making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:16 | NIV | Other Versions | Context
In Ephesians 5, Paul continues to urge the church of Ephesus to walk in a manner that is worthy of the calling that they have received [Eph 4:1] – and in today’s study, we’ll zoom in on the importance of walking in wisdom by using our time wisely. God may be timeless, but time is an important concept to mankind – all humans live within the fixed paradigm of time, and we as Christians believe that we live on borrowed time – we do not know when our time on this earth will come to pass, and yet we do not deserve the grace given us that has allowed for us to live on till today – and hence the idea of borrowed time. Since this time is borrowed, let us make good use of it, because it won’t last forever.
making the most of every opportunity – One of the more poignant stories that one of my pastors remembers dearly is how his eldest son, as a foreign student in America, made a friend whom he felt he should share the gospel with strongly. However, he allowed himself excuses and he kept stalling, thinking, next week, after I submit my assignment. Next week, after I finish my quiz. Next month, after I finish my exams. Before he knew it, it was summer, and he returned home to his country, resolving to share the gospel with her the first thing next semester. The new semester came, and he was truly resolved to talk to her about God, but he couldn’t find her. Days passed, and he learnt that she had died over the summer break. He had the opportunity, but it passed by him. What he lost was not just a friend, but the salvation of a friend he cared about.
It’s a common story. You and I may have gone through similar episodes. Paul speaks of opportunities – and there are indeed many around us, waiting for us to discover them. We are often not sensitive to the doors of opportunities that are around us. What are these opportunities? In the story above, the opportunity was to share the gospel with a friend. That’s common, and we most certainly have many other opportunities to do good as well. Other versions declare it differently – redeem our time; make the most of your time – but perhaps there’s a hint of buying up our time in it as well, as opposed to stalling for time. Let us buy up every chance and opportunity we get to do God’s work. Let us find opportunities for Christ in the things that we do secularly. Let us live out God’s words even in the marketplace or even in campus. There are opportunities everywhere, if you would only open your eyes to look for them. And even if it’s something you are not used to doing, if the spirit prompts, do not reject it – do not put out the Spirit’s fire [1 Thes 5:19|Article].
Referring once again to the story above, there are some things in life that, once lost, is squandered forever. There are many opportunities that won’t come by us a second time. There are some opportunities that once we miss it, are lost to the world forever. Let us not dilly-dally our time away and find ourselves in that sort of a situation again and again. Let us use our time efficiently and carefully and diligently – not doing things in haste, though. There are some things that we need to wait for, and we must wait. But while waiting for those things, there are perhaps many other things we can do. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven [Ecc 3:1|Article]. It takes wisdom to know what to do in a certain time. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity [Col 4:5].
because the days are evil – evil lurks at every corner, for we live in a sinful world in a sinful age and in sinful times. And yet because of the prevalence of evil, because evil has permeated every corner, there is a greater need for the light of Christ to shine around everywhere. We’re fighting against time, plainly speaking. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” [James 4:14-15|Article] Let us be wise in these times of evil – Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil [Amos 5:13]. It takes wisdom to know when to speak, and it takes wisdom to know when it is no longer necessary to speak or to act. Even as we should make the most of our time and grab our opportunities, let us act with wisdom and for the good of God’s glory.
Let us pray for wisdom to be discerning in the way we use our time. Let us pray that we will be sensitive to the opportunities that are around us, that we will grab them with sound judgement and not in foolish haste. Let us also make the most of our time and opportunities with a loving heart. There are many ways to do good, and some of these ways include a little bit of evil. Let us be wary of that, too.