Redeeming the Time
by Kelly McDonald, Jr.
“Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16, WEB)
Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes we neglect to do something we should have done. At other times, we do things we later regret. Sometimes, you may think to yourself: “I spent so much of my life going away from God, how can I be used by Him now?” You may feel like you have wasted time; the good news is that God can redeem the time!
In Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them on a journey. In verses 38-39, the Bible reads, “Paul did not think it wise to take him [John Mark], because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus…” John Mark abandoned the believers in the middle of an evangelistic campaign. He suddenly stopped serving God. The Bible does not tell us how long John Mark was gone, but we can imagine that it was long enough to make Paul very upset. Paul did not want to travel with him any longer.
Just imagine the shame and frustration cast upon John Mark. The leading Apostle of the Gentiles, Paul, refused to work with him. I am sure all of his friends and family said something to him about this. The embarrassment probably weighed heavily on John Mark’s mind. In Acts 15, we learn that Barnabas decided to give him another chance.
Mark had an incredible turn around. At the end of his life, the Apostle Paul said, “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11, NKJV). Later in life, he was restored by Paul and became a tremendous help to him. He was also called Peter’s son in the Lord (I Peter 5:13). John Mark had a greater impact at the end of his life than he did in the beginning.
In Ephesians 5:15-16, Paul exhorted us to “redeem the time.” How do we redeem the time? You may have spent many years of your life running away from God. If you turn to God wholeheartedly, He is able to get you back on track in much less time than you spent running away. By simply sharing your testimony with others about what God has done for you, you help redeem the time for yourself and for others as well.
You may have had a calling on your life to serve in a specific area of service to God, whether it is preaching, teaching, singing, writing, praying, or just to be a witness to others. It is never too late to start serving the Lord. Just like John Mark, you can have greater impact at the end of your life than you did at the beginning.
Kelly McDonald Jr. is president of the BSA. You can follow him at http://www.kellymcdonaldjr.com