03 November 2005

…On redeeming the time

As those “in Christ,” we confess that we are not the owner of what we possess but the steward. That is, we recognize that we are to manage that which inherently comes from and belongs to God. Stewardship often is thought of as merely the giving of a portion of our income to the church, but that view completely misses the Biblical perspective. Stewardship accounts for, not a portion but, all…and not just all of our money! For the Christian, the responsibility and duty of Biblical stewardship encompasses all of life and all that life includes—with the understanding that the “all” has not, strictly speaking, been given but entrusted. Rightly understood, the good steward endeavors to put in service, for the owner’s benefit, all that has been entrusted to him; possessions, abilities, and time—even his or her “free” time.

Paul wrote, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:15-16) We are to make the best use of the allocated and measured lifetime we are given on earth, in recognition of the brevity of life (Psalm 90:12). We are also to live life circumspectly—that is, accurately or precisely with great care and prudence—recognizing the reality of evil in the world around us.

This Biblical teaching calls us to consider how we spend our time—even our free time—and whether those activities demonstrate good stewardship of that time. That is where the practice and discipline of reading comes in. Spending (or redeeming) time reading good books stretches and strengthens the mind, increasing discernment and the ability to be circumspect. It is a “best-use” of the time we are entrusted with. Reading helps equip us for life and its challenges, as well as its responsibilities and duties. Let us grow in the stewardship of our “free” time and let us frequently take up and read!

(first published in DeiLight October 2004)