4 Ways to Redeem Your Time for the Gospel

More important than action steps is our basic attitude toward time and eternity.

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How do we best redeem our time? More important than action steps is our outlook, our basic attitude toward time and eternity.

We live in an age where adults are trying to stop the unstoppable—the onward march of time. With only so many hours in a day and a limited amount of years in a lifetime, preserving and elongating one’s life has become high priority through trends like extreme fitness, nutritional supplements, human growth hormones, and the cryogenics movement. Fitness and healthy living are commendable, but the mindset that through them you will outpace death is not.

The Bible teaches, emphatically, that we cannot outrun death. Our days are numbered and we cannot presume upon tomorrow (Job. 14:5). Therefore, we should live with the length of eternity, not the length of our earthly days, on the forefront of our minds by stewarding our time like our money—saving it, investing it, and using it, with wisdom and intentionality. 

As such, how we use our time is ultimately a gospel issue. 

The gospel affects how we view our time on this earth, how we allocate our time, and how we conceptualize eternity. How do we best redeem our time? More important than action steps is our outlook, our basic attitude toward time and eternity. 

We must remember, as the apostle Paul teaches us, the days are evil. The apostle writes, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15–16). By this he means that we must live our lives in light of spiritual realities, ministry opportunities, and Great Commission urgencies. 

If we rightly think of time and eternity in light of the gospel, the “ must-do’s ” and the “how-to’s” will largely take care of themselves. This is to say, when our view of time is right, we are preinclined to making the right day-to-day decisions about how we use it. Thus, viewing our time through a biblical and convictional lens is essential. 

Below are 4 steps you can take each day to keep your mind and heart in the right perspective regarding time. 

1. Reflect on the brevity of life and the length of eternity.

Life passes us by at a shockingly rapid pace. With each passing year, this pace seems to pick up speed. One day our kids are born; the next day they graduate high school. One day we enter the workforce; the next day we retire. 

In Psalm 90, a psalm of Moses, he describes the brevity of life and prays that God might “teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts” (v. 12). The brevity of life in the light of eternity creates an even starker contrast between the two, a contrast upon which we must regularly reflect and meditate.

2. Realize the uncertainty of tomorrow.

Prudence is a biblical virtue. Presumption is not. We should save, work, plan, and prepare for life’s contingencies well into the future. At the same time, we cannot assume we will have a future. Consider what Jesus’ brother, James, has to say about this: 

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring— what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So it is sin to know the good and yet not do it.” (James 4:13–17). 

The Bible itself describes our lives as vapors that vanish quickly. We must recognize today that we are not promised tomorrow.

3. Remember, time is your most precious possession.

Time, not money, is your most precious possession. And we often throw away our time in alarming ways: social media, television, and idle chatter. Don Whitney observed, “If people threw away their money as thoughtlessly as they throw away their time, we would think them insane. Yet time is infinitely more precious than money because money can’t buy time.” Yet, this is not just for our own benefit; it is for that of Christ and his kingdom. Our allotment of time is a special gift from him, for us to use in light of our divine stewardship. 

4. Learn to say “no”.

For me, saying the word “no” did not come naturally. I was equipped to say “no” over issues of doctrine, conviction, or morality, but I was much less capable of saying “no” over more subjective, less consequential issues—especially when asked to do something by someone I knew and loved, like family, friends, or fellow church members. 

The result usually was not disaster , but it often brought about some other downside—a dilution of my time and resources. The old adage holds true, when you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else. As such, you will not rightly steward your time until you learn to pronounce the word no. 

It matters how we use our time, because ultimately, our time is a gospel issue. How will you use your time for the gospel? 

Excerpted with permission from Being a Christian: How Jesus Redeems All of Life by Jason K. Allen. Copyright 2018, B&H Publishing Group.

Jason Allen

Dr. Jason K. Allen is president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Kansas City, Mo., and is one of the youngest presidents in all of American higher education. He is the author of two books, The SBC & the 21st Century and Discerning Your Call to Ministry . Dr. Allen regularly posts essays and hosts a weekly podcast, “Preaching & Preachers,” which can be found at jasonkallen.com. He and his wife, Karen, are both from Mobile, Ala., and have five children: Anne-Marie, Caroline, William, Alden, and Elizabeth.