Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV).
The month of February is the shortest of our calendar. Thinking about that brought me to our reading today. The Apostle Paul uses two important words to help us look at our time.
The Greek word, translated “making the best use,” is exagorazo. It actually comes from two Greek words, ek (meaning from or from out of) and agorazo (meaning to purchase). Exagorazo appears four times in the Bible. Other than here, we find it in Colossians and Galatians. Exagarazo is a marketplace term. When you redeem someone from slavery, as Christ redeemed us, you are purchasing them, purchasing them out of (exagarazo) their slavery. You are paying the price to take them out of a bad situation.
The Greek word for “time” is kairos. But not just any idea of time: Kairos isn’t about minutes and seconds and wristwatches and sundials. It’s not about the flow of time or a specific measurement of time. Instead, kairos carries with it the idea of the right time, the idea of a pre-determined time or an opportune time. “How much time before lunch?” would not use the word kairos. “Is it time to have lunch?” would. One is speaking of time in minutes and seconds, where the other is speaking of a point in time. Furthermore, kairos doesn’t have to be an instant. It could be a short window of time, like time to take a break. Or it could be a longer window of time, as in harvest time. And in those examples, the kairos is the time where you better get moving. Those crops aren’t going to harvest themselves. It is the appointed time, the proper time, the slice of time where you have an opportunity, but that kairos is going to eventually slip away. Redeeming the time, to exagarazo the kairos, you are purchasing out of slavery the fleeting opportunities that you are presented with. In other words, you “make the most of every opportunity” or “make the most of your time.”
How can we best do that? Paul says it is through understanding the will of God. That might seem to be a difficult thing if it were not for the specific direction of the Scripture. Micah helps enormously:
With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:6-8 ESV).
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