Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
— Ephesians 5:16
It’s interesting to me that the most successful of wealthy investors and a homeless, penniless man on the street have one thing in common: Each has only 24 hours in a day.
In this natural world, time is the very essence of our lives. To a large degree, the way we use time defines who we are. Because that is true, the issue of how we utilize our time becomes supremely important.
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It’s true that the way we utilize our money is a measuring rod of what we value most in life. But although financial stewardship is important, the way we spend our time is even more important. For example, many wealthy moguls will ignore their families for weeks, months, and even years, and then try to “buy” the affections of their loved ones with money and material wealth. This is rarely, if ever, a successful undertaking. It seems that no amount of money they spend can compete with spending their most precious commodity — time — on the ones they love.
Time is one of our most valuable resources. Money can be replaced. Financial shortfalls can be made up in the following quarter or fiscal year. But nothing can replace time. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.
The good news is that the apostle Paul said we can “redeem the time” (see Ephesians 5:16). The word “redeem” is the Greek word exagoridzo, which in this context means to buy back time. You may have lost time by merely wasting it or by using it on things that weren’t important. But the great story of redemption is that your story isn’t over. With God’s help, time can be redeemed — that is, bought back by personal carefulness and by stewarding what time remains.
Today we live in age of distractions. It’s not that we’re necessarily idle or lazy. But so many things vie for our time and attention that we can become distracted from important and essential things. For example, nonstop media entertainment and electronic gadgets fill our modern lives, constantly luring us away from the truly important things of life. Part of the act of prioritizing is identifying these types of time-wasters and eliminating them from our routines — or at least reducing the amount of time we spend focusing on those activities.
Media and gadgets are not bad or wrong in themselves, but often they take far too much of our time from matters that should be our real priorities, such as time with the Lord, family, work, and friends. The key is balancing all our priorities, and that means knowing what needs to be done at what time and being able to put other things on hold that are nonessential or less important at the moment.
The ability to properly manage your time and to establish sound, balanced priorities is one of the most critical keys to experiencing a stable, fruitful life as a believer and a leader. So I encourage you today to prioritize your time by carefully identifying the things that are most essential to your life. Once you’ve determined your top priorities, focus on those areas and let other, less important pursuits fall into place beneath what you truly value most. As you learn to use your time wisely, not squandering it but making the most of the life God has given you, you will surely find the fulfillment He desires you to experience in every area of your life.
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I ask You to help me understand what my top priorities should be and then give me the discipline to live according to those guidelines. Help me discern when something is actually a distraction that will pull me off task so I don’t become entangled in activities that are either unnecessary or possibly even a hindrance to the main thing You want me to accomplish. I repent for the times I have allowed procrastination and laziness to waste valuable time. Those are not habits that I want to continue in my life. Teach me to focus and prioritize as You help me cultivate new habits and patterns that produce Your desired results in my life. Today I make a fresh commitment to steward my time with diligence and to trust You to guide my choices so I can make the most of every moment.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I am diligent, productive, and undistracted as I give my time and attention to the most important priorities in my life. I maintain keen focus on the assignment before me. I keep my ears open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance to follow His wisdom in all I set out to do. Therefore, I am productive and organized. I believe that I receive lasting fruitfulness as the reward of how I invest my time.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of time-wasters in your life? Is it too much time on the Internet, texting people, or watching television? What is there in your life that is taking too much of your precious time and thereby robbing you of the ability to be more productive in the areas that matter most?
- Have you ever asked the Lord to help you form a set of priorities for your life? If yes, do you live by that list of priorities? If not, why not?
- How many hours a day do you spend on less important pursuits that should be used more productively?