Time Management

September 17, 2010 | 16 comments

It’s been a long time
since I had
the time
to take my
own
sweet
time.

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.

Time.

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.

by | September 17, 2010 | 16 comments

16 Comments

  1. Brock S. Henning

    Beautiful post. Takes me back to my days in Indiana. 🙂

    Reply
  2. HisFireFly

    Thank you. Your words were as priceless as the extra moments you grasped!

    Reply
  3. Cassandra Frear

    Love this story, this moment.

    Reply
  4. Linda

    Oh Jennifer – this is perfect. It perfectly puts into perspective the way I've been feeling about time. As the years slip by with unbelievable speed, I find the moments going even faster. The season of life I had anticipated would be filled with time to spare is nevertheless filled to overflowing. I have found it is those "stolen" moments that the Father orchestrates, the ones that don't fit into my scheduled day, that are the most precious.
    I will come back and read this one again and again. It speaks to my heart. Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Amy DeTrempe

    Loved this post!

    Reply
  6. Amy Sullivan

    You are right. Time is "a thief", and although most days I'm angry that time races by leaving me in a daze and always wanting more, today I'm grabbing it and forcing it to slow down!

    I'm going to enjoy a slow and easy Friday night. No plans. No expectations. Just lots of TIME with the family!

    Reply
  7. Natalie

    Ah, beautiful! What a way to redeem the time!!!

    Reply
  8. RCUBEs

    You always inspire!!! And I'm glad I have the time to come by today to be encouraged and strengthened as well. God bless.

    Reply
  9. KJ

    How do you do it? That was great!

    Reply
  10. mom2six

    I come to your blog, read your words, close my eyes and sigh satisfaction. You always encourage! Thank you.

    Reply
  11. Laura

    What a beautiful story, Jennifer! How wonderful to have such a friend. Go ahead…cheat time a little. Lately I've been asking God to make the sun stand still like He did for Joshua.

    Reply
  12. thesavingmomparents

    Fabulous! Thank you for sharing this precious moment in time. It has inspired me to see where I can invest my weekend time this weekend as it always seems a little more free (extra). ~Jessica

    Reply
  13. sketchesofacommonlife.com

    Well, this was simply lovely! I'm sorry I haven't been by in a while. Sometimes I get so sidetracked by reading what's going on with my blog friends on FB, I forget to actually go to their blog!!!

    Reply
  14. LisaShaw

    Beautiful message and I too pray GOD would help me (us) to invest our time wisely.

    You always encourage me upon my visits. Hugs!

    Reply
  15. Jennifer

    Love. This. There's nothing anyone can bless me with more than to stop me and say, "Can I pray for you."

    Reply
  16. Graceful

    I am living Ecclesiastes right now. And I love, love this post.

    Reply

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