is gone forever! —M R De Haan
God's people have so much to do
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What Does God Like? - Some churches have become divided over styles of worship. One group may be insisting on a traditional service, while another is agitating for a more contemporary format.
We can all profit from a lesson a man learned on a business trip after attending a church service near his hotel. He talked with the pastor about how he had been blessed by the sermon, even though some of the worship time was not to his liking.
The pastor simply asked, "What was it you think God didn't like?" The man had the grace to reply, "I don't suppose there was anything He didn't like. I was talking about my own reaction. But worship isn't really about me, is it?"
We are entitled to our own preferences, and we must hold firmly to our biblical convictions. But before we voice our fault-finding opinions, let's seriously try to understand God's viewpoint. Consider Ephesians 5 in the light of worship: We are to be filled with the Spirit, speak to each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, give thanks to God, and submit to one another (Eph 5:19,21).
Whatever the style of worship, as we express to God our praise for who He is and all He has done, we lift Him up and encourage others. That's what God likes.—Vernon C Grounds
Let us celebrate together,
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WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS - By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days (Hebrews 11:30).
As a sculptor showed a visitor some marble figures displayed in his studio, an unusual sculpture caught the guest's attention. It had two peculiar features. Where the statue's face normally would have been, the sculptor had chiseled a covering of hair, and on both feet were wings.
The apostle Paul spoke of the quickly passing nature of opportunity in Ephesians 5:16. The word time used in this verse can also be translated "opportunity"—suggesting occasions for accomplishing high and noble purposes. But what are these opportunities? They are brief moments of personal contact—the passing incident, the turn of a conversation, or the "chance" meeting of an old acquaintance. Such times present golden opportunities for caring, for witnessing, for eternal good.
Alexander Maclaren, the noted Baptist preacher from England, said, "Every moment of life is granted us for one purpose: becoming like our dear Lord. That ultimate, all-embracing end is reached through a multitude of near and intermediate ones."
Like the young shepherd David, when our faith is strong we will have the wisdom and courage to see every obstacle as an opportunity. —P. R. Van Gorder
To believe only possibilities, is not faith, but mere Philosophy.
The astronomer measures time by light-years, the geologist by vast cycles, the historian by epics and centuries, the industrialist by the fiscal year, the salaried person by the month, the laborer by the weekly paycheck, the child by the birthday party. But for most of us the common measure of time begins with the awkward motions of rising in the morning and the weary movements at night. In this dimension we determine our day. While the vast majority of the hours are predetermined, planned for us, we nevertheless have precious tidbits of time which we are free to use and which ultimately determine the quality of our character and the degree of our commitment. The Lord measures time in terms of responsible living.
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The late Will Rogers had these lines engraved on a huge watch which he presented to David Rubinoff, the consummate violinist:
The Clock of Life is wound but once,
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Making The Most Of Time- We tend to read Ephesians 5:16 as if Paul is calling believers to action because the days are short, but that's not what he meant. He said we are to make the most of time "because the days are evil."
Evil days are days of opportunity. The more evil our culture becomes, the more opportunities there will be to show and share our faith.
God controls human history—permitting the rise of nations, determining their geographical boundaries, and orchestrating their fall—so that men and women will "seek the Lord" (Acts 17:26, 27). History is "His story" of providing salvation for a lost world and pointing people to the Lord. Even the forces of evil are used in such a way that "all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord, You alone" (Isaiah 37:20).
God may hold back His judgment for a time, allowing evil tyrants to have their day, upsetting people's well-ordered lives, presenting them with dilemmas beyond their understanding. Evil brings pain, but it is the genius of God to bring good out of evil (Ro 8:28-note).
Evil times, therefore, are not to be feared. They are times of unparalleled opportunity. That's why we must make the most of them. —David H. Roper
Lord, help us to redeem the time
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Don't Kill Time! - Author and lecturer John Erskine (1879-1951) declared that he learned the most valuable lesson of his life when he was 14 years old. His piano teacher asked him how much he practiced. He replied that he usually sat at the instrument for an hour or more at a time.
"Don't do that," warned the teacher. "When you grow up, time won't come to you in long stretches like that. Practice in minutes wherever you can find them—5 or 10 before school, a few after lunch. Sandwich them in between chores. Spread the practice throughout the day, and music will become a part of your life."
