Friday, August 6, 2010

It’s Time to Use Our Time Wisely

Introduction by Milfred Minatrea

Ed Jordan knows what it feels like to minister in a difficult environment. I became acquainted with Ed and his wife Enikő, when Pam and I were privileged to provide leadership for their congregation’s annual retreat at Old Faithful Retreat Center. The center is a rustic camp within driving distance of Pocatello, Idaho, where Ed serves as Senior Pastor.

In a predominantly Mormon environment, the Jordan’s have become part of the community using creative ministries to establish relationships. Among those is Ed’s weekly contribution published in the Idaho State Journal. Ed was recently awarded The Amy Writing Awards “2009 Award of Outstanding Merit” for one of his columns.

Ed and Enikő were among the first missionaries appointed to serve in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain. They served in Hungary in Church Development, Leadership Development, and Decentralized Theological Education for eleven years.

I hope that you will enjoy periodic posts from my friend, Ed Jordan.

It’s Time to Use Our Time Wisely

The rock group “Chicago” sang: “Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?” My questions to you today are the same as theirs. Do you know what time it is? Do you really care? The discussion of time is both a timeless theme, and a timely one.

In Ecclesiastes 3:1 in “The Message,” we read: “There's an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth…” There are two major concepts of time in the Bible. Most commonly time is used as chronological time (kronos in the Greek language), which is time depicted by sequential points along a linear line (or circle, as in a sundial or typical watch). Chronological time is measured with minutes, hours, days, months and years. But there is also another kind of time used in the Bible, indicated by the Greek word “kairos,” which is conceptualized as the “perfect” or “ideal” time for something to happen. It is a time concept that measures what of significance occurred in an event.

Both of these concepts are used in the Septuagint translation of Ecclesiastes 3:1. There is a chronological time to accomplish every thing that needs to get done during this lifetime, and there is an “ideal” time and way for each of those things to be accomplished. This is why Martin Luther King said: “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” (cf. Coretta Scott King). It is always time to do right, but within that time there is also the ideal moment and way to accomplish that right action.

Many people complain that they don’t have time to go to church, or to read their Bible, or to spend time with their loved ones, or to accomplish their lifetime dreams. In reality, we all have the same amount of time each day to accomplish what needs to be done. The difficulty is not in a shortage of time; it is rather a shortage of motivation, desire, and discipline to use our time wisely. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “The day is of infinite length for him who knows how to appreciate and use it.” (in “Ludwig Curtius, Wisdom and Experience”)

Our lives are not just measured by how long we live. In reality, every life will be measured by what we filled our time doing. Time in life is measured by the relationships established, the love given, and the impact made for God, good, and eternity. The way we use the time God gives us clearly reveals our values, our creativity, our focus, our maturity (or the lack thereof), and our self-discipline to prioritize and to fulfill those priorities.

Sir John Lubbock, in “The Pleasures of Life,” stated: “Life must be measured rather by depth than by length, by thought and action rather than by time.” I like that. Using that measurement, how is your life measuring up? Are you making lasting, deep, constructive impacts on the lives of others on behalf of God? Or are you just filling time with fleeting busyness?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in “Hyperion,” commented: “What is Time? The shadow on the dial, the striking of the clock, the running of the sand, day and night, summer and winter, months, years, centuries - these are but arbitrary and outward signs, the measure of Time, not Time itself. Time is the Life of the soul. If not this, then tell me, what is Time?”

If time is the “Life of the soul,” how is your soul? Is it shriveling or enlarging? Is it being denied or nurtured? Is it hidden away, or shared with others? Chronological time is slipping away from each of us. Today is the ideal time to reestablish God as first place in your soul, time and life.

Dr. Ed Jordan is an award winning writer, and pastor of Gate City Baptist Church, 500 W. Maple Street in Pocatello. He can be reached at

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