“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” – Colossians 4:5
Scripture Reading: Colossians 4:2-6
There are two aspects to time being underscored in today’s passage—namely, its function and its value. Time in the Bible, first of all, is never abstract, but something God appoints for a reason. According to Ecclesiastes, for example, there is a time for everything: a time to sow and a time to reap, a time to dance and a time to mourn, a time to work and a time to rest, etc. In terms of history, we are presently in the age of mission, of the gospel reaching the ends of the earth. The time for this mission will end when Jesus returns. In this time, therefore, walk in wisdom toward outsiders!
Time, secondly, is precious because it’s God’s gift. As such, time is a friend, not an enemy. Happiness in marriage is generated by committed love that persists for decades. A tree doesn’t bear fruit instantaneously and wine isn’t produced immediately. Beneath the English translation “making the best use of the time” the Greek text has commercial language, i.e., “redeeming the time” or “purchasing/buying the time.” Because time is so precious, Paul says, “buy it, purchase it!” and use it wisely.
How can we redeem time? Paul gives us a concrete example here (v.6): “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.” Then and now, salt was prized for its seasoning potential. In the ancient world, boring speech was called “unsalted.” Our conversations today are to be salty, i.e., appealing, alluring, tasty. In the age of mission, purchase time through winsome speech!
Suggestions for prayer
Thank God for the gift of time and pray that He might show you how best to redeem the time.
Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.