"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:16). The KJV is the best translation in this passage. The same word for "redeeming" is used in Galatians 4:5 - "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." The word means to purchase or buy up. With regards to time it means to make the wise use of every second treating each one as a precious commodity.
Time in one sense is given equally to all. There are 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in a day. While all of us are not given the same number of days or years of life, it is certainly true that a day is the same length for one man as it is for another. It is also true that each of us have been allotted a certain amount of time upon this earth. The proverbial sand is falling rapidly through the hourglass for each of us. This makes time one of our most treasured assets. Unlike with cellphones, you cannot purchase additional minutes in life. How well are you spending your time? You cannot purchase any additional time, but you can certainly prevent this precious commodity from being wasted - you can redeem the time.
Every man is given the same number of minutes in a day, but oh how some buy up and spend those minutes. Early in his ministry Charles Spurgeon preached three times on the Lord's Day and five nights every week. Eventually he would preach twelve or thirteen times a week while traveling hundreds of miles by road or rail. He said, "I always felt that I could never do enough for Him who had loved me, and given Himself for me" (Autobiography p.359). He reserved Monday morning for meeting with people stirred in their souls from Sunday's sermons. He published a hymnal, revised the Shorter Catechism, published a new Baptist confession, founded a pastor's college in 1857, and founded an orphanage in 1867. He wrote dozens of letters each week and gave of himself tirelessly in pastoral care. He spent his life redeeming the time.
It is so easy to get distracted in this life. It is essential that we maintain a right perspective. Our lives must be fixed on three priorities: (1) the glory of God, (2) growing in holiness, (3) reaching the lost with the Gospel. We must treasure each minute as an opportunity to serve our Savior. We must see ourselves as soldiers. "No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who has enlisted him as a solder" (2 Timothy 2:4 NASB). It is important that we be good stewards of our time, using each second to the greatest benefit. In the parable of the Good Samaritan we find the Samaritan man giving of his time for this stranger. He stopped his own journey, took him to a nearby town, and cared for him overnight. He gave of his precious, highly valuable time.
This life is not the time for relaxation. This doesn't mean there is no place for leisure. We must have a sound theology of leisure which includes valuable times of respite. But we must never be lovers of pleasure or slothful wasters of time. This life is the time for diligence, watchfulness and self-discipline. We must guard against time eaters - TV, the Internet, sports, video games, etc. These things have little value to our souls or our Lord's Kingdom. Our time of rest is coming. May we labor hard until that day. "Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now is salvation nearer to us than when we believed" (Romans 13:11 NASB).