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Buying Back Time

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV)

What is more precious than gold, but cannot be bought, earned, or saved?  The answer to that famous, old riddle is “time.”  Time is indeed a precious commodity – none of us have enough of it. And these days, my wife and I are struggling with the fact that it goes away too quickly.

Though the conventional wisdom says you cannot buy time, that’s not entirely true.  The word Paul uses in this verse (translated rather loosely as “make the most”) means “to buy up at the marketplace.”  So it may mean, as the NIV translates it, “seizing the opportunity” or “making the most” of your time.  But it also carries with it the idea of buying back time.  In this sense, we are buying back the present time which is now being used for evil and godless purposes.  Buying it with what you ask?  We buy back time at the personal expense of our careful and wise living.

You probably don’t need the reminder, but the days are evil.  It is all too easy to get caught up in the world and live foolishly.  When we do, one of the negative consequences is that our time is wasted…lost…gone forever.  Our youth is spent chasing temporal things.  We miss our kids’ childhoods because we’re too busy climbing the ladder.  We’re not “present” in our marriages because we’re sidetracked elsewhere.  The consequences are devastating.   And the worst part is you can’t go back in time to fix them

So don’t wait. Paul tells us to start right now.  Buy back that time before it’s too late, before it’s long gone.  The next verse tells us what will happen: Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:17, NIV)  When you and I live our lives walking in the will of God, we will never look back on our lives as being wasted.

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