Why is time management so difficult in today’s American culture?
Recently, I was working my way through a slog of traffic. It was rush hour in Denver and the highway had become a parking lot. An accident had occurred ahead of us, turning the four-lane highway into a two-lane choke point. At max, we were traveling twenty miles per hour. The fellow next to me was feverishly pounding away at his smartphone, coasting in the heavy traffic. He coasted right into the back of a flat-bed truck in front of him, which had suddenly stopped with the rest of traffic. It turned the hood of his car into an accordion. I can’t imagine why that man’s conversation on his phone was worth the damage he caused. What is it about our culture that demands we operate at such a breakneck pace? Why is it a major effort to manage the 168 hours we have given to us each week?
This is a perfect contrast to the Kingdom of Heaven. Within the Kingdom of Heaven, there is no construct of time. It doesn’t exist. Recently, I have been reading the Book of Daniel. After King Darius threw Daniel to the hungry lions, he spent a sleepless night agonizing over what he had done to his faithful servant. His entire evening of pacing the floor and fretting about Daniel was met the next morning with Daniel still alive, protected by an angel. Outside the den of lions, the King anxiously asked Daniel, “Has your God been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel responded, “May the King live forever! My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions!” The King, deceived by jealous men, spent a needless harrowing night without sleep. The Lord saw through the plot to take Daniels life and intervened.
Living in this current culture is like the King making his decree and then regretting the decision, staying up all night needlessly. I would rather be like Daniel, operating in such close proximity to the Kingdom of Heaven that the people around me recognize my different manner. I want a peace so secure in Christ that it shocks the culture around me.
Now, I realize that none of us can simply stop time in this buzzing culture, but we can choose not to allow the pace of our culture to dominate our individual calendars. I cannot control the occurrences of fender benders common in urban living, but I can control my response to it. I think we can all lean back, put on some good tunes, and wait for the traffic to clear.