Redeem the Time, for the Days are Evil

Blog 11-16-18

Ephesians 5:16: “Redeem the time because the days are evil.”

I’ve had that phrase, “redeem the time,” rollin’ round my head all week. Since I’m fighting my way through a fairly heavy depression, I’ve only been playing music from a folder on my computer which I titled “Uplifting Songs.” One of those tunes is Stand Up* by the Christian rock band Petra, which includes these lyrics:

Redeeming the time for the days are evil
This whole world’s in such upheaval

It’s from their amazing album More Power To Ya, which has special meaning to me; it was my first Christian rock album, which my mom bought me when I was 15, after hearing the song Judas Kiss. Up until then I thought music of faith was limited to southern gospel groups, Sunday morning worship and the Imperials.

But what does that mean, “redeem the time?” It’s an intriguing phrase, to be certain.

Well, some Bible versions translate this as “making the most of your time.” The New Living Translation and the New International Version both read “making the most of every opportunity.” The Passion Translation says, “Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his (God’s) purposes.”

When defining the word “redeem,” Webster’s Dictionary has several different explanations. Followers of Christ mainly think of “redemption” as “salvation,” which would probably be this part of the definition:

“To free from captivity by payment of ransom, to release from blame or debt, or to free from the consequences of sin.”

For our intents and purposes where it concerns redeeming TIME, however, I think this part of the definition may be more suiting:

“To exchange for something of value” or “to make worthwhile: RETRIEVE.”

When it deals with TIME, what are we “exchanging,” exactly? In the simplest of terms, we’re trading BAD or WORTHLESS time for GOOD or MEANINGFUL time. The way I figure it, we can make the most of our time, or we can squander it away. We can hide in our offices or tiny apartments, watching the world go by on television and outside our living room window, or we can get out there and DO SOMETHING.

I’ll give you an example:

My 19-year-old son, Trey, my wife and I are currently living with my daughter and grandkids. Long story. Anyway, Trey is a full-time college student and part-time Custodian, and doesn’t get home until 8:30 or after most nights.

Last night he didn’t get home until 9:15, and he’d been busy all day. He knows, though, that my almost-six-year-old grandson, Joshua, LOVES his Uncle Trey, and can’t wait for him to get home.

My son arrives hometired, physically and mentallybut quickly grabs something to eat (as he usually hasn’t eaten supper until then) and gets right to showing Joshy a new video game he bought for the two of them to play.

Time is critical, and Trey knows he only has 45 minutes, since Joshy’s bedtime is 10:00 on school nights.

He gets the TV and game system up and rolling, he and Joshy swiftly don their “game attire” (usually sweatpants and ball caps) and get right to playing.

“Now, you remember where we were last night, right, buddy?” Trey asks, gently.

“Yup,” Joshy smiles back, and they’re off and running.

That’s how you redeem the time.

This Sunday, my daughter, Jessica, is throwing a birthday party for both Joshy and my granddaughter, Jenna-Marie, who turned one last week. It’ll be an amazing time of presents, food, family and fun.

She heard that Trey and I had bought tickets to see the heavy metal band Stryper live in concert later the same day, though, and wanted to do both. Only problem is, “clean up” after the birthday party would put her late to the show.

“Tell ya what,” my wife told Jess. “You stay for as much of clean-up as you can, and then Dad and Trey can save you a place in line and someone can run you there. I’ll stay and finish cleaning up after the party. That way you can do both the concert AND the birthday party.”

That’s how you redeem the time.

“But what about sharing our faith with others?” some ask.

YES, as Christians, this includes telling people about Jesus, but we can get so bogged down with TELLING them that it’s easy to forget to LIVE the life of a believer.

For, if people don’t SEE Jesus in our eyes, in our smile and in our lives, they’ll never believe in the Jesus we TELL them about with our mouths.

“Redeeming the time” for my wife, Laura, and I meant giving our children our full attention when they were growing up, and now doing the same with our grandchildren. Sure, I tried to start up several ministries and creative endeavors, but none of them came to fruition. Finally, I told God, “I’m just gonna work hard, pay my bills, go to church, and love my family. You know where to find me when You’re ready for me to work in the ministry for You.”

I’m 51 years old, and His will for my ministry is just now becoming apparent.

