(J. A. James, “Christian Zeal“)
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Eph. 5:16
There are three things which, if lost, can never be recovered–time, the soul, and an opportunity.
In order to be useful, it is necessary to cultivate habits of order, punctuality, and the right employment of time.
There is no doing good without the proper use of time.
Two things cannot be done at once. Benevolent service requires time. And how much time is wasted, which the miseries and needs of society require! “Redeem the time!” is a warning that should ever be sounding in our ears!
We need time for the improvement of our own souls–and we need it for the good of others. We can do much with a proper use of time–and nothing without it. There is scarcely anything to which the injunction of our Lord more strictly applies than to time–“Gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.” Order redeems time, so does punctuality–therefore order and punctuality are ways of supplying the time necessary for the exercise of deeds of mercy.
Redeem time from useless reading, and other selfish entertainments–and also from that excessive addiction to the worldly accomplishments of music, arts, and fancy craft-works, which are so characteristic of the present day. That some portion of time may be given to these things is admitted. I am not for parting with the exquisite polish which skill in these matters imparts to female elegance. I love to see the decorations of female mind and manners. Of this I may have to speak again in a future chapter, and therefore shall merely now enquire–when the cries of misery are entering into her ears, and the groans of creation are arising all around her; when countless millions abroad are living and
dying without the light of the gospel and the hope of salvation; when at our own doors will be found so many passing in ignorance and wickedness to their eternal destinies–is it humane for a Christian woman to spend so much precious time each day over her knitting, crotchet, or embroidery work? As she sits plying those needles, and bringing out, it may be, the tasteful design, hour after hour–does she never hear the cry of human woe, “Come over and help us!” Does it never occur to her, how many souls have gone into eternity unprepared to meet their God, since she took her chair and commenced her daily entertainment? Or, even leaving out of view the employment of her time for deeds of mercy to others; is it not an afflicting sight to behold so much time thrown away on these elegant trifles, which might be employed in cultivating one’s own mind and heart, by reading useful Christian literature?
You cannot, systematically, do good either to yourself or others, without redeeming time for the purpose!