One of the things that I have learned in following Christ is that timing is everything. And that without an inner ear tuned to what he is asking of me right now, I can violate his timing by being too early or too late or I can miss the boat totally. It is only in the right timing that doing something is effortless; in God’s timing it is right.
Chronos—one Greek word used in the Bible for time–time is the time we normally live by: schedules and what time I have to be at work or to an appointment, how long it takes to get here or there, when I have to leave so as to be on time. Chronos time is by the clock. It’s the world’s kind of time—following the clock, being on time, things happening in a timely fashion, calendar days and months and years, the clock ticking by adding pressure by the minute to get things done in time. With Chronos time we set those schedules, decide the timing on what we want to accomplish and work to meet those deadlines.
Kairos–another Greek work used in the Bible for time– means the season or the fullness of time for something to happen, an opportune or decisive moment. In the parable of the wheat and the tares [Matthew 13:30] we are to wait until harvest time to pull the weeds, lest we pull up some of the wheat with them. When the time is right(Kairos), we can easily distinguish between the two plants.
When Jesus began his ministry, he announced [Luke 4:18-19]”The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” When the time is right or ripe… “When we have the opportunity…” in Galatians 6:10 or at the “proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”[Galatians 6:9] All is in God’s timing and any time we are in sync with the Lord, we will be successful; any time we think we know better and depend on our own efforts, our efforts will fall flat.
There is another way to experience time and that is in the present moment or in the presence of God—when the present moment expands to engage us through heightened awareness. A sunset stuns us and stops us in our tracks because of its beauty. When I am truly present to another, not involved with what I will say next, for example, the moment expands and I forget my agenda. In addition there is a palpable sense of the presence of God along with whoever, whatever else is there. And Jesus promised: “whenever two or more are gathered in my name, I will be there.”[Matthew 18:20] Perhaps all our interactions should be in his name. What richness there would be!
In learning these distinctions in time we learn to open up to the present moment, to engage ourselves fully in present time, so that we take from each moment all that is offered to us by God and that we give to each moment what is being asked of us. Again God is asking for all of each of us in the present moment. It is a different way to live, moment to moment, not trying to rush anything or make anything happen, only being present to what is.
This is love: our full attention on anyone, be it God or another person or the task at hand. We hold nothing back for any reason. We give all that we are to the Holy Spirit who will ask us for what he needs us to do or say now and gives us what we need. That is the nature of the present if we can just be there.
This is the gift of being born again: we learn a whole new way of being, present to the Lord in love and reverence and present to others with love, as well. We give ourselves over to the Lord’s sense of timing. We follow his lead in everything.
Time in God’s world has dimension and import beyond the obvious Chronos time of counting minutes and hours. Timing is important; the present moment is important in all that we do. This is a major way we experience God in our lives: if we are listening deeply to what he is telling us, responding to what he asks of us, we can meet him in the present moment.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I a captive of Chronos time or of Kairos? How do I experience God’s leading? Am I willing to give up my own way of doing things? What do I need to do to deepen my connection to God’s leading?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are letting God lead us in all things. May we be present to the presence of God everywhere in our lives. May we not violate his timing in anything he asks us to do.
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