In his book, Margin, Dr. Richard A. Swenson speaks of the time pressure we all feel.
Columnist Bob Greene called it the “twitching of America.” Futurist David M. Zach called it “hyperliving—skimming along the surface of life.” The late Norman Cousins called it “a sprinting, squirting, shoving age.” E. F. Schumacher called it “the forward stampede.” From “fast food” to the “weekend squeeze” to the “Christmas rush,” time has us in its grip.
If you ask someone about their life, chances are good they will use the word, “busy.” We are busy, busy, busy, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes not. Some seasons of life and seasons of the year are busier than others. Some of us allow pride to keep us busy—we want to appear important and needed. There are times when our busyness covers up laziness—we are not accomplishing anything even though we are running here and there. Greed and materialism can be a motivating factor in staying busy. Still others are busy because they seek to please people rather than God.
Busyness can creep into the church. During the early 90’s, Family Bible Church in Eustis, FL offered, “Express worship, 45 minutes, guaranteed!” First Lutheran Church in Stewartsville, NJ, offers a 22-minute worship service at 9AM with the tagline, “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the Kingdom of God.”
In a busy, busy world, how do we worship God with our time? It begins by acknowledging that time is a gift from God.
The New Testament uses two different words for time, chronos and kairos. Chronos is measured time while kairos is experienced time. chronos is the time of clocks and calendars while kairos is quality time. chronos says, “Nine months has passed,” while kairos says, “I’m going into labor.”
Under the heading of Chronos Time, God has established the pattern of day, week, month, quarter, and year (Genesis 1:3-2:3). God also established the cycle of work, rest, and worship (Exodus 20:8-11; 23:12-13). Consequently, we need to recognize who is in charge (Psalm 31:14-15) and that life is brief (Psalm 90:10-12). We need to hold our plans loosely and not presume on the future (James 4:13-17). We should also follow the rhythm of life rather than chafe against it.
Under the heading of Kairos Time, each event of life has its own season and length of time (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). We should recognize and enjoy the season we are in as well as adjust our expectations so they are appropriate. We should seize the unique opportunities that each season presents (Colossians 4:5; Ephesians 5:15-17). Having said that, we need to recognize the difference between: (1) the important and the urgent (Luke 10:38-42); (2) the clear call of God that must be obeyed and the unexpected opportunity you can say “Yes” or “No” to (2 Corinthians 2:12-13); and (3) ordinary human plans and God’s extraordinary purposes (Proverbs 19:21). To make the most of our Kairos Time, we need to live with intentionality (Matthew 6:19-21, 33).
In order to worship God with our time, we need to implement two principles in our lives. (1) Recognize that God has entrusted each of us with a task to accomplish and enough time to get it done. (2) Because our time is short, we must live wisely and intentionally in order to accomplish what God has called us to do.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA, on June 15, 2014. It is part of a series on The Heart of Worship. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.