Time. What is it?
Honestly, I’m not sure where to begin. People use the concept of time in so many different ways and to mean so many different things. Wading through this very confusing subject often gives me two reactions: (1) a headache or (2) paralyzing fear. So why am I writing about this? God created time for a purpose like everything else. I believe that if we can learn to understand its purpose, it will enable us to abide more in the fullness, presence, and love of God.
Time is probably the easiest thing in the entire universe to waste. It takes absolutely no effort to waste time. In fact, it takes effort to put time to good use. For instance, I should be writing a paper right now…but I’m not. Why is it that we are completely unaware of time passing until…a birthday, a near death experience, or a project is late..? How come it is so easy to ignore time?
I don’t know. Well I don’t know for sure but I have a guess. My guess is that it’s because we have learned to think about time in the wrong way. I’m going to share two things I’m learning about time with you in this and next blogpost. I hope this will change your perspective, as it is changing mine.
1. Chronos versus Kairos
The greeks used two fancy words for time: chronos and kairos. Chronos reflects chronological or sequential time. There are 7 days in a week. There are 24 hours in a day. There are 60 seconds in a minute. Kairos, on the other hand, refers to a moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens. These are sort of strange concepts to wrap your mind around but extremely critical in how we perceive our lives and the potential of our existence.
Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Eternity exists in the human heart.
John 17:3: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Hmm. Both of these verses suggest that we have the potential to experience eternity now. Growing up, we are taught about heaven in very vague terms. We learn that heaven is where eternity begins. We can only go to heaven after we die. Thus, eternity begins after death. This is wrong. Scripture is clear that eternity has already begun and that it resides in our hearts.
Luke 17:21: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Within me? In my heart? Yes. God resides in you and we know from John 17:3 that union with God is eternal life. This is kairos time.
Kairos is used 81 times in the New Testament according to my reliable source, wikipedia. One of those moments is Mark 1:15: “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” These are the first words preached by Christ in the Gospel of Mark. Christ is the fulfillment of time. Through His incarnation, He has united us with eternity.
You might be thinking…this is extremely confusing…where are you going with this? Basically, we have two choices. You can see life through a chronos lens OR a kairos lens.
My spiritual father gave the perfect example in a sermon. Let us assume someone asks you for a glass of water. If you understand time as chronos, you might be annoyed that someone is wasting precious minutes of your limited time. If you live in kairos, however, you will see this as an opportunity to serve your brother/sister (as Christ served others). You will know that even small acts of kindness have there rewards (Matthew 10:24).
Living in kairos means living every second in union with Christ, showing His love, His mercy, His graciousness, His wisdom to others. We are able to do this because of the incarnation of Christ, His grace, and the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
When we live in kairos, we are living in eternity now. We are practising “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (The Lord’s Prayer). I bet we will all find a lot more joy, satisfaction, and peace in living in heaven on earth.
If you liked this blog post, the next one will be about redemptive time.
God bless you all and may we learn to live every moment in the everlasting now.