One of my occasional pastimes is crossword puzzles. I was solving one the other day that had a couple of clues dealing with climate change. So when I found a clue that said, “Non-renewable resource” my mind went to the usual villains du jour.
It turned out, though, that the answer was time. Non-renewable is certainly how it feels. We never seem to have enough time, and we can’t make any more of it.
Or can we?
Time, you may know, is a distinctly human element. Animals don’t measure it and God is, as C. S. Lewis puts it, “outside of time.” The apostle Peter said, “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.”
So only we humans measure it, think about it, and (too often) are enslaved by it.
You may wonder, if you take the time to think about it, where this whole idea of time came from. You may also wonder why only people care about time. Another time I’ll answer the second question, but for now let’s answer the first.
Where is the sun?
Genesis chapter 1 has it like this:
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”
And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.
And thus time was created, separated into day and night. But where is the sun? It is not the light.
Keep reading and you find:
Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
And evening passed and morning came, marking the fourth day.
Personally I think it is very cool that day and night existed before the sun and moon, but that the sun and moon “mark the seasons, days and years.”
Of course you may not think God did any of that, but you still measure your life by the light and the dark, as do we all.
Getting outside of time
Much of the rest of the world demands a closer accounting of every second of every minute of every hour. Happily, those who live on island time are more often outside of time than those who are held captive by every minute.
All of us have experienced being outside of time. It might have happened to you while climbing a mountain or floating in the ocean. You may have gone outside of time while reading a book or having a conversation with a very good friend. Perhaps you were just lost in thought, or in a project, and time passed without you knowing it.
Good for you!
You probably didn’t get to that “a thousand years is like a day” level, but you know the feeling. All you are really doing is being free from the shackles of time while using it beneficially.
I experienced that this week when I was helping my friend Jimmy with his golf game. He was working hard and making good progress. No one watching could say which of us was enjoying it more. For the most part, though, we were unaware of time passing. And it was good.
Does getting outside of time increase the objective amount of time you have? It does not add hours to the day, but it might add time to your life.
Give your time away
This same thing is true for almost everything we have to give, from money to love. It is definitely true with time. Hold it tightly for your own use and it will become heavy and cruel. Give it away, especially to those who need your time, and it will become light and good.
Consider the following uses of your time and think about how they impacted you.
First, spending an hour or more on social media. Reading, posting, commenting, etc. Second, spending that same time on other people by helping them or having them help you.
Many of us have spent time on social media and then felt like we “wasted” it. That never makes us feel better about ourselves.
And all of us have given time to someone else and known it was a very good thing to do.
Finding the time
As I’ve grown in my ability to give away time and get outside of time, I have also found more time. Where? In places where I once spent it with little or no benefit.
I virtually never watch the news. My social media accounts are visited so rarely I don’t remember my passwords. The TV I watch is limited.
But my goal is not to “manage” my time, my goal is to be a wise steward of the gift of time. And those who are wise stewards receive more.
Get outside of time. Give your time away. Be a wise steward of time. If we do those things with time, we might just make more of it.
Besides, those are all beautiful ways to do good.