In his letter to believers in Colosse, the Apostle Paul implored believers there to walk in wisdom and redeem time.
Walk in wisdom toward those outside, redeeming the time.Colossians 4:5
What was Paul telling them, and why did he use the word redeem when referring to time?
One of the cornerstones of Kingdom living is understanding how to be good stewards of our time — our most precious commodity. Once it is gone, you can never get it back.
Most life coaches will tell you that the best way to harness the time we have on this earth is to develop routines or daily rituals. They say these habits will save time, and simplify your life. However, while saving time through daily rituals may be a worthwhile goal, believers in Messiah should also be primarily focused on redeeming time.
How You Redeem Time
If you take a closer look at the words time and redeem in the Hebrew and Greek you will discover something very interesting. The first time the word redeem appears in Scripture is in Exodus 6:6.
Therefore say to the children of Israel: I am Yahuah; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.Exodus 6z:6
Redeem in the Hebrew is גאל (Strongs #H1350) which relates to the ancient near east concept of kinship; that is to be the next of kin, and as such, to buy back a relative’s property, marry his widow, etcetera. The Greek word is exagorazo (Strong’s G1805). It means to buy up or ransom or rescue from loss. It comes from the word agorzo (#G58/G59) which means to gather in the marketplace to purchase. It implies the purchase of something. It has little to do with measuring the flow of time.
When you put it all together, the verse could be telling us that there is a window of time to do something. It implies that the opportunity will not always be here. In an agricultural context the meaning becomes clear. There is an appointed time that the farmer has to harvest the crops before the entire field goes bad. What Paul is saying is that we live in evil, dark times. We have limited opportunities to do the good works Yahuah has called us to do. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in the busyness and troubles of each day, we will miss many opportunities to harvest souls for the Kingdom.
This is why establishing daily routines or rituals are important. These habits serve the purpose of putting us on auto pilot, so the routine things of living don’t devour our time.
When you choose to wake up at a set time each morning to study the Scriptures, it is part of the process of redeeming time. Maybe your ritual includes morning prayer or journaling while sipping a cup of coffee. Part of your daily routine can be devoted to exercising and planning healthy meals for your family.
When our days are organized, it frees us up for the important work of loving our neighbor and reaching out to the lost so they can experience the redemption Messiah paid for us on the tree.
Redeeming Time Will Cost You
The process of making the most of each day does not come easy. It requires introspection, prayer, wisdom and planning. When you have set goals for each day and routinely follow a plan, your life becomes less chaotic. Therefore, when you encounter crisis situations, they will be easier to navigate because of the good habits you have already cultivated. You will be able to see the opportunities for ministry Yahuah has set before you. It will be easier to discern the voice of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spiirt) telling you to “go there” or “speak to that person.”
Are you willing to pay the price to redeem the time so that others can be set free?
Brenda Ross is a co-author of the book, “The Gospel Worth Dying For.” She is a former major market radio and television broadcaster who has served as Single’s Ministry Director at one of Houston’s Memorial Drive-area churches, a Jews for Jesus staff volunteer, and participated in mission outreach activities in Costa Rica, Mexico, and China. Urban mission experience includes volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity and catering to the homeless in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.