Use the gift of time
On September 20, the Jews celebrated the New Year, a festival with multiple meanings. So one celebrates the beginning of the annual cycle, commemorates the creation of Adam and Eve and it also commemorates the creation of the universe, which includes the beginning of time. While reading about time, I remembered that time also has several meanings. One is that time is an asset that billionaires and beggars have at the same time. We all have 86.400 seconds a day. But since we cannot save them (Time cannot be overdrawn or withdrawn), the question arises: «How do we use the time that is available to us?»
The value of time
Paul was aware of the value of time and exhorted Christians to "buy the time" (Eph. 5,16). Before we take a closer look at the meaning of this verse, I would like to share a poem with you that describes the great value of time:
To experience the value of time
To find out the value of a year, ask a student who failed in the final exam.
To find out the value of a month, ask a mother who gave birth to a child too soon.
To find out the value of a week, ask the publisher of a weekly newspaper.
To learn the value of an hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to see each other.
To find out the value of a minute, ask someone who has missed his train, bus or flight.
To find out the value of a second, ask someone who has survived an accident.
To learn the value of a millisecond, ask someone who won a silver medal at the Olympics. Time is not waiting for anyone.
Collect every moment that stays with you, because it is valuable.
Share it with a special person and he will become even more valuable.
How is time bought out?
In terms of time, this poem brings to a point that Paul shows in a similar way in Ephesians 5. There are two words in the New Testament that are translated from the Greek to buy out. One is agorazo, which deals with buying things in a normal marketplace (agora) relates. The other is exagorazo, which refers to buying things outside of it. Paul uses the word exagorazo in Eph. 5,15-16 and exhorts us: «Pay careful attention to how you live; do not act unwise, but try to be wise. Seize every opportunity to do good in this bad time »[New Life, SMC, 2011]. In the Luther translation of 1912 it says "buy the time." It seems that Paul wants to urge us to buy time outside of normal market events.
We are not very familiar with the word "buy out". In business life it is understood as "buying empty" or in the sense of "settling down". If a person could not pay their debts, they could make an agreement to hire themselves as servants to the person who owed them until the debts were paid off. Their service could also be terminated prematurely if someone paid the debt in their place. If a debtor was bought out of the service in this way, this process was referred to as “triggering or redeeming”.
Valuables can also be raised - as we know it today from pawnshops. On the one hand, Paul tells us to use or buy time. On the other hand, we see through the context of Paul's instruction that we should be followers of Jesus. Paul tells us to understand that we should focus on the one who has bought the time for us. His argument is not to waste time on other things that keep us from concentrating on Jesus and participating in the work to which he has invited us.
The following is the commentary on Ephesians 5,16:1 from Volume of the »Wuest's Word Studies in the Greek New Testament:
"Buying out" comes from the Greek word exagorazo (ἐξαγοραζω), and means «to buy out». In the middle part, which is used here, it means "buy for yourself or for your own benefit." Metaphorically speaking, it means "seize every opportunity for wise and holy use to do good," so that zeal and good deed are the means of payment through which we acquire time " (Thayer). "Time" is not chronological (χρονος), meaning “time as such”, but kairos (καιρος), «the time that is to be regarded as a strategic, epochal, timely and favorable time period». One should not strive to use the time as such as well as possible, but to take advantage of the opportunities that we have.
Since time cannot normally be viewed as a commodity that can literally be bought out, we understand Paul's statement metaphorically, which essentially means that we should make the best use of the situation we are in. If we do that, our time will have more meaning and meaning and will also "pay off".
Time is a gift from God
As part of God's creation, time is a gift to us. Some have more of it and some less. Because of medical advances, good genetic makeup, and God's blessing, many of us will live to be over 90 years old, and some will even live to be over 100 years old. It doesn't matter how much time God gives us, because Jesus is the Lord of time. Through the Incarnation, the eternal Son of God came from eternity into time. Therefore, Jesus experiences created time differently than it does with us. Our created time is limited in duration, while God's time is unlimited outside of creation. God's time is not divided into sections, as it is with us, in the past, present and future. God's time also has a completely different quality - a type of time that we cannot fully understand. What we can do is (and should be) to live in our time, with the certainty that we will meet our Creator and Redeemer in his time, eternity.
Do not misuse or waste time
When we speak metaphorically about time and say things like "don't waste time", we mean in a way that we could lose the correct use of our precious time. It happens when we allow someone or something to take our time for things that are of no value to us. This is figuratively expressed, the meaning of what Paul wants to tell us: "Buy out the time". He now exhorts us not to misuse or waste our time in a way that causes us to fail to contribute to what is valuable to God and to us Christians.
In this context, since it is about "buying time", we must remember that our time was first bought and regained by God's forgiveness through his son. Then we continue to buy time by using our time properly to contribute to a growing relationship with God and with each other. This buying out of time is God's gift to us. When Paul exhorted us in Ephesians 5,15 to “look carefully at how we live our lives, not as wise things but as wise men,” he instructs us to take the opportunities that time gives us to God to honor.
Our mission »between times»
God has given us the time to walk in his light, to share in the ministry of the Holy Spirit with Jesus in advancing the mission. To do this, we are given the "time between times" of Christ's first and second Advent. Our mission at this time is to help other people find and know God, to help them live a life of faith and love, and to be confident that God will end up creating all of God has bought out fully, which also includes time. I pray that in the GCI we will buy out the time that God has given us by faithfully living and preaching the gospel of God's reconciliation in Christ.
In gratitude for God's gifts of time and eternity,
GRACE COMMUNION INTERNATIONAL