[December 30, 2018] Family Works
Speaking on the timeSomeone, unfortunately I don’t remember who, presented me with a idea that I have never forgotten. His thought was that time …
[December 30, 2018]
Speaking on the time
Someone, unfortunately I don’t remember who, presented me with a idea that I have never forgotten. His thought was that time could be compared to winning the lottery. What he said went something like this. Pretend, just pretend, that tomorrow morning you are a given a call by the lottery. The ticket you purchased for $1 last week is a winner. But how you will be paid is a little different from the norm. Beginning Tuesday morning, Jan. 1, 2019, the lottery will pay you one penny per second, under one stipulation. You are required to spend every penny given by the close of each 24-hour day. Keep spending the pennies, and more pennies will be given. You hang up the phone and run to your calculator. Just how many seconds are in a day, anyway? Sixty seconds for one minute times 60 minutes in one hour equal 3,600 seconds. Let’s see, 3,600 times 24 hours in a day . . . wow, that’s 86,400 seconds every day. That means 86,400 pennies every 24 hours. That's $864 a day or $6,048 a week or $314,496 a year.
So much for pretend. Most likely the lottery will not call you tomorrow morning. But even better than the lottery is the reality of what will take place on the morning of Jan. 1, 2019. On that morning you will be given the gift of time which equals 86,400 seconds per day, which, of course, equals 24 hours each day. The reality is that the same restrictions apply as if you were given pennies per second because the amount of time given each day can only be used on that day. From today's dawn until tomorrow's dawn, you have a precisely determined amount of time. As someone has put it, “Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you want to, but you can spend it only once.”
One of the most fascinating (and, I might add, frustrating) of all subjects is this four-letter word time. It's amazing. We all have the same amount of time each day. Whether you are penniless or whether you happen to be the richest person on earth, whether you are young or old, single or married, employed or unemployed, an adolescent in school or the president of the United States – we all have exactly the same amount of time.
Think of how much time is woven into the fabric of our conversation every day. Here are some familiar lines. “What time does the meeting start? I don't have time. How much time will it take? Don't waste your time on that. It's time to go. Time out! It's time we had a long talk. What time is supper? Take out a clean sheet of paper. It's time for a quiz.” One of my philosophy professors would make us stop and think of time when he concluded his class by saying, “I hope the time you have spent in this class has been meaningful. You have just spent one more hour of your life.”
Time is significant to all of us, because it is so precious. It is completely irretrievable. You can never repeat it or relive it. There is no such thing as a literal instant replay. That appears only on screens.
Every second, every hour, every day, every month of this new year that we are given the gift of life, we are faced with the choice of how we will use it. The time you are given is yours, all 86,400 seconds each day. How you will spend this gift of time in the year to come is your choice as well.
Rob Coombs is a professor with a doctor of ministry degree and a doctor of philosophy with an emphasis in Family Systems.
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