Make the Most of It
by Paulo Lopes
Director of Emerging Leadership
World Methodist Evangelism
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 – NIV)
An English phrase I catch myself saying all the time is “I need to make time for this.” My intentions are always good when I say it. Because I realize there are things I would like to (or should) be doing with my time. Unfortunately, it seems there is never enough time to do them.
As I think about it, I realize there’s a problem with that phrase. This is because there is really no such thing as “making time.” Actually, that’s not completely true. Scripture tells us that time has an author, and He is not making more of it on this side of eternity. You see, as much as I would like to, I just can’t “make time.”
Scripture does however have a solution for us. It counsels us to redeem or “make the most of every opportunity” with the time we actually have! Like redeeming a promotional code or a gift certificate for all of its value. We are called to maximize time to its full potential. However, the danger here is to trade the biblical “making the most of every opportunity” for its counterfeit idea, carpe diem, originally found in Roman poet Horace’s work, Odes. You see, carpe diem (seize the day) is typically see as call to make one’s life extraordinary, memorable, etc. It usually involves things like jumping out of an airplane, taking a spontaneous trip, or making a big career move. But that isn’t necessarily making the most of your time. Instead, it could actually be wasting some of the most valuable opportunities God has for us in the time we’ve been given.
If you read Ephesians 5:16 in context, “making the most of every opportunity” is connected to living a life that pleases God. When the same phrase is used in another text, Colossians 4:5, the context is introducing people to Christ. You see, we redeem time when we make decisions and take actions that affect eternity, when time will cease to be.
One day time will end. Consequently, the greatest moments of our lives will be the ones we carry into eternity. Seeing coworkers and friends who are far from God be filled with life in Christ; Using our gifts and graces to solve meaningful problems and make people’s lives better as a present sign of things to come; Overcoming a sin that has plagued our family for generations; Building God-honoring families and raising children in the ways of Jesus.
We have the time to do these things every day. If something eternally insignificant is taking up the time that God has given us, we can’t make more time. Our option is to simply get rid of it. God’s power to impact the world and eternity through us is unlimited. Our time is not. Let us make the most of every opportunity!