"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time." (KJV)
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." (NIV)
The same verse from two different translations, giving us the perspective from which Paul wrote on the way the Colossian Christians were using their time. In speaking of redeeming the time, he was teaching them to make the most of every opportunity.
How about that subject matter, the subject of "time." We live in a specific point in the picture of time when humans like you and me never seem to have enough time. We have our digital watches, smart phones, microwave ovens, automatic this and that, all to give us more time. All of the labor and time saving devices we use these days do a pretty good job of giving us more free time. The problem lies in our lifestyle of trying to cram too much into the time we have.
We are all given the same amount of time in which we are to work, rest, play, learn, etc. Yet some seem to have some time left over for leisure or "time on our hands." So what about your use of time?
It's relatively easy for us to see why Paul would encourage making the most of time and opportunity when writing to the Colossians. Apparently some of their time was devoted to celebrations and festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. Paul considered these things a useless waste of time. If he could see that as a problem in the Colossian church, is there a chance that we also have some time-wasting things going on in the church and in Christian lives today? Consider these examples:
1. When time isn't used.......it's wasted. We've already noted that our generation is one that is obsessed with time-saving gadgets so now you are asked, what do you do with all that saved time? You are living in the age that has the most wasted time, since time began. It may be because of laziness, or non-productivity, or any number of things, but we have time given to us that we simply do not use.
2. When time is misused......it's wasted . How about you? Do you ever realize after a specific time is passed, you could have done something more beneficial? Maybe your time was not spent in sinful practices, but was rather spent in what has been described as a "profitless expenditure." We certainly know what that means in regards to money, and it means the same thing in regard to time. This does not mean we should never do anything fun, like leisure or recreation. We need those things, too.
3. When time is overused......it's wasted. We all have busy seasons and times, and that's to be expected. I'm referring to the one whose time is wasted when he becomes a workaholic. Not that his work time is wasted, but his time with his family, his prayer time, his rest, even his values and priorities can be out of control.
Now we know why Paul told the Colossians and us, to redeem the time by making the most of every opportunity. Seek the face of God in prayer, as you consider your use of time.