Productivity: Redeeming Your Time

from Dec 31, 2014 Category: Articles

When I was a child in elementary school, people often asked me, “What is your favorite subject?” Invariably my response was one of two things. I either said, “recess” or “gym.” My answer revealed my deepest predilections. I preferred play to work. Indeed, my nascent philosophical musing regarding the cosmic “Why?” questions took place as I made a game of walking to school via tiptoeing along a long path, pretending I was a high-wire walker in a circus.

I asked myself the meaning of life wherein I had to spend five days a week doing what I didn’t want to do just so I could play on the weekends. I was always at the schoolyard a full hour before school began—not out of a zeal for getting a head start on my studies, but so I could “redeem” the daily grind by having an hour’s worth of fun on the playground before the school bell rang. For me, time redemption meant rescuing precious minutes of play from the required hours of work.

I’ve come to realize that when the apostle Paul exhorted his readers to “[redeem] the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16), my practices are not exactly what he had in mind. His was a solemn call to the productive use of one’s time in the labor of Christ’s kingdom.

The Great Leveler

Time is the great leveler. It is the one resource that is allocated in absolute egalitarian terms. Every living person has the same number of hours to use in every day. Busy people are not given a special bonus added on to the hours of the day. The clock plays no favorites.

We all have an equal measure of time in every day. Where we differ from one another is in how we redeem the time allotted. When something is redeemed, it is rescued or purchased from some negative condition. The basic negative condition we are concerned with is the condition of waste. To waste time is to spend it on that which has little or no value.

The late Vince Lombardi introduced the adage, “I never lost a game; I just ran out of time.” This explanation points me to one of the most dramatic elements of sports—the race against the clock. The team that is most productive in the allotted time is the team that wins the game. Of course, in sports, unlike life, there are provisions for calling timeout. The clock in a sports contest can be temporarily halted. But in real life, there are not timeouts.

See also:

Scriptures for further study: Ephesians 5:15–16; Psalm 31:15; 1 Corinthians 7:29; Psalm 89:47; Hosea 10:12; Mark 13:33