The Essential Value of Time

Time is usually something we don’t think about consciously.  However embedded in the word “time” is an entire worldview and even value system which we may not be consciously aware of. In the business culture, we often hear people say, “Time is money” and we feel rather apologetic if our time is not translated into activities that make money because then it seems to be a waste of time. But what does God consider to be a waste of time? What does He consider to be a fruitful use of time? To acknowledge the value of time as a thing of value in itself, is to acknowledge the Creator of that time.

The quote below Marvin Wilson gives an excellent view of time biblically (Our Father Abraham, p. 178)

It should be of more than a passing interest to Christians that the first thing in Scripture God sanctifies is not a place or thing but time. “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy” (Gen.2:3). “Spiritual life begins to decay when we fail to sense the grandeur of what is eternal in time.” Biblical history is not the story of celebrating space, but the revelation of how a people learned to sanctify moments, events—time. Thus the essence of spirituality is for God’s people to know the dynamic presence and quickening power of the heavenly Lord at work on earth in their daily lives and activities.

As an interesting side point to this issue of time, Marvin shows how the influence of dualistic Greek thought have created the need to “make holy” things related to the physical and material world in the Church. This included things such as water, burial ground, crosses, and other religious objects. We see this influence also in the way we say our grace before meals.

Unlike the common practice of most Western Christians today, in Bible times the Hebrew people did not see the need to bless food, drink, or other material things. In prayer they focused only on blessing God, the Creator and Giver…”The berakhah (blessing) does not transfer holiness to the object itself, but rather entitles us to partake of the world’s pleasure…We give thanks to the Lord and testify thereby that the earth is his and we are but its caretakers.”

The ancient blessing used in Judaism as grace before meals was “Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.”

The ancient Hebrews would never have thought of blessing what they ate. The idea would have been totally foreign to them … The postbiblical notion that one needed to sanctify, cleanse or purify what God has already created and declared to be good would be strange theology to the biblical writers.

 

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