Life is so short. Whether you live to be ninety years old or 19, life is just a breath.
We, humans, handle that information in a number of ways.
Some of us try the ‘carpe diem’ approach. We seize minutes and hours and days and try to squeeze every drop of adventure out, travelling the world with our ‘bucket list’ in hand. The mantra is, ‘no procrastination, no regrets.’ And hopefully, no time to think about much else. We live for experiences and pleasure, grabbing life by the throat before it has a chance to disappoint us.
Others of us believe we can outwit ageing. With a mixture of denial, health food and exercise we pretend we have control of our mortality. If I look young and feel young I can close my eyes to reality and just absorb the unrealistic optimism shared by those next to me in the gym.
Still, others worship at the altar of mindfulness and spirituality. We believe this is the way to add meaning where there isn’t any. We hope that crystals and candles will bring something eternal, something transcendent. If only we can live life in the moment, maybe it won’t slip through our hands so quickly. If we can tap into something bigger, something greater, perhaps we can infuse our existence with significance.
But the Bible always deals with truth head-on. Life is short. We will all die and we don’t get to choose when. We cannot preserve our lives or prolong them substantially. If we keep them, we lose them. If we hold onto to minutes and hours in the hope of getting more out of life, we actually get less. Even bucket lists disappoint and mindful living falls short.
In fact, there is only one way to live this life carefully and that is to spend it well.
John Piper, in his book, ‘Don’t waste your life, “But whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life.”
Life isn’t to be saved, it is to be spent. We live life well when we spend it on what matters.
That is what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 5. when he says to redeem the time. The Greek word for ‘redeem‘ is ‘exagorazo’, which means to pay a price to recover something from the power of another.
You see, there is a price to pay to buy back our lives from futility and that price is faithful obedience. Nothing else works, no Instagram worthy trips or fancy stuff or youthful skin. The only way to inject meaning into our lives is to see opportunities to do good and to take them. Every moment spent worshipping Jesus or loving my kids or sharing my faith or praying with a friend has eternal value and it rescues my life from the curse of insignificance.
Our lives are meant to be given away in love for God and others. Our time, instead of trying to save it, can be spent generously and without regret. We can buy back our daily routines from the world’s value system, that so often produces emptiness and despair. And, we can redeem every day of our lives for the glory and God and the good of everyone who is a part of it.
What a gift, what a privilege this life we have been given is. It is precious Kingdom currency.
Invest it well.