Am I Passing or Redeeming the Time?

I am pondering the passing of time. Are these days wasted time? In social isolation, my wife observed, “one day melts into the next.”

The autobiography of Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990) haunts me. Muggeridge was raised a Socialist and remained agnostic for most of his life. Then, influenced by those whom he called “God’s Spies” (Augustine, William Blake, Blaise Pascal, Leo Tolstoy, Bonhoeffer, Soren Kierkegaard, Mother Teresa) he became a follower of Jesus in the 1960’s. The title of his uncompleted 3 volume autobiography is
Chronicles of Wasted Time.

I don't want these days to be my own “
chronicle of wasted time.”

Moses prayed:
“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12). To “number our days” means to count the brevity of our lives in order to gain a wise and honest assessment of our own finiteness.

But the New Testament commands Christians to be more active — to
“redeem the time.” That is an intense, costly optimizing of our limited opportunities with outsiders (Colossians 4:5) during evil days (Ephesians 5:16) — days of plague, pestilence, or persecution.

There is also a subtle distinction between
chronos and kairos time. You can count or measure your chronological time. But kairos opportunities are seasons to redeem, seize, or make the most of.

Do we have fleeting opportunities during this coronavirus season?

John Calvin commented,
“Time cannot be dedicated to God without being in some way redeemed.” So I have a choice: Do I passively count (perhaps waste) these days? Or do I redeem opportunities?

Redemption will cost me, to love others in a familial, sacrificial way. In the Old Testament, redemption included both kinship and a cost. A kinsman-redeemer paid for your hope and future.

In Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5, the word
“time” is kairos — a season of fleeting opportunity. The word “redeem” is a compound of ex [out of] + agora [marketplace] + zomenoi + [search].

Jesus calls us, in a time of coronavirus, to search for and to buy up real world opportunities for personal kinship and sacrificial service.

  • How do I honor the health care professionals?

  • Do I pray for our national, state, and local leaders — or idolize and demonize them?

  • Am I generous and personable — not just transactional — with those who buy and deliver my food and supplies?

  • Do I sacrifice “pastimes” — like movie streaming and social media — for opportunities to virtually connect with my brothers and sisters, to demonstrate our kinship in Christ?

  • How do I reflect the loving kinship and costly self-sacrifice of Jesus, my Kinsman-Redeemer?


Think about these things. But don't just count your days; redeem the time. This is a fleeting season of real kingdom opportunities!