Sunday, July 13, 2008

Time

In silent contemplation of my doings of the day, I planned my excuse for the things I had not done. The words were simple and over-used, "I didn't have time today." The absurdity of that statement awoke me to a deeper pensiveness as I realized the time I had that day was the same amount of time I had every day. One doesn't simply have no time, for it is always there, steady and continuous. What is it then that I didn't have or rather, what kept me from certain tasks? My own will of course. I was the one who made the choice to not use the time I had for work I needed to do. I had filled my day with plenty of things, and for those I had the time. Every day is given to us the same number of hours. Every moment we must choose what to do with ours. So instead of blaming unfinished work on the absence of time, we must put the blame on the true culprit: ourselves and our decisions. For we truly do have that power to do what we wish with every hour. "I didn't have time for that" should really be "I chose not to use my time doing that."

But one must be aware to not go to the extreme. For too often we think that with the power to choose the way we use our time, we then own it. But, you ask, what is the danger in such a presumption? C.S. Lewis plays the devils advocate in his book "The Screwtape Letters" and shows how believing in the ownership of time can dramatically change a person's attitude. Keep in mind as you read the following excerpt that it is written from the devil's perspective and therefore is the opposite of what God would say.
"You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption 'My time is my own'. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright."
If we start thinking that we own time, we begin to begrudge the time required of us in every day aspects of life. Everything becomes a burden and we expect some kind of reward or payment for our sacrifice. Isn't it much easier to share something that belongs to another than to give up something we deem as our own?

In contrast, I think of King Benjamin's sermon telling his people that they are no better off than the dust of the earth because everything they have, even the very air they breathe, comes from God. Thus, we are unworthy of even the smallest blessing (including time) and yet if we attempt to pay our debt and serve God day and night, yet we would be unprofitable servants for we would be blessed even more.

We must always recognize our unworthiness of all of God's gifts and recognize that time is not our own, but rather a gift. We are simply allowed the opportunity to choose how to use it. If we can think in this frame of mind, it will be a lot easier to use the time we have been given for useful and productive activities and be more willing to give it in the service of God and our fellow men.

Quotes:
"Time is free, but it's priceless. you can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back."

Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future is not come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it, and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires. ~Charles Caleb Colton

The Future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. ~C.S. Lewis

Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can't buy more hours. Scientists can't invent new minutes. And you can't save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you've wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow. ~Denis Waitely

3 comments:

Officer Leeroy said...

We were reading the Screwtape Letters together and the same thought crossed our brains to write a blog post about the profound statement on the stewardship of time. Sherrie related her thoughts better than I ever could, and I agree 100% with what she said. It's crazy how often I catch myself now saying "I wish I had more time to do this" or just trying to fit more things in robbing my body of the sleep it needs or my spirit of the nourishment it needs.

Coach Ann said...

It's true, we all have the same 24 hours. I just try to prioritize and go for it. Yes, I do have to make choices because it is not always possible to get everything done. Maybe we should work on having fewer things to do.

don&janet said...

Wow, Sherrie! Thank you. You reminded me of a movie Dad and I saw,Kung Fu Panda, and there was an amazing quote in it. It simply said"Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future, today is a gift that is why it is called the Present!" I think that if we truly treat "today" as a gift from God, we will surely be more cautious of the time we spend!