You have seen the movies or TV shows where the clock on the bomb is ticking down to zero and will not stop or take a pause as each second clicks away toward explosion. In most cases the deadly bomb is defused at the last possible split second. But this is exactly how time is always moving inexorably no matter what we do. Every second we get older; before we can blink an eye it seems our children are leaving home; the vacation is coming to an end; the hour long test is down to its 59th minute; we may grow weary with time marching on, but the cosmic clock never does. Nothing stops it, except the promised coming of Jesus. We are creatures of time, bound to its laws. Everything has an end . . . in its time.
We live in constant tension with time. Sometimes it moves too fast, and in another it appears laboriously slow. Young ones want to grow faster; we older wish time would take a break. Yet in every case it moves at its normal pace, never wavers. Time is a necessary element to building relationships, to finishing projects, to healing the body or soul, to achieving goals, to living. And the Bible and its author are very aware of this dilemma: how to use what time you have? God’s Word tells us the days are evil, and in another breath, they are short; so use what you have wisely. It is a gift.
With regard to families, husband and wife, parents and children, time is essential for accomplishing what God pronounces success; an eternal measurement which will be in use at the great judgment. Some say it is the quality of time, not the quantity in the success of family. But any way you cut it, it is still time which is absolutely necessary. Paul writes in this passage in Ephesians that time requires priorities to redeem it, and not waste it. And Paul’s priorities of value for us, though he himself was not married, are found in the rest of this chapter 5 of Ephesians and into the next; the relationship of spouses, parents and children, read employers and employees, and the real spiritual battle common to all until the return of Christ brings everything to a sudden halt.
Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything; indeed the list seems to incorporate every conceivable activity under the sun; and that is exactly our difficulty. We have a vast potpourri to choose from every day of how to spend time. Of course, some is a requirement of responsibilities, but even within such there are choices. So we are faced with a need for specific guidance for our appetites, desires, and choices. The wisdom of Solomon summarizes for you at the end of Ecclesiastes: “Now all has been heard, here is the conclusion of the matter. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
From the whole of Scripture it simply cannot be denied that family and the time required for her success stands very close to the top of God’s priorities. Invest your time wisely; just be sure your spouse and your children come immediately after your relationship with God.
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