My son, Lewie, and I on his Navy bootcamp graduation day.

“From the Hart” Devotional for Nov. 30, 2023

“Time is a Traveler”
by Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries

12 Therefore, my loved ones, just as you always obey me, not just when I am present but now even more while I am away, carry out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 God is the one who enables you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes. 14 Do everything without grumbling and arguing 15 so that you may be blameless and pure, innocent children of God surrounded by people who are crooked and corrupt. Among these people you shine like stars in the world 16 because you hold on to the word of life. This will allow me to say on the day of Christ that I haven’t run for nothing or worked for nothing. 17 But even if I am poured out like a drink offering upon the altar of service for your faith, I am glad. I’m glad with all of you. 18 You should be glad about this in the same way. Be glad with me!

Philippians 2:12-18

I received an email from my Sailor son this morning who is currently deployed with on the USS Princeton. He shared how he recently became a time traveler. He wrote “There is a day that I completely skipped, that will be lost to me forever.” Without knowing his exact location, I know that time zones change one hour for every 15 degrees of longitude, so I guess he sailed enough degrees to skip a day. Or perhaps it has to do with crossing the equator. Maybe both. Either way, he missed a whole day on the calendar. How weird is that?

All of this got me thinking about time. In the Peter Allen song, “Tenterfield Saddler”, he sings about how time is a traveler, meddler, and taleteller. I would add that time is a treasure and an opportunity. One thing we know for sure about time is that time on earth is short. In James 4:14, we read “You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” Have you ever tried to hold on to vapor? It is fragile and hard to hold cling to; it slips through our fingers. Nowhere is the fleeting fragility of time more apparent than watching our children grow. One minute, they are playing pirate on a ship they have fashioned out of couch cushions and the next minute they are writing you from a ship out at sea. Where does the time go?

Life on this earth is short, but eternity with God is forever. In Ephesians 5:15-16, we are warned not to waste our precious time on the wrong things, rather the things that come from the Spirit. It says “So be careful to live your life wisely, not foolishly. Take advantage of every opportunity because these are evil times.”

So how exactly do we go about making our days count for Christ?
Here are some questions to help us think about just that:

The Bible tells us that our eye is the lamp of the body, meaning that if we keep our sights on the things of God, we will be filled with light. How are you being intentional about keeping your sights on the good things (or God things) each day? What are you reading, watching, and listening to that fills your mind?

Have you ever noticed when you are going through a struggle or a crisis, time seems to stand still? When my stepdad was transitioning from this earth, it consumed every minute of our days for about 12 days. It was as if my mom, stepdad and I were on an island unto ourselves and there was nothing else happening in the world. Actually, a pandemic, insurrection, and chaos were happening in the world at the time, but we were focused on compassion and caring for Manny. There is nothing much more spiritual than the passing of a loved one from this life to the next. What struggle are you going through right now that might be teaching you something about God’s love and grace in your life?

Finally, gratitude has a funny way of helping us to focus on Christ. When we stop and take time at the end of the day to look back and recognize the blessings that occurred, it draws us nearer to God. Being intentional about seeing where God showed up in our day helps us to think about how we might want to spend our time the next day. What is one blessing from this very day that you are thankful for?

God of all of our days.
Thank you for the time that you have granted me this day — for the blessings that have come my way and the opportunities that are still ahead of me. I promise to be a good steward of the time that you have given me. Help me to spend my time giving more than taking, praising more than criticizing, thanking more than demanding, and loving more than hating. Keep me on the path that leads back to you for time and all eternity.