Ephesians 5:15-17 – Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Scripture says that we are like vapors – here today and then… POOF…gone in an instant. Some of us may live to the national average or even past it. Others will not live that long. Whatever the case may be, Scripture affirms that “man knows not his time.” Therefore, since no one knows when he will be called home, doesn’t it make sense to make the most of every day – as though it was our last day?
We are sometimes asked what we would do if we only had one week or one month to live. We generally give a sweet, sentimental, or even profound answer that stresses the urgency of the hypothetical predicament about which we are being asked. And yet, so often, we never “live out” the answers that we give because we suppress the truth of reality and thus mistakenly believe that we have an infinite supply of time and opportunities waiting before us.
This is folly, unwise, and terribly unrealistic. It’s the very reason the apostle stressed what he did in today’s scripture.
Paul tells us immediately to be careful how we live. He says we need to be wise, not unwise, and that we need to make the most of every opportunity that comes our way. Richard Baxter, John Wesley, and George Whitefield called this “redeeming the time.”
It’s been calculated that the average person watches six years worth of television over the course of his lifetime – and four months tying his shoes. Do we really want to leave that kind of legacy to our children? Worse, do we really want to stand before our Lord one day and tell him that we buried our time and talents underneath the sofa cushion – right next to the Doritos crumbs and lost change? That will hardly be the “first-fruits” of a life well lived.
Our very lives are a gift from God. We are to be stewards of them. In a real sense they are not our own. If we would offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God, then we must daily put ourselves back on the altar before him – to consecrate ourselves to him.
There is cost involved here to be sure. To give ourselves to the Lord in this way will require sacrifice, commitment, and self-discipline. To redeem the time we have been given, to make the most of every opportunity, we will need to work hard and replace some poor attitudes, ways of thinking, and habits with good ones.
Instead of listening to music in the car, (which is not inherently bad, by the way), we might listen to a sermon or instructional tape. Instead of sleeping in, we might get up a bit earlier and spend time with the Lord – in his Word and in prayer. Instead of watching TV all night, why not pick up a book that will build you up in the faith or help you improve your life in some way? Instead of filling your life with busy work, why not build relationships with family and friends? The list could on and on, but you get the point.
It’s been often said that no one, at the end of his life, looks back and says he should have spent more time at the office, or in front of the TV, or at the golf course, etc. These things are not necessarily worthless, but they are fleeting.
Why not redeem the time that you have been given by using it wisely? Why not make the most of every opportunity God will give you today? Our lives are short enough already. Let’s not fill them with trinkets when we have the opportunity to offer the Lord the sweet scent of a pleasing sacrifice.
Grace and Truth,