How Do They Have So Much Time?
There’s a sentence in C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity that's been stuck in my brain for a few weeks now. At one point, Lewis begins to comment on the unique characteristics of Christians. What will you notice about them?
“They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from.”
Have you noticed this? Have you wondered where it comes from? Here are three reasons why those who know and follow Christ seem to have so much time on their hands.
First, you think they have a lot of time because they have freely and fully given some of it to you. When they are with you, they give you their full attention and they are not antsy to be somewhere else. One of the most innovative and fascinating tech devices you can buy today is the Apple Watch. Those things are admittedly amazing. But I refuse to buy one. I don't want to get dinged and distracted when I am in the middle of a conversation. We get enough of that from our phones. I can't stand it when I'm speaking to someone and they pause to look down at their watch because a text has just come in. I want to say, “HEY! UP HERE! I'm actually sitting across from you. That other person's not even in the room!” Although I’ve probably done it before, I never want to give someone the impression I'd rather be doing something else. Can you imagine Jesus ever being preoccupied and distracted while the person in front of him wonders why he isn't paying attention to what they're saying?
Second, mature believers are intentional with their schedules. They are in charge of their calendar, not the other way around. They work hard to keep margin in their day-to-day lives so they will have time to minister to others when the need arises. How can you schedule in a visit to a lonely church member, or someone in the hospital, or to provide a meal for someone going through a rough patch, if you can’t even get the family around the dinner table because of work, school, homework, sports, exercise, and time at the lake? How many of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and hear the words, “As you did not do it to the least of these, you did not do it to me,” and respond by saying, “Yes Lord, but I just didn’t have the time!”
Truly, truly, I say to you… people do what they want to do. Or, perhaps I should say, people prioritize what’s most important to them. Committed Christians, who have let the gospel permeate their lives, prioritize serving and ministering to others. So, of course it seems like they have lots of time. They are intentionally giving it out to people! This is no accident. Just like it is no accident that an otherwise busy person, once motivated, will give significant time to exercise. If you want to know what someone's priorities are, look at the way they spend their time.
Finally, those who have a deep walk with the Lord seem to have tons of time because they have fallen out of love with the world and its values. Many of the things that keep us so, so busy are simply no longer important to them. Working extra hours to climb the corporate ladder? No thank you. Travel ball? We'll pass. You will rarely hear a truly mature believer tell you they must get home to get in front of their TV. Even their careers seem different than most. Of course, this isn't true for every mature believer, but I often find that those who walk closely with the Lord have a flexibility with their job that many people don't. It is certainly rare to hear them say they can’t make it to worship on Sunday because they have to work.
As you read the gospels, and pay attention to the way Jesus went about his days, you begin to get the sense that this man was never… ever… hurried. He told his brothers, “My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand.” (John 7:6) Perhaps the definitive example of Jesus’s deliberate pace was when he was on the way to heal Jairus’s daughter in Mark 5. The little girl was at the point of death, so her father, one of the rulers of the synagogue, rushed to Jesus and begged him to come. It was on his way there that the woman who had a discharge of blood for twelve years reached out in faith and touched his garment. Jesus stopped, unhurried, to meet her and praise her. In the mean time, the ruler’s daughter died. No doubt everyone who was with Jesus saw the little girl as the more pressing case of the two. She was about to die! Let’s come back and heal this old woman. She’s waited twelve years—it won’t hurt her to wait another hour! But Jesus was always on a different time table than the world.
It is absurd to imagine Jesus stressed out about possibly being late. He always had plenty of time. And so do we.