The other morning (31 October to be precise) a radio news item informed me that in Northern Ireland that the pumpkin had replaced the turnip (or swede) as the vegetable of choice for Hallowe’en lanterns. Was it an (unwelcome) American import? Or was it, as one interviewee stated, that we valued our time more today. So the ease with which the pumpkin could be hollowed out was a welcome time saver?
I have no desire to investigate the pumpkin:turnip controversy. But the remark about time stuck me as interesting. Do we value our time more today? Have the pressures and stresses of ‘modern life’ made us come to appreciate its value more? We certainly have a great awareness of time, as language is replete with descriptions of it: free time, quality time, downtime, uptime, leisure time, work time, core time, playtime, good time, bad time, my valuable time, time is money….
Or could it be that we are more clueless than our forebears of the true value of time? for many of not just the activities in which we engage are a waste of time, but we get a distinct and uneasy feeling that our very life is a complete waste of time. It has about as much meaning as a Hallowe’en lantern on All Saints’ Day (1 November).
Does my use of my time indicate how I value my time? Is the ease with which I can do something necessarily an indicator of the value of time? If so, then I might be tempted only to eat from the burger bar. After all, it is only a waste of time preparing food, or sitting round the table with the family wasting time on social intercourse? (But then, as recent statistics about UK teenager indicate, they do eat away from families a significant amount of the time, presumably in fast food outlets.)
Are there standards by which I can evaluate the value of my time? Or is it just how I want to spend it? We want to live for the present—The Now. That need not necessarily be a bad idea, so long as we recognize that “Now is the Day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2; cf Isa 55:6). if we truly value our time we will not put off what must be done now. For it will not be possible in the future. “The year of the Lord’s favour” will be followed by “the day of vengeance of our God” (Isa 61:2).
When that Now moment arrives it will be too late to seek salvation. And then for all eternity we will ruefully reflect on just how valuable our time on earth really was. What better way to show how we value our time than by responding to God’s once in a lifetime, never to be repeated, offer of salvation, by confessing our sin, repenting of it, and turning to Christ for salvation.
Tomorrow is another day—the Day of Vengeance. But today is altogether different—“Now is the Day of Salvation.”