Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pockets of time

Even so long ago, in the busiest seasons of my life, God made me aware that He invented time, 24 hours in the day. How was I going to use those precious minutes?  With the blessing of four young daughters, working from home, running the household, I was often overwhelmed not by what I was doing, but by how much was still left undone at the end of the day.  At that point in my life, I felt like when I woke up in the morning, I was already trying to catch up.

One of my favorite people at that time was a mom who had seven children.  She got things done.  She had time for people.  She served faithfully at the church.  She appeared to have margin in her day for what God would bring on her path.  She did not seem frazzled.  She gave the impression of not being overwhelmed at all, but overflowing into the lives of all those around her.

And so, I watched, as it says in the Bible to "mark those people," the faithful ones (Psalm 37. 37).  Watch who they are, what they do, how faithfulness to God is stamped on their days and in their lives.  How did she do it?

My friend did not have huge swaths of time allotted to her, her hours were no more than anyone else.  It was just how she viewed them. Time was not a battle, but a sweet gift from God. And from her, I realized her "secret sauce" was being aware of pockets of time -- and being ready for them.

God was not just a priority in her life.  He was not just prominent.  He was preeminent.  "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (Colossians 1. 17)  Notice in the space of one sentence, "all things" is repeated twice.  "All things" in the original Greek means "all things."  Even now.  Even in this.

And so she saw all of life from a different perspective.  She rolled with opportunities that I would view as interruptions or dead ends.  And she was prepared and ready when a pocket of time rolled into view, no matter how few minutes came in the package.

Once when I asked for time to talk with her, she said, "Great.  Get in the van."  And so, we had a heart-felt conversation for a whole precious hour while she went about her day, picking up one child from school for a dental appointment, taking a meal to someone else, and picking up that same son and taking him back to class.

Between the front seats of the van, I noticed a briefcase.  That, she said, was her "office."  When a few minutes presented themselves, waiting in the carpool line, waiting in a doctor's office, or for someone to show up, in the face of delays, cancellations, disruptions, instead of getting stressed out or irritated, she was overjoyed for a few minutes to get something done.

She carried around with her a Bible to make sure she had yet bathed in God's Word for the day, first things first, and even to refresh a passage of Scripture she was memorizing.  She also carried in that briefcase:   bills that needed to be paid, correspondence to be answered, preparing a Sunday school lesson to teach, lists of people to pray for, the latest book she was reading, and her children's schedules lest she forget practices, appointments, or a kid waiting in front of the school.

She did not waste time.  She used it.  She knew the value of pockets of time, the treasury of hidden minutes.  And when they appeared in unexpected places and in the busiest of days, she was ready.  "If I have to think about what to do," she advised me, "I've already lost the time."

I had one of those occasions this past Sunday afternoon.  There was not enough time to go home between a church meeting and a baby shower, leaving about a 20 minute gap.  I took my things with me, sat in the car where I needed to go next, and prepared my lesson for Bible study this week.  It was not much time. I was not able to get it all completed, but I am already this week 20 minutes ahead, instead of 20 minutes behind.

Pockets of time.  God is faithful.  You can never comprehend how much you can do -- how much God can do --with the gift of a few minutes lodged between the big rocks.  Those minutes are deeper -- and more profound -- than you can imagine.  Go forth prepared.  And keep an eye on your radar, not for if they come, but when.

But I trust in You, O LORD,
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in Your hands...
                        Psalm 31. 14-15

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