What time is it?

from theDesk of…

by Ron Strickland, Lt. Colonel –

Recently, I have been thinking about time. You know: seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years. Why would I be fixating on time? I believe it is because my time as an active officer is coming to an end. You see, on September 1, 2011—having served 33 years, 2 months, and 20 days—I will officially retire from active service as a Salvation Army officer. However, I will never retire from service because God has called me to serve him for a lifetime, not just for a period of time.

When looking up the definition of time, I was surprised to find a plethora of meanings for this word. Webster’s dictionary defines time as: “The measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues.” How about this other definition of time from our friend Mr. Webster: “A nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events that succeed one another from past through present to future.

While there are many more definitions of time, the latter definition best defines, for me, my process as an active officer for 33 years—from past, to present and now looking into the future. What began as a slow-moving journey at the beginning has seemingly gained lightning speed, and I have been asking myself and others, “Where has the time gone?” It seems like only yesterday when the journey began. However, I believe now, as I did 33 years ago, that God’s timing was and has been perfect for my life. Father truly does know best.

Yet, what does God have to say about time? Since he is the Creator of the universe—and thus time—he surely knows the essence and reason for giving time to us. So, what is it? Well, our first glimpse of time from God is found in Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Thus, time began for the human race and the clock began to tick. And time has been marching on for many millenniums.

Through time, God has been calling his people to serve and worship him in spirit and in truth. Through time, he has prepared the way in giving us a Savior—his one and only Son, Jesus—that we may have eternal life with him. This is evidenced throughout his Word but articulated very well in Galatians 4: 4-5: But when the right time came, God sent his Son who was born of a woman and lived under the law. God did this so he could buy freedom for those who were under the law and so we could become his children.

What a wonderful gift God has given to his children—a home in which to dwell with him for time and eternity. For in God’s economy, a day is like that of a thousand years and a thousand years is like that of a day. The essence of time is to live forever with him in heaven.

So the next time you take time to think about time and its true meaning, hopefully you will have a deeper appreciation and understanding of it from God’s perspective. Since time is allotted to each of us in varying quantities—some having less and others having more—we should be careful to use it to honor and serve the God of creation. Our journey in time is truly a special gift from God. Use it wisely for his honor and glory.

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