Editorial: Rollover Minutes

Does your cell phone contract have roll-over minutes? This is one of the most attractive of the options which carriers offer. The benefit of being able to roll over minutes from month to month, and in some cases, year to year, is a real plus for those who do not exhaust all their allotted time in one month.

But life itself is different. There are no roll-over minutes from day to day. We each get 24 hours and 1440 minutes in each day. If we waste them, we do not get an opportunity to use them the next day. They are gone forever. Time is a precious commodity, so precious we are told to “redeem” it (Eph 5:16). Each day should be viewed as a precious gift of time from the Lord to be used in the most constructive and beneficial way for His glory.

There is the danger of the tyranny of time ruling our lives: schedules and deadlines, demands and appointments all controlling our movements. But perhaps we are in greater danger of the opposite extreme, the tragedy of time lost. Time is supposed to be our servant and not our master; our servant and not our toy.

There are two words in the Greek for time: chronos and kairos. Fittingly, chronos was a mythic monster who devoured his children. It is used for the time on a clock, the time that we cannot control (Matt 2:7). We are all in one sense “prisoners” of this time.

But kairos is the time we take for something (Gal 6:10). It is the time we take for being alone with God and communing daily. It is the time we take for spiritual things and those things that advance the Kingdom of God. It embraces the time a husband takes to make his wife aware she is number one in his life; that parents take to teach their children spiritual values, and to communicate a sense of family.

So often when faced with decisions as to the rightness or wrongness of an activity or pursuit, it would be more profitable to ask if it is a wise use of time. It is not that every moment must be invested in some profitable pursuit. This is almost capitulating to the tyranny of time. It is making kairos into chronos, and sweeping us along with an irresistible force to do its bidding.

Every moment does not need to be spent in spiritual pursuits. But leisure time was meant to enable us to return to the priorities of life with recharged batteries. Leisure activities are not to become our priority. We should be taking time (kairos) to do good (Gal 6:10), redeeming the time (Eph 5:16), and recognizing the importance of the time in which we live (Rom 13:11). We should be seeking to use our time wisely, redeeming it in light of eternity. There are no rollover minutes from day to day, from month to month, or from this life into eternity.