Erskine stated later that by following this advice he was able to live a fulfilled life as a creative writer, in addition to his regular duties as an instructor. He wrote nearly all of Helen of Troy, his most famous work, on streetcars while commuting between his home and the university.
How can you make good use of your spare moments? Consider carrying a Bible or a devotional booklet with you. Use the time to read, or to pray, or to write a note of encouragement or admonition to some needy soul.
Beware of wasting the present. Instead of killing time, redeem your spare moments today. —H G Bosch
Redeem the time! God only knows
REDEEMING THE TIME
First: In the duty there is the act and the object. Both must be explained.
1. The act, buying; or, as we render it, “redeeming.” Well, then, what is the meaning of “redeeming the time,” or buying the time? The term is proper to civil contracts, but is here applied morally.
(1) In buying there is some price paid; we part with one thing to obtain another; so we must part with anything less than it rather than lose time; as Pr 23:23,
Buy the truth, and sell it not.
As merchants stand upon no rate or price if they may get such wares into their hands as they may make benefit of, so time is such a precious commodity, and so useful to us in order to eternity, that we should not stand upon ease, carnal pleasures, and worldly conveniences, that we may purchase it.
(2) That which is bought belongs to the buyer; and so buy time to make it your own for spiritual advantages. But our translation uses the word “redeem,” which implies another metaphor — namely, the recovery of a mortgage, or the redeeming of what hath been lost or pawned out; and so it notes our former improvident poor use of time. We have, as it were, mortgaged it to Satan, to the world, and to vanity, and now should redeem it out of the hands of these engrossers (those who captivate our whole attention), and by future diligence recover our former neglect.
2. The object — “the time.” The word properly signifies the season and opportunity, but yet it is the usual word for time in Scripture, for to a Christian all time is season. Time in general is but short: “But this I say, brethren, the time is short” (1Co 7:29). But the season or opportunity, which is the flower of time, is shorter; therefore this must not be slipped: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men” (Gal 6:10-note).
Secondly: The reason by which this duty is enforced — “Because the days are evil.”
1. For the meaning of the phrase.
(1) It may be understood of the whole course or race of man’s life: (Genesis 47:9). Time in itself is neither good nor evil, but in regard of the accidents of time, as it is encumbered with variety of vexations, cares, and miseries, so our days may be called evil. And in this sense we must take that of our Saviour (Mt 6:34-note). Every day brings evil enough and sorrow enough to exercise us. Therefore you had need to lay up for a better life, for you have but sorry evil days here.
(2) More properly and specially it relates to the times the apostle wrote in, which were hard and calamitous, and full of danger, because of the wickedness of those among whom they lived. There were many enemies then, both to Christian verity and piety.
2. The force of the consequence.
(1) Because others vainly misspend time, Christians should be more careful to redeem it. The worse the times are, the better should we be, as fountain water is hottest in the coldest weather, and stars shine brightest in the darkest night.
(2) Adversity makes men serious.
(3) With relation to the heathen among whom they lived, he advised them to redeem the time (Colossians 4:5-note).
(4) Some are so bad and froward (habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition), that they would take away liberty, estates, yea, life itself from you, and with it all occasions of doing and receiving good. You carry your own lives in your hands, and the lives of many of God’s precious instruments are in danger; and therefore, before means and opportunities be wholly lost, redeem the time. That it is the duty of Christians to look to the due improvement of the time and season. I shall draw out the force of the apostle’s exhortation in this method.
I. The commodity or thing to be bought.
The word signifies time and season, the general and particular opportunity.
(1) If you have not begun already by conversion, it must not be delayed and left to uncertainties. The sooner you begin to buy time, the better bargain you will have; for every man would have as much for his money as possibly he can, therefore take the market while it is at the best (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
(2) After you are once admitted into the evangelical estate, your whole time should be redeemed and spent for God (Luke 1:75; Romans 6:11-note).
2. The season: buy it, whatever it cost you. The season of receiving good and of doing good.
II. The use we must put it to when we have gotten this commodity into our hands.
It is a precious commodity; you should never let it go but for something better than itself. There are two great ends, the glorifying of God, and the saving of our own souls.
Thirdly: I shall now proceed to the encouragements to the bargain to redeem time and season.
First: Let me press you to redeem the time.
1. Too much time hath been spent already (1Peter 4:3-note).
2. We are to be accountable to God for time.
3. That time is only yours which is spent well, in pleasing God, and doing good; for that time is bought and redeemed which otherwise is lost to you. We lose all that time which is not spent in the love and service of God.
