by Tim Hall
A telephone commercial may help us realize a vital truth.
A television commercial for a wireless telephone company showed a mother scolding her son. The small discs he had placed in a yard sale represented unused cell phone minutes. “But they’re old,” the son protested. “That doesn’t matter,” snapped the mother, “they’re still good.”
As we stand on the shore of a new year, let us look back to 2009 and consider all the unused minutes we left behind.
The typical American, we’re told, has more leisure time than at almost any other point in world history. But what do we do with those minutes (which accumulate into hours, days, weeks …)?
Though we often hear others lament their lack of time for important things, is that really so? Don’t we spend some of our minutes mindlessly watching television or surfing the Internet? Do the electronic games we play and other games we watch really qualify as vital?
If we’re honest we’ll have to admit there’s a trail of wasted time we left behind in 2009.
Before we commit the same mistakes again, let us contemplate Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 5:16: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (NKJV).
According to one Greek dictionary, the word translated as “redeeming” carries the idea of “rescuing from loss.” Instead of watching those minutes wither and waste, maybe we could put them to productive use.
The New Century Version renders Paul’s words even more clearly: “Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times.” That statement is as true today as when Paul first wrote it.
A similar statement is found in Colossians 4:5,6:
“Walk in wisdom toward those who are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
Perhaps if we used our time more wisely, those who are without, might join us within.
Let’s not deceive ourselves: God has not given us a year’s worth of minutes. Life is guaranteed to no one. Manna was given to Israel on a daily basis (Exodus 16), but minutes are doled out more minutely (no pun intended).
Maybe the best use of this next minute I’m given would be for prayer: “Lord, give me wisdom to use this precious gift so good can be accomplished.”
“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).