The story of Zaccheus is found in Luke 19:1-9. He was a rich tax collector, but he was also short; so he climbed a tree to see the Lord passing by. Jesus called him and invited Himself to Zaccheus’ house, a privilege he was overjoyed to receive. In his joy, Zaccheus volunteered to give to the poor half of his possessions and repay anyone he might have defrauded four times as much as he had taken. In response, Jesus remarked, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham” Luke 19:9. For Zaccheus, salvation and redemption weren’t just his personal condition; he made everything in his possession “redeemed”, too.
Everyone who is a Christian has had the Zaccheus moment, when salvation came to us. We were redeemed: forgiven, given a home in Heaven, and given a new kind of life. It just makes us want to stand up and cheer—maybe like Zaccheus. But did we stop at personal redemption? As with Zaccheus, there’s more to our redemption.
There’s the redemption of our stuff: money, possessions, homes, cars, food, etc. Can stuff really be redeemed? It’s interesting how Romans 8:19-21 talks of the whole created universe longing for redemption, isn’t it? And if the whole creation wants to be redeemed, perhaps your stuff would like to go from being used for ordinary, sometimes sinful, purposes to being used for God’s purposes. Your contribution is redeemed stuff. Giving a ride to those in need is redeeming the car. Your home used for Christian hospitality makes it a redeemed home. Food provided for the hungry and clothes for the needy are all ways of redeeming our stuff. Grow beyond personal redemption, redeem your stuff, too.
Have you ever thought about redeeming your time? Paul wrote to the Ephesians that they should be “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16, KJV). The book of Ecclesiastes has a lot to say about the time that we waste on things that won’t last (“vanity of vanities, all is vanity!”); but it concludes with what gives meaning to our lives, “fear God and keep His commandments” (Eccl. 12:13). While there are things that we ordinarily do that are truly important to sustain ourselves and meet the needs of our families, do I really need to list the many ways that tend to just “kill” time? Instead of killing time, let’s redeem it. Let’s use it to promote the Gospel, help those in need, encourage the church, and “…store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matthew 6:20). Grow beyond personal redemption and redeem your time, too.
And let’s also redeem our talents and opportunities. Moses had been trained in leadership in the palace of the Pharaoh, but by Exodus 3, he was content with using all that talent as a shepherd in the middle of the wilderness. Esther had been elevated to queen of Persia, but when the chance to rescue her people first presented itself to her, she wanted to pass on it. The apostle Paul in Romans 12:6-8 encourages the Christian in Rome (and everywhere) to use the talents and opportunities the Lord gives to us with our whole heart and at full capacity in His service—redeem the talents and opportunities.
Full redemption is about more than a saved soul. It is also about living a redeemed life, using our stuff in redeemed ways, spending our time in redeemed hours, and engaging our skills, talents, and opportunities with redemption in mind. Live a fully redeemed life!