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How can we measure the preciousness of time? How can we grasp the folly of wasting this precious gift? As the months of 2024 slip by, we are all being brought closer and closer to the day of reckoning when we will give an account of how we spent every moment to the God who gave them all to us.

Moses prayed on behalf of every generation of God’s people, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). So also, Paul pleads with us to live wisely, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16, KJV). The word translated “redeeming” literally means “to buy out.” The Greek prefix “out” implies bondage and danger from which the time must be rescued. So does the word “redeem,” for the biblical concept of redemption is of the rescue of a powerless victim from bondage, danger, or death by the payment of a price. See every day like that. Time is like David’s family, taken captive from Ziklag by the Amalekites (1 Sam. 30). David had to go fight to rescue them. See every Monday, every Tuesday, every noon hour, every month of May the same way. They must be redeemed, Paul says, because “the days are evil.” Without faith-filled exertion, this particular day will be lost for all eternity. Its deeds will burn like wood, hay, and straw because it was not improved for the kingdom of Christ. So, Lord, teach us all to number our days.

In a very real sense, Moses’ prayer is a paradox. How can we “number our days” properly if, as James says, we have no idea whether we’ll even be alive tomorrow (James 4:14)? I think it begins with being intensely aware that our time here on earth is limited. As David cried out, “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!” (Ps. 39:4). It continues by believing that all the days ordained for us were written in God’s book of decrees before one of them came to be, so they all have a definite purpose (Ps. 139:16). Then it extends to understanding how precious time must be if our eternity depends on our making the most of every day by trusting in Christ as Savior. It is in the fullness of time that Christ came, and at just the right time we must trust in Him. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 3:7–8). Finally, it resides in our seeing each moment of each day as a crafted gift from God never to be repeated, in which God has prepared eternally consequential good works for us to do, unique works that we can never do again once that specific moment has passed.

Dear reader, number your days properly. Redeem them by faith in Christ. Exhaust their potential by energetic labor. And look forward eagerly to a world when time will be redeemed.

Cornelius’ Servants Arrive

Peter Meets Cornelius

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