Last Wednesday evening, someone asked me, “What have you done today?” I mumbled something like, “Hmm… don’t know, it seemed like the day went by so fast. I looked up and it was 5pm already.” Then again on Saturday evening, another person asked me, “What have you done on this Saturday?” Again I couldn’t really figure out what I’ve done. I thought in my heart, “I hate it when someone asked me what I’ve done and all I could say is I’ve done nothing!”
But then I remembered something significant that happened yesterday when I took a walk on my street with my kids. I’ve lived on my street for 13 years, but I have invested very little time in getting to know my neighbors. I could blame it on my shy and reserved and introverted personality, but in reality I have to admit I just don’t care about people and I don’t love people as much as Jesus does.
Yesterday Wendy was out shopping at garage sales, and while waiting for her to come home, I decided to take the kids out to walk around the block. It just happens that there’s a retired pastor who lives across the street a few doors down, and I saw him working on his front lawn, so I walked up to him and started chatting with him.
During the conversation, I learned that his next door neighbor just passed away. “He looked so energetic and he would play sports every week for many years,” the retired pastor said of the neighbor, “I thought he would live till 80. But three weeks ago, due to cancer, he died at the age of 59.”
I have never ever talked to people in that household. And hearing the retired pastor share about this, I immediately felt ashamed. God has given me 13 years of time and opportunity to know my neighbors, to make friends with them, or at least just to greet them by name, and I haven’t even done anything, and I have to hear about them after someone has died.
I’m over 40 years old, and the evening of my life is approaching. It’s as if God comes to me in the evening and asks, “What have you done today?”
There are two Greek words with the meaning of “time”: “chronos” and “kairos.” In Greek mythology, Chronos is a cruel god who even devoured his children. People who live in Chronos time are the ones who tried keeping up and claim to do “time management,” but are really just swallowed up and devoured in the demands of time. They (and I) wonder where their time has gone. And then they serve the Chronos god some more by being super-busy and trying to squeeze in their time to do this and that.
But “kairos” is different. Ephesians 5:15-16 says “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” The Greek word for “time” here is “kairos.” Kairos time is time spent with purpose and wisdom. It is the ability to step back from the rat race and ask what’s really important in life, and do it. It is the ability to live with a perspective of eternity and to see that it is ok to be inconvenienced for an hour or so to help someone else in need — after all, an hour is nothing in view of eternity.
When it comes to loving people and to living in time, I am so broken. I admit that (a) I need to love people more (b) I need to trade my chronos time into kairos time. Lord, please help me to spend my time wisely. The next time someone asks me, “What have you done today?” I want to be able to answer with something that gives life meaning and purpose.