There are just so many truths in the Bible; every square inch is just soaked with wisdom and wise admonitions. Paul told the Ephesians that they should be “redeeming the time because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16) So for me, coming from a non Christian background, at first I really wondered what in the world that word “redeem” even meant.
When I was a kid, redeem was what you did with “green stamps”. When you went shopping with your mom, the cashier would give you “green stamps” when you paid your bill.They weren’t like postage stamps that you put on a letter. You were supposed to collect them and put them in little booklets. Then when you got a book or two or three full of them, you could go to the green stamp store and “redeem” them by giving them maybe 2 green stamp books and you could get a basketball. Or ten green stamp books would get you a bicycle. That was my only knowledge of what “redeemed” meant, you redeemed your green stamps.
But when I became a Christian, I found that the Bible said that Jesus was “our redeemer”. He had redeemed us. Paul told Titus, speaking of Jesus that He “gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity.” (Titus 2:14) And back nearly 4000 years ago, Job was recorded as saying, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that He shall stand on the earth in the latter days,” (Job 19:25) and incredible prophecy of the coming of Jesus, our Redeemer who would ultimately be here on earth, which He was.
So we are redeemed. He’s made something out of nothing. Jesus took something that was seemingly worthless but He, through His death and resurrection, redeemed us, making us into “new creatures, old things past away and all things new” (II Corinthians 5:17) in Him.
But what about us? Are we redeemers? Is there anything we are to redeem? Well, besides our lives, the most precious thing we have is our time. Time wasted can never be regained. He has redeemed us and we are new creatures, having passed from death to life through salvation. But, now what? Why doesn’t He just take us to heaven? Why does He still keep us here on earth? Because He’s commissioned us to serve Him here in His Great Commission to be His ambassadors and to serve Him in this struggle to retake what is His, the souls on earth that are yet to know Him in this stage of history.
We’re not commissioned to be idle. Jesus gave His disciples so many jobs to do, such as “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), “feed my sheep”, (John 21:17)“go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in” (Luke 14:23), “go therefore and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19), “go into your closet and pray to your Father in secret” (Matthew 6:6) and of course simply “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). And there are many more.
Our lives should now be full of activity and accomplishment in the Lord. He’s given us such a vision of all that He wants us to do, all that He needs us to obey in the commissions He left His disciples on earth when He left.
But do we do it? There are just so many distractions, we are so easily dissuaded and delayed from simply obey His Word and the urging of His Spirit upon our hearts each day. One little disobedience leads to another. Soon it’s a habit of disobedience. After a while we no longer hear as clearly the voice of His Spirit. We don’t want to read God’s Word because it might disturb us or convict us of what we are failing to do. “The affairs of this life choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 13:22), the Lord said. Still, the charge is there: “redeeming the time because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)
Jesus said, “Every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36) And I believe that ever wasted use that we make of the precious time He’s given to each of us ever day, every month, ever year, we’ll have to give an account thereof as well. We’ll have to answer both to Him and to our conscious, “What did you do with your life?” “Did you spend it selfishly? Did you respond to the light and the grace that God gave to you?”
Yes, we’re all sinners, yes we all make mistakes, and we’ll all need forgiveness. But we’ll be able to see then how we spent our lives. Did we waste most of all that He gave us, living a visionless, disobedient spiritually fruitless life? Paul said of himself, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” (Acts 26:19) He was diligent in the calling God had on him. May we all be found faithful in Him, “not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)