Redeeming Time

The United States Government has given me the task of announcing time change.[1] To be truthful, they haven’t really assigned it to me, but as a pastor, I’m the first person in charge of an organization that is really affected by it. I have a sneaking suspicion that the annual Sunday morning change in time is on Sunday morning and not, say, on Monday morning to save businesses the hassle of informing their employees biannually that the change in time has come again. So, here I am, announcing that this coming Saturday evening you all should turn back your clocks an hour. Which leads to a strange question: “How do we go about changing time like that?” I mean, this isn’t a miracle, a divine halt to the normal solar and lunar schedule.[2] We are all, an entire nation, going to, in concert, simply change our clocks and expect all 319 million of us to play along. What does all of this tell us about what we really think about time, the value of an hour.

Americans have commodified time, placing an extremely high value on it. We’ve so ordered industrial production in our country that we actually all orchestrate a societal time change to maximize our GDP. For a country that wants so desperately to appear laid back this is pretty amazing and telling.

Paul, writing in Ephesians 5:16, encourages us to not just value time but to redeem time. There is a difference. For Paul it isn’t about maximizing production. It is a realization that creation is hurtling toward a divine appointment. At some point soon, Jesus will return to judge the earth. Each day, hour, and minute is precious because our sovereign God has placed value on it, given his people something to do in it. All time is sacred time.

So my encouragement to you is to do this simple thing: turn your clock back on Saturday night. But do more than that. When you turn your clock back, say a quick prayer. Ask God to help you to redeem every hour, every moment, making it a willing servant of Jesus. Ask God’s help to place eternal value rather than American value on the time you have, even the hour you’ll gain Sunday morning.

See you all on Sunday morning, just a little bit more rested than usual.

  1. In 1967 the Uniform Time Act of 1966 went into effect bringing ubiquity to what was a mess of different time practices observed by various US localities, some of which changed their clock while others did not.  ↩

  2. Joshua 10.  ↩