Monday, June 2, 2008

redeeming the time

In a book like the Bible, it's hard to pick a favorite verse, but I have one that really speaks volumes to me. There is just one problem, which is our English language and translation. We often translate the verse to be less than what I believe it talks about. The verse is question is Ephesians 5:16. Most translations will say something like "making the most of the time".

The Greek word is εξαγοραζομενοι. It is found in Galatians 4:5 and 3:13. It gives the idea of saving from loss, or from purchasing back. It's more than making the best use of the time, but it's saving the time, rescuing our time. We may look at this in only a future tense, but I think there is an aspect of time past we can take back. Let me explain.

Look at the book of Joel. If you are familiar with Joel, you will know it's about The Day of the Lord, a time when God sends wrath on the ungodly. The interesting thing here, however, is the Hebrew nation fully expected the Day of the Lord to come to their neighbors. It didn't, it came to them. A lesson learned, God's discipline we expect to come on the sinner, yet it's the Christian that God holds to the standard because of Salvation. Perhaps we should look for correction not on the nation, but on the Church.

In Joel, the Day of the Lord came in the form of locusts which devoured the land. The people were commanded to repent and return, and in Joel 2:25, God makes a promise to restore the years that the locust has eaten. This is not a promise of future grace, but of grace offered to the past. The promise is not to make the future great, but to restore the years that were taken.

This brings me to my thoughts this morning. This weekend I graduated with a individual who's past was ravaged by the world. He walked across the stage and received his seminary degree while his family applauded. In his ministry, God will use him to reach people that wouldn't begin a dialogue with me. He will bring hope to those who have no hope. He will bring God's light into places I could not go. His past is not glorified, it's simply redeemed.

Romans 8:28 is this point made simple. All things will be used for the good of those who love God and have been called according to His purpose. Each day can be restored, the time can be redeemed. The years have not been wasted, each day gives us things learned, experiences gained, we learned how to live, or sometimes how not to live. We can take the darkest years and restore them and redeem them and use them for the glory of the Lord. It may be in ministry, testimony, or simple praise and adoration. Today, I want to redeem the time, the time I wasted, those times I failed. God will use them for His glory.

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