Sunday 21 October 2012
Listen to the language people use about time.
People who are busy and important ‘buy’ time, or ‘spend’ time; they talk of ‘using’ time, ‘investing time’, or sometimes of ‘putting time aside'; they ‘save’ time or ‘waste’ time, ‘lose’ time or ‘find’ time. They speak of ‘quality time.’ All of these words treat time as a commodity. Yet they still say that ‘life’s too short.’
If you’re not in a hurry, you may be told you’re ‘wasting’ time, or ‘losing’ precious time. For powerless people, time quickly becomes an enemy. Time is ‘against’ them. It ‘weighs heavy’ on their lives. Sadly those who set out to ‘kill’ time almost always lose the battle.
The Christian story teaches us that time isn’t our possession. But neither is it our enemy. It’s taken out of our hands, but only so that we remember that it’s a gift. If time is our friend, we can enjoy time with those who don’t promise to make us more busy or important. We can share time with children, and with people whose life is a constant struggle.
After a lifetime of making friends with time, of making the friends that being friends with time allows us to make, we may, to our surprise, discover something that people who treat time as a commodity will never discover. We may find, at the last, that even the last enemy isn’t an enemy at all, but a friend. For the truth is – whisper it quietly – that time is on our side.
Revd Dr Sam Wells