Managing Our Time Wisely
An average person will spend about
229,000 hours over the course of their
lifetime sleeping. That’s 25 years, or
about 1/3 of an average life spent
asleep. You spend about 37,000
hours, about 4 years, in your
lifetime driving a car. About 4 months
of that is spent sitting in traffic.
You spend about 9 years total of
your life watching TV, and 2 of those
are spent watching commercials. The
average employee spends 2 years of their lifetime sitting in work meetings. Over the course of their lives, we spend an entire year on deciding what to wear.
Nobody really plans to spend their time this way, right? Nobody starts out thinking, “Wow, I’d really like to spend 15% of my life watching TV” or “I think I’ll give one year of my life away to deciding what to wear, and four months sitting in traffic.” But how we spend our days adds up to how we spend our lives and it just kind of… happens.
I've been thinking a lot about time lately. Taking my teenage son to the Gator game last week, it occurred to me that just five years from now, l'll likely be visiting him at college for a game. And as we re-engage our busy calendars post-COVID, I'm finding it harder to fit in everything I used to do before. Time is precious, and complicated.
Ephesians 5:15-16 says, "Be very careful how you live, then, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil." Another way to translate “making the most of every opportunity” is “redeeming the time.”
John Wesley once preached a sermon called Redeeming the Time. To be honest, it's one of Wesley's more bizarre sermons, focused on figuring out exactly how much sleep you need and not sleeping more than that. His point, though, is a helpful one. Wesley shows us that the use of our time is a spiritual issue. "For we cannot waste…any part of our worldly substance without sinning against Him. It opens the way, and prepares the soul, for every other kind of intemperance. It breeds a universal softness and faintness of spirit, making us afraid of every little inconvenience, unwilling to deny ourselves any pleasure, or to take up or bear any cross."
Perhaps for some of us, redeeming the time means taking a look at 'time-wasters' such as our phones, social media, and even unproductive worry. On the other hand, for others, redeeming the time means creating margin in our lives for more intentional Sabbath rest. Maybe for others, redeeming the time means embracing the season of life we are in, rather than looking back to the past or ahead to the future.
The ways we experience time affect us not only as individuals, but as churches. Are we busy and over-scheduled? Are we using our time in ways that advance our mission as a church? Are we stuck in the past, or fearful about the future? How might God be calling us, as individuals and as churches, to redeem the time?
Peace, Rev. Emily Hotho,
Superintendent, Gulf Central District