The word in Ephesians 5.16 that is translated as ‘time’ or ‘opportunity’ depending on the translation used, comes from the Greek word ‘kairos‘.
Kairos is one of my favourite Bible words. It is a beautiful word and we don’t really have a good equivalent in English.
There are, in fact, two words used for ‘time’ in the New Testament, chronos and Kairos. Chronos is the word from which we get our word, chronological. It means sequential time – seconds that turn in to minutes that turn into hours. Each of us is given the same amount of chronos each day, 24 hours.
Kairos describes a very different kind of time. It is a specific time when conditions are right for a certain action. It is a moment when something special can happen. It is a special opportunity that we don’t want to miss.
All time is precious and it is good to be careful with chronos. None of us wants to waste any of the hours we have in a day, but it is far more important not to waste Kairos time.
Have you ever thought about the fact that some moments have more value than others?That is why it isn’t enough to just be efficient with my time, I need to be discerning with it. Living carefully means seeing the potential in a Kairos moment and making the most of it.
Life is very busy. We all have demands on our time and just working for a living, raising a family, studying a subject or progressing in a career takes up many hours in a day. Wash has to be done, meals have to be cooked, kids need taxi rides and papers need to be written. Sometimes the time we are left with doesn’t feel like much.
But Ephesians 5.16 really is the most wonderful promise. If we can spot God-opportunities and make the most of them, we can redeem our time. We can buy it back from insignificance and spend it on what really matters.
But how can we recognize Kairos time? What does it look and feel like?
It feels like a God-interruption. It feels like heaven’s extraordinary life touching my ordinary one. Kairos is the eternal bumping into the temporal.
It is the day when a teenager opens up about something they are struggling with as you drive in the car together. It is when your neighbour asks a question about church as you bring your groceries in. It is the day you feel an injection of faith to pray for a situation and you just know God is going to answer. It is that Sunday service when God touches you and you are changed, really changed.
These are times of reaping and multiplication and supernatural provision. They are moments infused with spiritual potential. But they are often brief windows of opportunity. We must seize them before they slip by, unused and wasted.
Let’s ask God for the grace to sense His wonderful, heavenly interruptions and to respond to them with open and obedient hearts.