Thursday, October 13, 2016

Beautiful Minds

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways … Proverbs 14

The other day I was wandering around the internet, aimlessly flitting from one site to another. My wife asked me what I was doing and I told her, “I’m killing time.”

It’s a funny saying, isn’t it? “Killing time.”

I have finally gotten to that age where I am more aware of my body than usual. Every now and then I reach to grab something and there is a twinge in my shoulder that was never there before. I wonder whether it is muscle ache or joint pain and, frankly, can’t tell. I’d have to be more in tune with my body, and that would take paying attention – something for which I haven’t got time!

I’m coming to realize that it isn’t time I’m killing as much as time is killing me! As I approach the Golden Years (at the pace of a sloth on speed), I find myself wondering how it is this “gold” has gotten itself wrapped in a crust of rust!

That’s one of the problems with a relatively sedentary life-style. I’d like to think I am an active sort, but maybe flipping the channels with a remote or wandering the world via the World Wide Web isn’t as active as it sounds. Flipping is a word we hear in gymnastics, but I’m not sure what I do qualifies as a gymnastic maneuver. I would also venture to state that logging onto the internet is less physical than logging a forest, so maybe I need to consider a change in life-style.

This idea of time killing us is nothing new, of course. The Greek word for time is Chronos, named for a nasty minor deity who was best known for eating his own children. He is depicted by artists as a ravenous old coot whose appetite is never satiated – always consuming, but never satisfied. That’s a scary-good picture of time, if you ask me.

There is another Greek word – a better word – for time: Kairos. This is sometimes called “God’s time.” This is time as an opportunity, a gift; time with a purpose. This kind of time does not steal life, but gives life. It is the sort of time Solomon referred to when he wrote: To everything there is a time and a season – a time to laugh, a time to mourn; a time to be born, a time to die; a time to speak, a time for silence, and so forth.

If we look at time this way, we find the questions we ask tend to change. Instead of asking what time it is, we ask what this time is for. How should I use this time that God has given me? Instead of crying, “Good God, morning,” when we awake, we shake off our sleep and declare, “Good morning, God!”

What I have discovered is that it isn’t time that needs to change, but my attitude toward time. Instead of grousing about where time has gone, I look to see how best to use the time I’ve got, and at the end of the day, admire the things I’ve accomplished, or how much less there is to do next time I get started.

That’s quite a difference, isn’t it?

Solomon said, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,” and I suppose one of the things he had in that beautiful mind of his was the idea that if we are wise, and if we are prudent, we will give thought to not just what we say and do, but to how we use our time.

When that computer of mine isn’t behaving properly, I find I sometimes have to reboot it; turn it off, unplug it, remove the battery, and after a minute, put it all back together, start it up, and it’s good as new. Maybe we need to do that with our lives, too; unplug and reboot.

It may not remove the arthritis and muscle strain one acquires with age, but it could well remove the twinge of guilt that arises when we find ourselves killing time instead of redeeming it for the sake of the kingdom. That could create in us a beautiful mind in no time at all, and wouldn’t that be a pleasant thing in this, our valley?