Posted: 8/23/19 at 3:20pm. Column by Ed Jordan.
Today’s column is a “timely” message (pun intended) for each of us. We all feel the pressure of losing time—once lost, it cannot be reclaimed. For some it was a lifetime of the enjoying the present with no thought to the future; for others it is being so future-minded that they squander present opportunities.
There are several things which we can all agree upon when it comes to the topic of time: 1) We never have enough time to accomplish what we want to accomplish, 2) Our days, week’s calendars, and lives are driven by time, and 3) We all have the same number of hours in the week; no one gets more time than anyone else.
I think the concept of time that motivates us—and also stresses us out—is chronological time. We have a full calendar, events come one after another, years pass by, kids grow up, loved ones grow elderly, and so on. All these events are primarily associated with chronological time.
It is sequential time, by which we order our lives, make and accomplish our plans, and measure the length of our lives. “Chronos” is the Greek word for this kind of time: we get our English words chronology, chronological, chronic, and chronicler from this sequential, linear understanding of time. Clocks and calendars use chronological time as their content and framework.
The Greek language has another word for time, which is the word “Kairos.” Kairos time, in New Testament Greek, is descriptive, not chronological. It refers to God-given opportunities that occur at the perfect time to say or do something to accomplish God’s will or to most fully utilize an opportunity for the most gain. It’s the right time, or the time when things are ready.
It is a little like the time for childbirth. Average human gestation is nine months (chronologically), but it is unlikely that birth will occur exactly nine months from conception. The baby is born when the time is right (kairos) and usually not on a convenient day or hour for the parents!
One such use of Kairos time occurs in Galatians 4:4 in describing the perfect time from God’s point of view, for Jesus the Messiah to be born. Jesus was sent at the perfect, pregnant time in history, sent in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, in the midst of complex logistics in the geopolitical dynamics of the world at the time of his birth. The timing factored in such things as: making Jesus survive within a brutal world that sought to kill him at His birth, as well as arriving at a time when the Roman infrastructure was in place to permit rapid dissemination of the Good News of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection.
Kairos time speaks of the divine intervention of God within our chronological timeline. It is God at work in the events that seem random to us but are actually a part of God’s orchestration in the complex systems which make up our lives. It is God giving us opportunities to make an impact on others or to reveal God at work through our lives and the events of our lives. In Ephesians 5:15–16 (CSB), Paul commands Christians to: “Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise— making the most of the time (kairos),, because the days are evil.”
As Christians, God is active in our lives each day. We need to be focused on seeing God working in the otherwise mundane events of our lives and then use those divinely-appointed Kairos moments to do what God tells us to do in the event.
People who think living the Christian life is boring are not alert to God’s activities and possibilities in their daily lives. However, for a person living in constant connectivity with God, each day is full of opportunities to partner with God as he reveals his presence throughout our day.
Many people long only for serenity and a totally predictable life; Christ invites us to partake of new serendipitous encounters with the Living God, who is actively involved in and through our lives.
How about you?
Are you watching for ways in which God is at work today in your life, and using those opportunities to partner with God in impacting others for him? Or are you desiring to retire from life and settle into predictability?
Time is short, eternity is long; use today’s timely opportunities for the glory of God! Be a Christian opportunist!