There are only 24 hours in a day. Everyone is subject to the number of hours, minutes and seconds each day brings. In essence, it is a limited commodity for everyone. It does not matter if you’re rich, poor, black, white, Christian, Muslim. Time impacts all of us. With so much to do, so much to be distracted by, a new term has emerged for those who are over scheduled, over committed and overtired. It is called time poverty. It basically is telling us what we already know. We are too busy.
It was not supposed to be like this. In 1928, John Maynard Keynes predicted that by 2028 our wealth and technology would permit us all to work 15-hour weeks and dedicate our lives to leisure. Instead of having a lot of extra time to help others and relax, we find ourselves in a much different world.
- Americans work an average of 8.8 hours per day as compared to the UK at 7.8 hours per day. Those in Italy and Germany work only 6.8 hours per day. This does not include the “shadow work”, which is all of the tasks that take time in which we don’t get paid for like cooking, driving the kids, communing, etc.
- In America, we spend an average of 60 hours a week at work, as compared to 40 hours per week in 1967.
- In America, we take fewer vacations than other parts of the world. We take an average of 14 days a year, as compared to Norway who take an average of 70 days per year.
- We also do not get enough sleep. The average person only sleeps 6 hours a night, as compared to 8.5 hours a night a century ago.
More work, more tasks, less sleep, fewer vacations. It is no wonder we are tired and feel overwhelmed and too busy. But are we too busy for the divine interruptions that allows us to share the love of Christ? Lisa is not. She was at her daughter’s softball game and got to talking with an out of town grandparent. He asked Lisa if she knew where a particular place was that he needed to visit at the end of the game. Lisa’s initial thought was to teach him how to use his navi on his phone. Unfortunately, he struggled a bit. Instead of leaving the man to his own devices, Lisa chose to allow the interruption and offered to lead the man to his destination. The man was shocked that someone would take time out of their busy schedule to help him. He was so grateful. That day Lisa realized the value of not overbooking her schedule. It was a great example to Lisa’s daughter as well. Taking time to help a person in need is exactly what Jesus would have done.
Action for the day
Your task for today is to review your weekly schedule. Look at every activity and task that you have. Do you have enough open time to accommodate a divine interruption? If not, prioritize and take some things off your plate. If you are to truly make a difference in this world, you will need some time to engage with people.
Prayer for the day
Jesus, thank you that you always had time for those in need. Today, I pray you will help me see how I can manage my time so I can also have time to join You in your work. Help me to see those in need and step into their lives and make a difference. Father, I ask that You help me to be time rich so that I can give it away freely. It is in your powerful name Jesus that I ask these things. Amen.
Tim Chester, The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness (Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2006)
Richard A. Swenson, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2004)