Time: An Irreplaceable Commodity

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Jan 06, 2011 by Alex Mekonnen | 0 Comments

For those of us who are following and living in European calendar, we have entered into a new year with its challenges and promises. If you take the transition of life from the old to the New Year casually, it becomes a routine, just a matter of counting years. But if we understand how time is precious and realize how the existence of life is intertwined with it and God is the maker and giver of time, we’ll be immensely grateful that we are graciously granted to be alive and given another chance to do something worth with life and opportunities.

There are so many things human beings can do without money, equipments, assistance of other people, etc. But there is nothing that we can accomplish without time. In the famous expression of Peter Drucker, “Time is an irreplaceable commodity.” Depending how we mange and utilize it, time is the greatest asset and resource to achieve our goals.  The question is how do you view time and use it? In some cultures, time is an endless cycle that comes and goes and there is no need to pressure oneself to be productive in a particular given period. For those who live in this kind of worldview of time, the action of today barely has consequences on tomorrow or in the long distance future. That is, if there is any future. In this kind of culture, time can be viewed as enemy, friendly, deterministic, something that conditions the situation of people. Time is hardly viewed as irreplaceable commodity but people are.  Hence, relationship is valued more than production. Often, societies who live in this kind of culture are prone to poverty, disease, lack of food and shelter, and the illiteracy rate is high. The concept of time management and considering time as a great advantage for growth and development is minimal. People go through life’s journey with less appreciation and poor management of time.

In the Western and industrialized world time is highly viewed to the extent of controlling every action and relationship of our lives, including our worship time at church. It seems even God is boxed in one and half hour of Sunday morning to say and do whatever we need to know for the rest of the week. Time has prohibited and limited our availability with our spouse, children, and friends, social or church services. In a society that believes, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Life is made of time,” a rat race life style is a norm and people run out of breath to catch up with the demands of life, the latest news, innovation, technology, and the like. Children grow in the world of plenty as far as material things are concerned. But they miss the love, attention, care, touch and cuddling of parents. Each family member is circling within their own orbits of their lives and it seems they meet at “home” to fill gas for the next race in life. Loneliness, lack of mentors, quality time to reflect and think, individualism with strong set of boundaries, etc., are the common features of the Western culture.  To be busy is a sign of success. We have watches and clocks on our wrists, in the car, on our computers, ovens, TVs, on our cell phone and the walls of our offices but we have no time for each other, and sadly, even for God.

Having lived in both cultures, a culture that thinks there is always plenty of time and a culture that operates believing that time is always in short supply, I have concluded that proper biblical understanding of time is essential to each society. Time is created neither to be our master or wastage. It is made for us to utilize it and make it productive without losing focus on the essentials and fundamentals of life. To know God and make him known, to care for our family and make them our priorities, service to mankind, to impact the life of emerging generation in  a positive way, are things that are worthy of our time.

It is my sincere prayer and desire that we make the best of our contribution in ministry and other callings that God has given us in the New Year we entered in.

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