Now, on the surface, some would deem me a “failure” by the world’s standards. I don’t make a lot of money, I don’t get to travel that much, I don’t have my own business and I don’t drive a car that cost more than our first house.

So how did Laura and I “redeem our time” with our children? We went to Jessy’s soccer games, and speech and debate contests. We went to my son’s football games, wrestling matches, and band concerts. Since I didn’t have a six-figure salary job that kept me busy 80 hours a week and forced me to travel, I could devote my full attention to my family.

Please understand: I’m not raggin’ on shiny cars, big houses or well-paying (and normally demanding) jobs. If that fits any of you, that’s wonderful. I’m referring to MY situation. I tried to better myself, and did to a certain extent, but then things stopped moving up the ladder, so it was at THAT point I decided to redeem the time by pouring my heart and soul into my family. Laura, as well. She’s the best wife and mother I know, and we’d be lost without her.

We’ve devoted our entire lives to our children.

And it shows. Jess and Trey are two of the most kindhearted, goofy and uplifting people you’ll ever meet. I’m so proud of them.

“But now,” I feel the Lord saying, “It’s YOUR time.”

And I’m ready.

Another quick example of me trying to redeem my time is this blog. I went to bed around 10:00 last night, and for reasons unknown, woke up at 3:15 this morning and never went back to sleep. After unsuccessfully trying to fall back into some sort of fitful slumber, I finally grabbed my phone and did a little research for this article.

That’s a case of me attempting to redeem what would’ve been wasted time scrolling through Facebook or watching early morning gobbledygook on TV.

So, if you feel like your whole life is a waste of EVERYBODY’S time; stop, look around and figure out how you can squeeze LIFE out of the day.

Redeem the time. Make the most of what you have, even if, in some people’s minds, you don’t have much.

Due to the fact that the aforementioned song, Stand Up, is from one of my favorite albums of all time, and because I have to reference writer and Petra founder and guitarist Bob Hartman anyway, I thought I’d share all the lyrics to “Stand Up.”

“Stand Up”
Petra

“The battle cry is getting louder
The countdown’s close to the final hour
The enemy is on every side
Still no match for the Crucified
Victory unto victory
We are soldiers in His army

[Chorus]
Stand up, take a stand for Jesus
Stand up, so the whole world sees us
Showing the way to a world gone astray
Shine our light with all of our might
Stand up, take a stand for Jesus
Stand up, so the whole world sees us
Following Him, and serving Him
Fighting the fight that we know we will win

Out of our pews and into the streets
Making some use of our beautiful feet
Redeeming the time for the days are evil
This whole world’s in such upheaval
We wrestle not with flesh and blood
But when the enemy comes in like a flood

(REPEAT CHORUS)

Gotta lay our lives down
And stand up for the truth we’ve found
Gotta let the redeemed of the Lord say so”

* “Stand Up”
Written by Bob Hartman, 1982

5 thoughts on “Redeem the Time, for the Days are Evil

    • Thanks so much, Carol! See, I work at Global University, which is a fully-accredited, distance education, Christian college. Thus, I work with a LOT of brilliant theologians. My joke is that you can’t stand up and turn around twice without bumping into a doctor at Global. I tried for years to be something I wasn’t, but finally realized, God didn’t call me to be a theologian, he called me to be a storyteller and encourager. I’ve garnered much from my coworkers, to be certain, but we have to pursue OUR calling, not someone else’s, ya know?

      Anyway, all that to say, I greatly appreciate the encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are performing a ministry – one that is down to earth and one people can identify with….I think you are answering God’s call in ways you may not even fathom or appreciate. I like your style of writing; of keeping it real. Too many preach, but never reach the hearts and minds…theologians are wonderful and all but I’d take a storyteller any day. 🙂

        Like

      • That’s awesome to hear. God has worked many wonders and miracles to get me to this point, to be sure. Part of my story–and many others from friends and family–are included in my book, “We Whom the Darkness Could Not Overcome.” Not sure how long you’ve been following me, but it was released this past September and is for sale on Amazon. Not pushing my book, as I wrote it for the Lord, not for nickels and dimes; just saying that if you appreciate a good story, there are several there. We’re all very blessed, even if we forget that sometimes.

        Liked by 1 person

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