Summary: Ephesians 5:16 shows us the 1) Gift of Time and the 2) Grappling with Time
You may not realize it, but your appreciation of time this morning goes well beyond the challenges of adjusting to daylight-savings time.
There was a time when time was a relatively simple thing. People were born, grew up, grew old and died. Days, seasons and years past. Then along came Newton and told us there was nothing in the laws of the universe that forced time to march forward. And Einstein developed this further with the idea that time could be stretched or shrunk, depending on how you looked at it. Now physicists are looking at the nature of time itself.
Dr. Paul Wesson, from the University of Waterloo thinks our whole notion of time may be wrong. He’s looked at Einstein’s equations, and thinks time is just an illusion we create to make sense of the universe. He says that all the events in the universe are all occurring at the same time, there’s no past, or future.
Dr. Lawrence Shulman, a professor of physics from Clarkson University in New York state has a different view of time. He does think it’s flowing forwards, with small pockets of backwards time existing within our universe. He’s done the calculations and found that backward and forward time can exist side by side.
Finally, Dr. Ronald Mallet, a physicist at the University of Connecticut also thinks time can flow backwards. He’s in the process of designing a time machine, using light to twist time. (Taken from CBC radio: Quirks & Quarks. September 8th 2001.”It’s About Time!”) (http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/archives/01-02/sep0801.htm)
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:16 explained how we should understand and use time. In Ephesians he presented to the Christians there how they should regard one another in various forms of love. One of the most loving things we can do for another person is to give them our time in considerate ministry. Time is the one resource that we all have to give.
The challenge that each of us has, it that there are so many demands on our time. We must make choices between work, family and leisure. If we fail to consider the use of our time, someone else will decide for us.
In this one verse, Paul shows us the 1) Gift of Time and the 2) Grappling of Time
1) The Gift of Time: Ephesians 5:16a.
Ephesians 5:16a making the best use of the time, (because the days are evil). (ESV)
Paul did not here use chronos, the term for clock time, the continuous time that is measured in hours, minutes, and seconds.
He rather used kairos, which denotes a measured, allocated, fixed season or epoch. The idea of a fixed period is also seen in the use of the definite article in the Greek text, which refers to the time, a concept often found in Scripture (cf. Ex. 9:5; 1 Pet. 1:17). God has set boundaries to our lives, and our opportunity for service exists only within those boundaries. It is significant that the Bible speaks of such times being shortened, but never of their being lengthened.
• Our English word opportunity comes from the Latin and means “toward the port.” It suggests a ship taking advantage of the wind and tide to arrive safely in the harbor. The brevity of life is a strong argument for making the best use of the opportunities God gives us (Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Eph 5:15).
Having sovereignly bounded our lives with eternity, God knows both the beginning and end of our time on earth. As believers we can achieve our potential in His service only as we maximize the time He has given us.
Illustration: An ancient Greek statue depicted a man with wings on his feet, a large lock of hair on the front of his head, and no hair at all on the back. Beneath was the inscription: What is thy name? My name is Opportunity. Why hast thou wings on thy feet? That I may fly away swiftly. Why hast thou a great forelock? That men may seize me when I come. Why art thou bald in back? That when I am gone by, none can lay hold of me.”
Exagorazô (making the best use/most of) has the basic meaning of buying, especially of buying back or buying out. It was used of buying a slave in order to set him free; thus the idea of redemption is implied in this verse. We are to redeem, buy up, all the time that we have and devote it to the Lord.
• We should not wait for opportunity to fall into our laps but should but it up (William Hendrikson. Baker New Testament Commentary. 2002. p.237).
The Greek in this phrase is in the middle voice, indicating that we are to buy the time up for ourselves—for our own use but in the Lord’s service. It is also in the Greek present tense which denotes keep on buying.