It’s been a long time
since I had
to take my
I’m driving 54 miles per hour, with one hand out the window, palm perpendicular to Earth. Crisp late-summer air presses back.
It’s the one thing that never stops. It has no beginning and no end.
Yet it never feels like there’s enough
or it’s always running out
or I don’t have it
or it’s slipping through fingers like hoarse, roaring wind.
But today, I have extra.
I hear it ticking like the heartbeat of extravagant God who gives all things in abundance. I grab hold of it, ravenously, for those two red dots that separate the hours from the minutes keep blinking like monotonous, hungry eyes. And I’m scared they’ll gobble up my gift.
I trace country roads, bordered by fields yellowing early. Fat ears on stalks are nearly ready to be tugged off.
” … a time to plant and a time to uproot.” — Ecclesiastes 3:2
I steer down the main street of a little neighboring town on a self-guided detour. I have no idea why I’m here.
I see a man walking — brisk, all business, short on time — down the sidewalk of Main Street.
It’s Chris. He’s a newspaper publisher, and he’s got deadlines. But the news he’s most interested in spreading is the Gospel — The Good News — and he always makes time to share it. Most Sundays, you’ll find him preaching in a bowling alley. One Sunday this summer, he drove over to our church to share the Good News.
I honk twice, and he waves me over, detoured to the curb. I pull into the crosswalk, illegally, and shift into park.
He leans elbows on my window frame, and bends his tall frame over like accordian bellows so we can talk eye-to-eye.
” … a time to search …” — Ecclesiastes 3:6
He searches with the big questions, skips the surface stuff. He wants to know about our church, and our search for a pastor, and my favorite farmer, and the coming harvest, and my work at the college. We chat about High Calling Blogs, and writing and the news business these days.
We talk about God.
“… a time to speak …” — Ecclesiastes 3:7
The digital dots keep marking exactness, and somewhere the minute-hand roars forward. The man in the window has a newspaper to put out, ads to sell, reporters to corral.
Time is a thief.
But before I can put the car in reverse, he asks it: “Do you have a little more time? Because I’d like to pray for you.”
Extravagant God comes running to hold back the minute hand, freezing a moment to give us grace of time, untethered.
“There is a time for every everything,
for every activity under heaven.”
— Ecclesiates 3:1
This is the surprise of grace at noon in a crosswalk, illegally parked. And I close my eyes. And somebody just try to give me a ticket, because this is all holy, and it seems like time has just folded in on itself.
His words march a metronic path to the Timekeeper. The friend prays for my church, and my work, and my favorite farmer’s safety in the coming harvest. And he knows how so much is uncertain these days, but He prays to the God who knows how the last chapter reads when the clock strikes midnight.
We say Amen, and he slaps the side of the car as I back away from a curbside moment, unencumbered by time.
” … He has made everything beautiful in its time …”
— Ecclesiastes 3:11
Father, You hold time in Your hands. Help me to invest it well. Amen.