The essence of time

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We’ve all heard it . . . not to mention the many times we’ve said it ourselves . . . “I don’t have time.“

My own words echo back at me as I write.

Sometimes the important and the not so important vie for our attention and time, and we can become distracted from what really needs to be done.

Our lives can sometimes resemble a circus juggling act—we struggle to stay focused on the important.

That unwritten letter (yes, some people still write them) or to be more tech savvy, that email you meant to send last week. The phone call to a sick friend, that unfinished assignment begging to be completed before the dreaded, fast-approaching deadline . . . umm have I even started it yet?

The kids’ school photo day you forgot. Uniforms crushed and wrinkled . . . still in the dryer.

Never mind the ironing, no time, just wear them as they are . . . oh dear, lunches still to be made!

The list goes on and on. I’m sure without any stretch of the imagination you can add a few of your own personal scenarios regarding time or the lack thereof.

Among other descriptions, Collins Dictionary describes time as an opportunity.

Now is a good time to ask ourselves, How often have we missed an opportunity?

Or perhaps—not even noticed an opportunity.

An opportunity to help heal a broken heart, go the extra mile to lend a helping hand . . . even when we really feel we don’t have a second to spare in our busy schedule.

Have we ignored an opportunity “to speak a word in due season“ as Isaiah 50:4 reminds us, because we are in a hurry.

A pearl of wisdom once read also speaks to me—Don’t stumble on things that are behind you.

Some things need to be dealt with to be sure, but other things like regrets and missed opportunities can eat us up if we continually focus on them and allow them to consume us.

“Undone things” can certainly trip us up, but if we can’t change the situation, we must let it go.

The prayer of Serenity is wise advice:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.“

The relentless march of time hangs heavy on us all at times . . . sometimes for good reason.

The story of King Agrippa is a point in hand.

Having testified for his faith in Jerusalem, the apostle Paul is sent to Felix, the governor of Caesarea, who, finding no fault in him, leaves him in chains to pacify the accusing Jews, hell bent on killing him.

Under much duress, Paul is shuffled from Governor Felix to Governor Festus, to King Agrippa, where Paul tells of his miraculous conversion experience before a hostile audience.

The story is recorded for us in Acts 25 and 26.

I often wonder if King Agrippa ever regretted his decision to close his ears to Paul’s appeal to repentance and liberation in Christ. 

A missed opportunity to know the Creator of the universe. One far greater than the earthly king himself.

One of whom Paul spoke so eloquently and passionately about.

One for whom Paul was willing to die for.

Sadly for King Agrippa . . . the time was not convenient—“almost you persuade me“.

Poignant words, tinged with some ambivalence.

Did King Agrippa ever ponder his encounter with Paul and regret a missed opportunity? Only eternity will tell.

Many in our hectic, time poor society struggle with interpersonal relationships. 

They/we don’t make time to get to know the real person inside.

Speed dating? Really. 

Surely, we have not allowed ourselves to become that busy-and yet it seems we have. 

How is it life has become so flimsy, so superficial? 

Our throwaway society not only tosses out consumable goods, but sadly people as well—often the very vulnerable.

This poses a thought-provoking question: why are we so time poor, given all our labour-saving devices?

Could it be we have left God behind?

In our relentless pursuit to manage our time, some have forgotten the Author of time, the God of the universe.

For those who ignore the hands of time—be assured it waits for no-one.

The Doomsday clock, so called, located at Chicago University in the US, reminds us even from a secular point of view that we are dangerously close to midnight . . . 100 seconds in fact, and counting!

May King Agrippa’s story not be ours—will there ever be a convenient time to choose a personal relationship with God?

Not if the enemy of this world has his way.

Now this may seem a contradiction, in another sense we don’t have time . . . we don’t have time to waste on distractions that lead us away from the task entrusted to each of us in reaching out to a troubled world. 

Our earthly home is on a collision course with its Creator. Paul’s warning in 2 Corinithians 6:2b is a timely reminder to us all. “Behold now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.“ We may not be granted tomorrow or a more “convenient” time.

Now is all we may have-it’s not too late to do a U-turn in life, but some day soon it will be. Hebrews 4:7b is also good admonition, along with Amos 8:11,12.

Don’t trade the here today, gone tomorrow things of this life for eternity, no matter how alluring they may seem to be.

Time speaks to us all . . . are we listening?

Lyn Scarr attends Ocean Shores church, New South Wales.

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