Speaking of... Life, Hope & Truth

What Time Is It Anyway?

Oh, hi there. I was running out of paper, so I thought I would slice off one end of this sheet and put it on the other end. But it doesn’t seem to be working. I still don’t seem to have any more paper.

If it doesn’t work for this piece of paper, would it work if we tried it with something else? What if we tried it with a day? Could we cut off an hour on one end of the day and add it to the other end and end up with a longer day? Actually, we would not be any more successful than we were with the paper.

Yet every spring in much of the Western world we go through this process. We call it Daylight Savings Time. We really don’t change the day—the sun still rises and sets on schedule—but we try to trick ourselves by changing the time on our clocks.

Most historians credit New Zealander George Vernon Hudson with the idea for Daylight Savings Time because of a paper he presented to the Wellington Philosophical Society in 1895. Ten years later, Englishman William Willett independently came up with a similar proposal. We are told that at least a part of his motivation was because he wanted more time in the afternoon to play golf. The idea was not popular with farmers—after all, roosters don’t determine when to crow by watching the clock. To this day, the practice complicates transportation and communication schedules all over the world.

Most nations have tried using some version of Daylight Savings Time, but most have found it confusing, and it’s primarily the nations of the Western world that continue to use it.

Daylight Savings Time is not a moral issue, so why are we talking about it here? For one thing, it’s an opportunity to remind ourselves of a bigger spiritual truth. Scripture reminds all of us that our lives are made up of segments of time, and that time is not limitless. It is finite, and there is a limited amount of time for any human being to accomplish God’s purpose in his or her life.

Years ago I heard a wise man recount a lesson he learned as a schoolboy. He went to school one Monday morning, and he had not completed an assignment. When the teacher asked him about it, he told her that he just didn’t have enough time to get it done. She responded, “You had exactly the same amount of time as everyone else. The problem was not with having enough time; it was in how you chose to use it.” That man never forgot that lesson, and he was one of the most productive people I’ve ever known.

What are we doing with the time God has given us?

Centuries ago, God inspired the apostle Paul to write to Christians who lived in a wealthy, busy, exciting society, and he told them, “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17, New Revised Standard Version).

Are you using your time in a way that pleases God? How much time are you devoting to learning what God’s will is for you?

Because, no matter how you slice it, there’s only so much time.

For Life, Hope &Truth, I’m David Johnson.