God Gives Us Enough Time

How many times have I said “I don’t have enough time”? I deliberately keep myself busy, because I hate to sit idle. This quote from Professor Bruce Hindmarsh struck me as I thought about being busy;

Busyness is moral laziness [because it is often a statement of our self-importance and our excuse to be inattentive to people]. . . . But God has given us just enough time to do what we need to do moment by moment to respond to him. And his grace is there; it is eternally present. Every moment is a sacrament where time touches eternity and there is exactly enough time to do what God has called us to do.

It got me thinking about why I’m so busy, is it out of a sense of self-importance? Or perhaps an unconscious reason to be inattentive to others? I had to stop to think about what this is saying and my own experiences.

Think back to the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Jesus came to a village and was welcomed into the home of Martha and her sister Mary. Having someone like Jesus in your home was a big deal and Martha fell compelled to be busy preparing the meal she was preparing for everyone. Mary on the other hand sat at the feet of Jesus listening to his teaching. Martha was indignant and asked Jesus to tell Mary to come help Martha as it wasn’t fair that she was doing all the work herself. Jesus replied with something very important;

“My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her.” – Luke 10:41-42

Martha may have been felt the need to please everyone by preparing a large meal or she may have been using her busyness to show Jesus how essential she was. Do I keep busy to let everyone know how “needed” I am?

Or do I use busyness to avoid making harder, more costly choices? Do we use our busyness to mask our underlying laziness? Are we the “Lazy Busy” as Tony Reinke states in his article?

The most common species of slothfulness is “lazy busy” — a full schedule endured in a spiritual haze, begrudging interruptions, resenting needy people, driven by a craving for the next comfort.

Busyness can be an escape. An overflowing schedule can become a shield protecting us from the unpredictable, inconvenient, time-consuming needs of other people. Are we willing to dismiss the needs of those that need help, because we are “too busy”?

God always provides exactly enough time to do He has called us to do. He has given us the time, but are we good stewards of that time? Remember the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25;

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ – Matthew 25:14-30

God has given us the time to do what he has called us. Do we invest that time, use it in the moment he has given it to us and reap the return? Or do we squander that time by being to busy to invest it in God’s kingdom? If God fills our plate full of things to do for his sake, we need to remain faithful to our callings even if that means we need to refrain from doing other things. But God always gives us enough time.

He presents us with opportunities every day if we only take the time to notice them and act on them. Can we be attentive to the needs of others even if it means we take time away from our “busy” schedules? Can we act upon those that need help, even if it causes us discomfort. That’s a challenge I know won’t be easy to faithfully carry out. It is going to force me to slow down and pay attention. To not be so busy or use my busyness as an excuse. Not an easy challenge to undertake.

Strengthening my Faith through Code

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a discussion with a true atheist.  Plenty of agnostics, many that are just indifferent and some of different religions, but I can’t say ever a true atheist.  Many of you know I’m a software developer by trade, so I deal everyday with things that a large majority of people don’t understand.  I write lines of code, that the computer somehow magically interprets and makes the computer do crazy and wondrous things.  At least that is how my children view what I do.  When I step back and think about it, what we do is kind of magical.  I write some code, that is nothing more than a few lines of semi-english looking text.  The computer translates it into a bunch of numbers and ultimately into a bunch of 1’s and 0’s.  When you put enough of those together, they make the game you are playing or work application run or the browser that you are reading this post in….it’s really quite amazing.  But it all takes a little bit of faith.

I ran across the article this morning called, How Programming Has Strengthened my Faith in God, that got me thinking about all this.  I can play around with code to make it operate however I want.  The following code is from a game I started writing recently.  What it does is not important to our discussion, but to get the game to work properly, the code has precisely tell the computer what to do, but it essential controls the movement of the main player character.  With some very minor changes, I could make the character fly, appear frozen to the ground, run at twice the speed or half the speed.  I could make anything happen.

Code

 

This world, in a very simplistic view, is much the same.  I drop a ball from the roof and the routine of gravity kicks in and the ball falls to the ground.  If you know anything about gravity, you know the formulas, the constants, the calculations that need to happen to tell us how quickly the ball drops and with what velocity.  When it hits the ground does it bounce and how high?  And then how long does it take until the ball finally comes to rest.  All those calculations and if one little calculation was changed or one constant was tweaked even slightly, the ball could very well not drop to the ground but fly horizontally across the sky and out into space.

But we know it drops and we know before we release it, that it will drop.  How doe we know that?  Well it takes a bit of faith at first.  Then after much experience, we come to trust and believe that it is true, even though we don’t understand it or really can tell anyone exactly how it works.  But we know it does and that it always will.

Is our faith in God any different?  At first we may be skeptical and not be sure if there is a God or not.  Then something happens that gives us a little bit of evidence.  We ultimately step out in faith that God exists and works in our lives daily.  We may not know how, we may not know the reasoning behind things, but we have faith that God is there, even though that faith can be a little scary at times.   Then after we become more mature in our faith, we just “know” that God is there.  It is still faith, because we ultimately don’t know the inner workings, but we know from experience that He works in our lives.  After dropping the ball from the roof fifty times, we still may not have a better understanding of how gravity works, but we have faith that when we drop it the fifty-first time, it will work much the same as the previous tries.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  – Hebrews 11:1

I’ll finish this post with that one quote from Hebrews as it pretty much sums it all up.  We have faith in so many things every day that we don’t understand, yet so many find it hard to have faith that there is a God that works in our lives every day, despite the evidence that surrounds us.