Summary: A bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you "kick the bucket." But God warns us that there is one item we MUST have on that "bucket list." What is that "one item", and how do accomplish it?
Did you realize all the things we do with time? We “MAKE” time, and we TAKE time, for things that are important to us. We “SAVE” time with all kinds of gadgets and doodads. We “MARK” time, we “KILL” time, we “RACE AGAINST” time. AND (someone noted) that the worst thing you can do with time, is “WASTE” time.
ILLUS: One little girl complained to her mother after her first WEEK at school “I’m wasting my time. I can’t read, I can’t write--and they won’t let me talk!”
In our text today (in the ESV) we read that we need to “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:15-16
Now if I read that verse just in the ESV, I’d think that Paul was SIMPLY saying don’t waste your time. But it’s more than that. I looked it up for you - the Greek word Paul uses here is “exagorazo” which means to “REDEEM” the time. It’s the same word Paul used in Galatians 3:13 “Christ REDEEMED us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…”
To REDEEM means - to purchase, to buy, to obtain by making a payment. Paul is telling us that our time is so crucial, so critical, that we must treat it like a valuable and precious commodity that MUST NOT be squandered and wasted.
We must redeem the time (he says) - but why? What’s so critical about time that it must be redeemed? Most of us would think the reason time is valuable because we only have so much of it. Sooner or later, we’re all gonna die. Now, if you’re blessed you may live 80 or 90 or100 years, but sooner or later your time is gonna run out. So don’t waste your time!!!
But that is not really what Paul says here. “Redeem the time… because the days are evil.”
ILLUS: What does that mean? Well, think about it this way. Do you have a bucket list? A bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” And what people have on their bucket list tells you a lot about their priorities. They want to go to Europe, make a “Hole In One”, swim with dolphins, go deep sea fishing, meet a famous person or jump out of an airplane. There’s all kinds of things you could put on your “bucket list” - and there’s nothing wrong with those things (except maybe jumping out of an airplane).
It’s a wish list, and God’s OK with that kind of thing. But He warns us not to be foolish. He warns us NOT to leave one thing OFF that list. What is that ONE THING we must not leave off our bucket list? “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:17
Everything else you put on your bucket list is just for fun, but this one – this “understanding the will of the Lord… this one is serious. We live in an Evil time, and the choices we make have eternal consequences. We live in a world of evil. All you have to do is watch the news, or spend some time on Social Media, and you KNOW things aren’t right!
It’s an evil world and God has saved you and I do something about it - and that SOMETHING He’s saved us to do is for us to shine our little light into this dark world. “At one time you were darkness, but now you are LIGHT in the Lord. Walk as children of light… and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8 & 10
Jesus said “You are the light of the world”. That means you and I are called to reflect HIS LIGHT into this dark world, and the only way we’re going to do that effectively is to UNDERSTAND what God’s will is.
So, how do we do that? How do we learn God’s will? Well, you’d think the answer would be - read your Bible. Memorize huge swaths of Scripture. Meditate on God’s Word day and night. And that is good stuff because that’s what God expects of us.
But the problem is, if that’s all you do (immerse yourself in Scripture) you could end up like the Pharisees. The Pharisees knew more of their Bible than most of us, but there was something missing in their lives. And so, in place of asking us to Memorize and Meditate… Paul writes this: “… do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery (meaning - lacking salvation), but be filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18
What? What’s he talking about here? Well, he’s saying that in order for us to fully understand God’s will, we must be totally controlled by God’s Spirit. And then he makes an odd comparison: “don’t get drunk on wine” he says. That seems illogical until you understand what he’s trying to say.