by Tim Hall
A television commercial for a wireless telephone
company showed a mother scolding her son. The small
discs he had placed in a yard sale represented unused
cell phone minutes. "But they're old," the son
protested. "That doesn't matter," snapped the mother,
"they're still good."
As we stand on the shore of a new year, let us look
back to 2009 and consider all the unused minutes we
The typical American, we're told, has more leisure time
than at almost any other point in world history. But
what do we do with those minutes (which accumulate into
hours, days, weeks)?
Though we often hear others lament their lack of time
for important things, is that really so? Don't we spend
some of our minutes mindlessly watching television or
surfing the Internet? Do the electronic games we play
and other games we watch really qualify as vital?
If we're honest we'll have to admit there's a trail of
wasted time we left behind in 2009.
Before we commit the same mistakes again, let us
contemplate Paul's admonition in Ephesians 5:16:
"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (NKJV).
According to one Greek dictionary, the word translated
as "redeeming" carries the idea of "rescuing from
loss." Instead of watching those minutes wither and
waste, maybe we could put them to productive use.
The New Century Version renders Paul's words even more
clearly: "Use every chance you have for doing good,
because these are evil times." That statement is as
true today as when Paul first wrote it.
A similar statement is found in Colossians 4:5,6:
"Walk in wisdom toward those who are
without, redeeming the time. Let your speech
always be with grace, seasoned with salt,
that you may know how you ought to answer
Perhaps if we used our time more wisely, those who are
without, might join us within.
Let's not deceive ourselves: God has not given us a
year's worth of minutes. Life is guaranteed to no one.
Manna was given to Israel on a daily basis (Exodus
16), but minutes are doled out more minutely (no pun
Maybe the best use of this next minute I'm given would
be for prayer: "Lord, give me wisdom to use this
precious gift so good can be accomplished."
"So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a
heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).