4. Time is not ours to dispose of at pleasure. A Christian, when he gives up himself to God, he gives up everything that is his to God. My time is not mine, but Christ’s. It is sacrilege to rob God of what is consecrated to Him.
5. Time is a precious commodity, worth the looking after. The devil values it; if he can cheat you of your time, he can cheat you of your souls; for when conviction is strong, and all your prejudices are borne down, and his outworks taken, excuses and self-flatteries vanish. The last thing that he is loath to let go is time; his game is to cheat you of today, and so of the next day. God saith, “Today” (Hebrews 3:13-note); and the devil saith, Not today, but at a more convenient season; as Felix put off Paul (Acts 24:25).
6. The present time is the best:
“I made haste, and delayed not to keep Thy commandments” (Ps119:60-note).
Ludovicus Cappellus tells us of a Jewish rabbin, who being asked when a man should repent, answered, One day before his death; that is, presently, this day; it may be your last in the world: “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2Corinthians 6:2).
7. You have no time but what may be serviceable for some good use. There is no time wherein thou dost not enjoy some blessing to provoke thee to thankfulness, or hast not some sin to be mortified, or some good work to be done. We have a great deal of work to do in a short time.
8. We have much work to do, therefore let us spend it in matters that most concern us. We all complain of the shortness of time, and yet everyone hath more time than he uses well. We should rather complain of the loss of time than the want of time. In the general, use time well. If it be short, do not make it shorter by your negligence and improvident misspending of it. A thing that is hired for a while, it is a loss to us if it be not used and employed; as a horse that is bargained for if he be kept idle, or money taken up at interest. So it is with time lent us by God for a while; we pay dear for it if we use it not, and improve it not for God. It is good to see what advantage we make of time daily. One could say when he heard the clock strike, Now I have another hour to answer for.
9. The slight price we are to give for time. You part with nothing but what is better lost than kept; with a little ease of the flesh, vain pleasure which passes away as the wind, a little worldly profit, which at death will be of no use to thee. Now these are of no worth in comparison of time.
10. The necessity should quicken us, because there are many things which are apt to steal away and engross our time, and therefore must be redeemed; as —
(1) Sloth and idleness.
(2) Vain and sinful pleasures, and carnal sports.
(3) Worldly distractions.
(4) Vain company; they steal a jewel from us they can never restore, which is our precious time.
Secondly: Why we must redeem the season.
1. Because all things are beautiful in their season. It is said that the good man “is like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season” (Psalm 1:3-note). Now, fruit in its season is a carriage answerable to all providences (Matthew 9:15).
2. Because the season may soon slip out of our hands (Galatians 6:10-note). Take and seek all occasions of doing good. To take the season relates to the necessities of others; to seek the season relates to our own capacity and ability; both together bind the duty stronger on us. We must not defer a benefit. Some are like hogs, good for nothing till they are dead; they will not part with anything till they are incapable of the use of it any longer. So for exhorting (Hebrews 3:13-note). So for serving public good (Acts 13:36). They that mind to do good in the world engage themselves in a warfare, and the loss of our season is no small part of the enemy’s conquest.
3. This is wisdom. Some are wise in time, others too late; as the foolish virgins; they saw a necessity of getting oil into their vessels, but it was too late (Matthew 25:10). But the godly make much of time before it is lost.
4. The foresight and provision of the creatures may shame us. God will not only teach careless men by His prophets and messengers, but by His creatures. There is a great deal of morality lies hid in the bosom of nature if we had the skill to find it out. In this business of redeeming the time we are sent to the pismire (Proverbs 6:6, 7, 8).
5. Most of the calamities of the world come for not observing and improving the season (Ecclesiastes 8:6).
I. Reproof of several sorts of men.
1. Of them that willfully spend their time vainly, either in doing nothing, or doing what they should not, or in doing evil.
2. It reproves them that delay their conversion and return to God; as those invited to the marriage supper did not deny, but delay (Matthew 22:1-14).
3. Reproof to fallen believers, who do not take the next advantage of recovering themselves by repentance. The longer sin continues unmortified or unpardoned, the more dangerous is your case. A candle, as soon as the flame is blown out, sucks light and is re-enkindled; but when it is grown cold and stiff, it requires more ado.
4. It reproves those that withstand the special seasons of grace, when God’s arms are most open to receive us. (T. Manton, D. D.)