Written by Fr. Dale Minor - The Reclaim Ministry
My current favorite appliance in our house is a digital clock which not only shows me the time of day, but also tells me the day of the week, the date, and if it is morning or afternoon. In fact, if I get up in the middle of the night, it includes notations such as “after midnight” or “before dawn.” I am not really sure why this is necessary because if I am awake enough to read the clock, I ought to be able to look out the window to see if it is dark or light.
In any regard, I find myself increasingly dependent upon this gadget because, not only am I old, addled, and easily confused, but my current mostly stay-at-home existence allows one day to run into the next. Where I used to be able to count on our Sunday church gatherings to bring into correction any drift in my sense of time and space, I now sit in front of my computer watching the live streaming of the Sunday worship, an activity which isn’t all that different from what I do the other six days of the week. Now, I am not complaining about these broadcasts. I appreciate the efforts these folks have made to provide spiritual nourishment during our time of social distancing; aka “house arrest.”
I clearly remember the days when I worked in an office and often traveled from city to city in my employment. I found I was constantly aware of the clock, mentally calculating the time required for me to travel to a given appointment. I got used to defining distance in terms of hours and minutes instead of miles. And often I became weary of that sense of “being controlled by the clock.”
Now, the measure of time is not a bad thing. It was invented by God. He placed the sun and moon and planets in the heavens and set them in motion. He assigned regularity to their courses and taught us to observe their movement. In this way we were given a sense for time. Our year is a measurement of the time required for one orbit of the earth around the sun, the orbiting of the moon around the earth limits the months, and a day identifies a single revolution of the earth. Even the seasons are the result of the tilted axis of the earth as it makes its journey around the sun. God created time, it was up to man to devise instruments for measuring it and learning to use such devices to define and control their activities.
God’s word speaks a lot about time, primarily for the purpose of directing our thoughts and actions toward its perfect use according to His will. There is, of course, the oft-quoted line from Ecclesiastes 3, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” This is followed by a series of opposing thoughts, “A time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted, etc.” This and similar passages of scripture speak to living in the will of God such as James 4:13-16 which includes the line, “You ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” For, ignoring the will of the Lord is living in ignorance of his timing and is likely to lead to failure and stress.
The Lord also warns against the wasting of our time. This is also expressed in the context of Eccl. 3, but perhaps best in Hebrews 12 which includes the encouragement, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” The clear message here is that we are to seek the Lord and steadfastly follow Him.
Now, it is true that the Lord has not asked us to ignore the effects of sin in the world and the fact that we will experience unforeseen circumstances as well as times of uncertainty like those we are now living. But St. Paul has adequately addressed these in Phil. 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God, and the peace which surpasses understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Time is important, the Lord’s time. Let us not push ours ahead of His.