by Willie McLaurin
"Time is God’s way of keeping everything from happening at once.” -Unknown
Human beings are creatures of “time,” and we are preoccupied with that theme. We wear watches so that we can keep account of “time.” We ask regarding the criminal: “How much ‘time’ did he get?” And we ourselves muse: “How much ‘time’ do I have left?”
Our music contemplates this theme. We sing that “time goes on,” and at the same time lament that “time has stood still since we’ve been apart.
When we think of “time” in the bible, it usually brings to mind ancient history and early civilizations. The writer of Ecclesiastes says it best: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heave:….What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also let eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what Do has done from the beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 9-11
Dr. Lloyd Elder in his writing, Time Management: Having the Time of Your Life offers three primary ways Scripture discusses “time.”
- Time as Chronology (chronos):
The Bible speaks of time as “chronology” when measuring the linear passing of time—as references to the sequence and duration of events.
“Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father: How can you say, “Show us the Father?” John 14:9
- Time as Opportunity (Kairos):
Scripture refers to time as opportunity when speaking not of a particular moment in time, but of the proper moment. These proper moments give us the opportunity to interact with God’s creation in making the best possible use of time.
“Be very careful, then, how you live---not as unwise but as wise making the most of every opportunity (time), because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
- Time as fulfillment:
The Bible speaks of time as fulfillment for promise or prophecies of an age which will, or has already come. The Old Testament prophets speak not only of a particular “time” but of the time of the coming of God’s Kingdom, an assured promise of judgment and salvation. In the New Testament, that time has arrived with the coming of Christ.
“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Galatians 4:4-5
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