A Better Way to Look at Each Year's 525,600 Minutes?
I'm a big Musical fan! Last week I talked about the musical “Dear Evan Hansen”! But this week I want to talk about my all-time favorites musical: “Rent” and the song “Seasons of Love”. It opens with these words:
525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes - how do you measure,measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
This year, we tried a different approach to our stewardship campaign. We lengthened the one to two week “asking” period and turned it into a 5-week sermon series where we completely changed our focus from giving just to the church, to learning to be generous in all aspects of your life. For me, this shift has been enormously freeing and helpful. For me, it focuses the attention one not just money, and talents, and time, but on serving others and a generous attitude or spirit towards others.
Today, I’d like to spend some time thinking with you about time. Because unlike talents and money, time is something that all has been given in equal measure by God. Each of us has
525,600 minutes a year. No more, no less. And the question for each of us is every year is this one: how well do you use the time you have been given?
If you are like me, you will probably answer that question with a resounding: I STINK AT IT! Like you I spend too much time on the wrong priorities, on worrying about the things I can’t change. Too many days go by where I look back and can see only the things I didn’t get done. And so, I move yesterday’s to-do list to tomorrow and by the end of the week, I have a list of 48 things I didn’t get done this week! Time, for me, has always been like a handful of sand, and no matter how hard I try (and believe you I have tried so many time-management tools and planners in my day…yeesh!) at managing that time, it still finds a way of slipping by.
Are any of you like me? It seems like every time I try to focus on time management, I turn into this drill sergeant who is counting every minute, standing up before someone even gets into my office, and looking at my watch or phone 30 times while I’m talking to you! I get done with my day when I’m in these “management moods” and I look at the list of the “things” I’ve gotten done, and I think to myself: “Is this my new God? “Things”? A “to do list”? In these moods my “to do list” becomes more important than the “people I’m called to love” list!
So, what might be a better way to approach this gift we all call “time”.
First, I believe with all my heart that the harder you try to hold on to time, the more frustrated you are going to get! For me, I have found that “flow” is a better way to look at
time. For me there is a “flow” of the day. I believe this “flow” is a gift from God. And I am much more productive when, instead of controlling my time, I try to listen to the way God’s “love current” or flow is going. And that’s why my day must start with prayer…not prayer in the sense of some regiment of words, but prayer in the sense of listening to the flow of God’s love and trying to stay connected to that flow during the day. When I do things our of resentment and frustration, I’m not in the flow. When I accept the task at hand and take this task on with love and intention and with a good attitude, I’m in the flow.
2nd, I’m an old boy scout, and the one thing that stuck with me as a boy scout is the “do one
good deed a day.” I believe with all my heart, that my soul needs to do one “random act of kindness” every day! Maybe it’s a note of encouragement I write someone in the church or a friend. Maybe it’s going on Facebook and not just liking something (and act of charity) but actually taking the time to write a personal message to them (an act of empathy). Maybe it’s buying the kid with a nose ring behind me at Starbucks a latte. Whatever it is…do something randomly good for someone else…not because they earned it, but because they are a human being! Make this a habit and you will start using your time better. In a way what this does is create a positive flow!
And 3rd, find one place, organization, group to put time into that makes this world a better place. Maybe this is the church, or one ministry at the church, or a non-profit that sparks your interest. I think what’s important here is to find something that speaks personally to your life. For instance, this past year I have gotten involved with an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. In fact, our VBS sent money to this orphanage to help build two bathrooms with running water. Why did I get involved in this? Because my sister-in-law, Grace, was born in Kenya. And, because I learned recently that my father, during the 1930’s, was put in a children’s camp one summer because his stomach was distended because of hunger. When I talked to Grace about my passion to help hungry children, she mentioned this orphanage and connected me to her friend on the ground there, Larry Lavaza. Every week or so, I chat with Larry via Facebook Messenger, and every time I do that…no matter how stressed I am for time, the time with Larry slows down until I feel like I am again in “REAL TIME”…God’s time!
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope it helped! I know it helped me!
Your friend and pastor, learning to turn in my “time-grasping” for a more productive “God-flowing”, Brook