“Teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.”—Psalm 90:12
For most of human history, there was no clock. No big or small hand to mark the hours and minutes. No bright digits identifying the time of the day. For most of human history, people looked to the heavens. They paid attention to the sunrise and sunset. Throughout the day, they paid attention to the sun as it made its daily trek across the sky. They were ordered by the rhythms of creation.
With the invention of the mechanical clock, time began to be measured more precisely. Small units of time framed the day. The day was scheduled by the hour, and so rather than looking to the heavens, we had to check that circle on the wall or on our wrist to get our bearings.
In many ways, the clock made life more efficient and orderly. With the measurement of hours, minutes, and seconds, the trains could literally run on time. We could be specific about when and where to be and when things started and ended. The clock helped set firmer boundaries for the ordering of life.
At the same time, the clock also made life more rigid. With time being organized into smaller units of measurement, we began to calendar our days in smaller increments. We tried to fit more and more into the days time slots. In a word, we began to order our lives according to the clock rather than the heavens.
It wasn’t long before we began to feel the pressure of the tick-tock. Time management systems arose, and we began to speak of time in economic terms like, “Time is our most valuable asset” or “We need to save time” or “We need to spend time wisely.”
Interestingly, the more detailed we became about measuring time, the more we tried to manage time, the more we tried to fit into our schedules, and the more we felt like we didn’t have enough of time. We began to say things like, “There just aren’t enough hours in a day.”
Now, let’s pause and think about that statement for a moment. Do we really think that God made days too short? Do we really think that what we have to do is so important that it requires a longer day than the one God supplies? Of course we don’t mean it in that way, but that’s the implication.
It has been argued that God created time and placed human beings within time as an ongoing reminder that He’s the Creator and we are creatures. If we think we need more time than He’s given, we’re actually kicking against the fact that we’re creatures and not the Creator. We’re rebelling against the constraints of not being in charge.
God has given you and I and everyone in the world the same amount of time in the day, and as far as I can tell, that’s not going to change any time soon. What could change, however, is how we think about time, how we talk about time, and how we experience time. In other words, we could once again “look to the heavens” and learn how to redeem time for the purposes God intended (Ephesians 5:16).
Join us on Wednesday nights this fall for a topical series entitled, Redeeming Time. Starting on September 11th, we will explore fascinating Biblical topics such as the creation of time, the ordering of time, and the relationship of time and eternity alongside practical subjects like the rhythm of work and rest, calendaring margin, and learning to enjoy your limited time as a gift from God.
Can you think of a better way to redeem the time than to spend Wednesday nights with the Cornerstone family? Let’s take some time to talk about time and learn how to redeem the time God has given us.