See that you live with care. Do not live foolishly but wisely. Redeem the time because we live in evil days. (Ephesians 5:15-16) What does it mean to redeem the time? Redemption speaks of purchasing something out of one use for another use. The sinner is redeemed out of slavery to sin to live in the liberty of service for Jesus. How then is time bought up to be used in another, better fashion?
Time is redeemed when it is understood as truly valuable. Queen Elizabeth is said to have cried out on her death bed, “Call time again, call time again! A world of wealth for an inch of time.” The Roman General Titus came to the end of a day in which he had done no good deed. When he realized what he had done he turned to his companions and said, “My friends, I have lost a day.” These unbelievers knew the preciousness of time. It was not something to be wasted, but something to be treasured. Each day was to be spent in the doing of that which is truly good.
For the Christian, redeeming the time is much more important than the accomplishment of some civic good or the gaining of one more moment in this life. Redeeming the time is buying each moment out of the hands of the world, the flesh and the devil to release it from the frivolity of temporary pleasures. Redeeming the time spends each moment for eternal gain.
Time is redeemed by using it all for the glory of God. Even in the performance of necessities such as eating and drinking, the time can be redeemed by sanctifying the food to God through thankfulness (1 Timothy 4:4-5) and by eating for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Time is redeemed by spending it in reading the Word, meditating on the Word or speaking of the Word to others. (Colossians 3:16) Time is redeemed by spending it in constant prayer. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Time is redeemed by being always ready to preach the gospel. (Colossians 4:3-5) Time is redeemed by taking every legitimate opportunity for good works. (Titus 3:8) Time is redeemed when the Christian does all he can to use all his days for the Lord.
Puritan Thomas Brooks said, ““The redeeming of time … is the redeeming of a precious treasure, which, if once lost, can never fully be recovered again. If riches should make themselves wings and fly away, they may return again, as they did to Job. If credit and honor and worldly greatness and renown should fly away, they may return again as they did to Nebuchadnezzer. If success and famous victories and conquests should make themselves wings and fly away they may return again a they did to many of the Roman conquerors and others. If time, whom the poets paint with wings, to show the swiftness of it, fly from us, it will never more return to us. Purchase at any rate all occasions and opportunities of doing good, that so ye may thereby, in some sort, redeem that precious jewel of time.”