Time and I used to be friends. I had plenty. Life was good. Then I grew up and life started making demands. That’s when time and I became enemies. Jesus says, “pray for your enemies.”
It’s really tough to pray for something as intangible as time, so I personified it. I imagined it as a kind of Alice-in-Wonderland, rabbit with a pocket watch, type person. Then it didn’t look so much like an enemy. I looked more like the enemy. What was opposing me was not time itself, but how I was spending it. And that’s the thing, resources that are scarce demand our attention and careful management. At church we call this stewardship.
Oddly enough, a few places where I might have spent my time have not materialized this fall. After I got over lamenting my “regular” activities I realized I was left with some extra time to spend. But, recognizing it’s preciousness, I admit I have become a bit stingy. At church we call this discernment.
Still, with my handful of time, I investigated the PALS information table after services yesterday. That’s the Floris partnership that matches up an adult mentor with a child at Hutchison Elementary for a once a week lunch date. Tracy Saunders made it sound wonderful in her blog post, Time Well Spent. I tried to be unobtrusive as I scanned the handouts on the table, but Jake McGlothin, our director of Serve ministries, caught me. I mentioned that I had some extra time this fall. Now don’t tell Jake that you have extra time. Because he is very happy to say,”Oh, you can give more than an hour? We can sign you up for a whole morning if you’d like.” I love Jake; he has an incredible heart for what he does and the people he serves.
But I recognize that I have a time temptation problem. When I hear of a need or get word of something I can do, I tend to jump at the chance. I’m in recovery, though. I’m taking it to prayer. Praying for my relationship with my (former) enemy, time, and my current enemy, my time expenditure.
Somehow, when I bring stuff to God, even my enemies look different. Oh, I can’t say He banished my enemy with a backhand. No, He is more gracious than that. He sends me small ways to address my enemies. Like a watch – that tells the time, complete with alarm, stopwatch and illumination features, but also a chime – which I accidentally activated when I was setting the alarm. It makes a precocious little “ding” on the hour. Not loud. Not intrusive. But audible, when I’m paying attention. I kind of like it. It sounds very much like a still, small voice to me.
And that’s how God has me addressing my enemy, just by paying attention. He’s shown me my complacency – in figuring I had all the time in the world. He’s shown me my value – assuring me that it does matter to Him how I spend my time. So much so that He sends me a prompt every hour.
Just a reminder, and I have come to welcome it. A quick check to see if what I am doing deserves the time I am spending on it. (Oh, there it is…time to go.)
Imagine, something so simple.