HOW IS TIME TO BE REDEEMED?
“Walk in wisdom toward those on the outside, redeeming the time”, Col 4:5
If we read correctly here, Paul links the redeeming of time to walking wisely and not to haste. There is another verse where we come across the same Scripture. It goes, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil”, Eph 5:15,16. Here it states also that a fool may never be able to redeem his time, even if he is able to run fast. If the idea came up but once in Scripture, we should grant it the closest attention, seeing we often read about “hidden treasures” and maybe that would be a way the Lord thought of to hide it away. The most hidden treasure, however, is the Lord Himself, who hides quite often.
Regard these words also, linked to redeeming your time: “because the days are evil”. All ways of mankind are set beforehand; I mean, there is a mechanism which works out a certain kind of walk, a pattern that establishes a walk, a heart that leads into things and a way never to loose time with whatever may come to hinder that walk of enjoyment. If someone is after someone else’s wife, he hastens towards her, he gives little thought to other “minor” matters, for his eyes, his whole heart feasts on her. The whole of his mind makes him think and walk that way.
Now, there is a pattern concerning sinning that is most harmful: haste. Impatience is one of the features towards sinning. Because it accomplishes very little, for there is no blessing upon sinning at all, it is always greedy and in a hurry to have it all. Al trees breed by the blessing of the Lord – sinning does not, for it breeds by curse. Because this pattern is a conclusion in the main walk of a man in sin, an eventuality, all men walk believing time is little and little precise and they have to make the most of it soon enough. They even take notice they will soon die, and therefore sin even harder and faster. I often hear people say; “let’s enjoy life, for it is short; let’s do things while we may”. Because they accomplish little, even if God cursed them by handing them over unto it; there is this natural ingredient of haste towards walking and leading and whatever it takes to make full use of time. People learn by the very nature of all sin to be so – they even call it a “personality”. It is like a train that runs on railway alone and if it is found out of it, it does not know what to do, nor where to go. The Bible talks about a “COURSE OF THIS WORLD” and not only of this world but of hell itself.
Now, suppose man stops being like a train and starts flying as an eagle, swift, no noise in its walk, no tooting in the skies, no rails to set both the security and the direction of the whole of his walk. Suppose even further that man has gained a new essence, yet it has the same outward structure, for his eyes are used to look unto railways being consumed with speed – something which he will never be able to find up in the skies where God wants him to be from now on. He is new, but has old habits, old conceptions upon walking and doing which a New Life is not linked with at all. Then, that man has got a problem, a sure one. Many a steam train runs on water it heats up in its heart. A holy man walks by knowing God and the Word states “Be still and know that I am God”. Further on we come to read, “for with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people. To whom He said, This is the rest; cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing. Yet they were not willing to hear”, Is.28:11,12.
Now we may come to see how strange this may seem unto all new children of God, for not only their being and nature is changed, but their walk has to change just as well from then on. They have to start to love their God with their entire mind as well, in a way they do not know by experience. They have to unite perception, with hard thinking and believing, for even a man walking in darkness will have to make up his entire mind on how to walk in the light; ask a blind man just how he will have to be newly adapted to seeing, for his whole life and life style were bowed down to serve in utter darkness and to touch around to go forth. The Lord Himself stated “And I will bring the blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. I will do these things to them, and not forsake them”, Is.42:16.
There are differences in structure, in conceptions, in feeling, in the whole of man whose eyes have been opened. These may not easily come to think the new wine is better than the old one, for they are used to the taste of the old one alone, up until then. Before they were to touch and feel to walk, but now to see and have some other better perception to drive them on. And this will affect the whole question of redeeming time as well. Greed was leading man while in sinfulness, and he gave little, amusing, real thought unto real life as it is and now that people come unto God, they believe there is but little thinking to be done. A man of God said, “If a man does not think, he may never become saved at all”. Soon that thinker will have to walk in a profound way, in all wisdom, just as he used to do towards feeling.
Now, to start to think on our walk, we have to stop and be still for a change. This is the opposite of what the world fashions and may esteem as the redemption of time. To be quite and be fully taught at restful places, is to spare on time. The world teaches and upholds that to be in haste, and having a hurrying mood is to redeem on time. God’s ways are so hard a way to be adapted unto, that the word of God says “cause the weary to rest”. This word “CAUSE” is a strong one, just as the one in Mat.28 says “teach to observe”. It sounds as if God instructs His disciples to cause, to make, to oblige others to rest, to sit still in a hurrying and contradicting world which goes the opposite way with opposite resources and cares, for a weary man thinks and believes but on tiring himself up on and on – he thinks and believes very little. Rest is never synonymous to sparing on time to mankind. The Lord says, therefore, “he who believes shall not hurry”, Is.28:16. “See to it, then, that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil”, Eph 5: 15,16. "Do not walk according to the course of this world...". Because these days are evil, they teach evil ways to carry things out as well. If your heart stopped being evil, you should take great pains to cause yourself to rest and know God, to be taught by Him personally and to walk differently as well. Mary was a good example of this, contrasting to her sister Martha; by that you will redeem on time soon, for your walk will be established to be able to save people. Paul said to Timothy: “Until I come, attend to reading… Do not neglect the gift in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the body of elders. Meditate on these things… Hold on to yourself and to the doctrine; continue in them, for doing this you shall both save yourself and those who hear you”, 1Tim.4:13-16. You try do the same. Amen.