The Times, they are a-changin’

This week, I was asked to give a devotional at my place of work.  I had planned on posting the text, and since one friend asked nicely, I will do so today.

Just before Christmas, it seemed as if everyone wanted to talk about the 50th anniversary of the British children’s television series, Dr. Who. Now I am not a fan of the show, only because it has never ‘hooked’ me the way it has for others, but I can appreciate the excitement many fans have for the series. Imagine that! One TV series – fifty years –with eleven different actors playing the title role.

In the series, the Doctor, as he is known, is a Time Lord, which means he has the power, via a very special vehicle, to travel back and forth through time.

Now, there are other time travel stories. How many can we name? Back to the Future, Quantum Leap, The Time Machine, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and many others. These are neat stories, and I think that in general people are fascinated with the idea of time travel, because I think we all do it.

Now, I don’t mean physically travel through time, but when we remember good times in the past, or we anticipate what tomorrow will bring, we are, in a sense, moving through time.1

Often, when we go back in time in our memories, we do so out of regret for something that happened that should not have, or something that didn’t happen that should have.

In the New Testament, there are two words used for the concept of time. One is Chronos, and from it we get words like “chronology” and “chronic”. This word has the meaning of a specific measurement of time. It is concerned with the seconds/minutes/hours/days/weeks/months etc. of time. If we were a true time traveler, we would need to know the specific time (chromos) in which to travel to get where we want to go.

The other word is a little more abstract. It is Kairos, and it deals with a moment in time, The music group Kansas released a song many years ago titled “Dust in the Wind.” One line says “I closed my eyes, only for a moment and the moment’s gone.” This is kairos.

Another way of considering kairos is the idea of the “opportune moment.” In the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, the good guys have just defeated the bad guys, and the hero, Will Turner, has come face to face with the woman he secretly loves. He wants to tell her he loves her, but just can’t. Take a  look at what happens.

The opportune moment. When we look back in time in our memories with regret it is because we missed the opportune moment. The time we should have acted and didn’t. The “if only” time.

The two verses that really speak to this idea are found in Ephesians and Colossians: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16 NKJV) and “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Colossians 4:5-6 NKJV)

In Scripture, we read that God created time When he created the first day and night. He understands that we are finite, that we only have a limited number of days allotted to us.

He calls us to take advantage of the moments (kairos) he sends us in the limited number of hours and years (chronos) he has given us.

Many of the commentaries I looked at in preparing this devotional advocated 'care' or 'caution' in 'redeeming the time.' By I think, in this day and age, the right course of action is boldness. We need to boldly look for opportunities to redeem the time.

Dr. Who may be a Time Lord, but Jesus is the Lord of Time. How should we honor him this new year? By taking advantage of the opportune moment.

1. Most of my thoughts have been influenced by this series of blog posts

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