Stewardship of Life

More Time than Money?

Posted in Just Living by Sharron R. Lucas on April 16, 2010
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the stewardship of time. I suppose that’s because I’ve had a lot more time than money lately. Having such prodigal amounts of time on my hands has been somewhat of an uncomfortable experience for me, perhaps because I’m so used to having every moment filled to capacity with things to do , places to be, and people to see.

In my work as a parish pastor in the ELCA, I never lacked for something to do. In fact, there was always so much work to be done and so many needs to be met, that I never really had to look for ways to fill my time. Granted, the things I did were good, and the people with whom I was engaged in life and ministry were wonderful; still it was hard for me to imagine empty hours stretching out as far as the eye can see, as vast as the northern plains where I served.

Here’s the truth: I am much more comfortable spending the dollars for which I have filled my time working than I am spending time without being engaged in a steady job that yields regular dollars. Most folks in the United States around my age are like this; we’re conditioned to think in terms of time as being equal to money. We work far too much to earn money to buy the things we think we want, to have the conveniences that make our busy lives seem comfortable and possible, and to have the resources to fix the health we break by working too much and harboring too much stress. Yes, that was a mouthful, but if you think I’m exaggerating, take a little time (yes, you heard me right) to think and do the research. We are bound and captivated by the clock, the dollar, and consumer culture. Our worth is inextricably linked to our earning potential, our salaries, and our titles.

After making a seemingly drastic lifestyle and vocational decision and moving 1200 miles across the United States, I am learning some valuable lessons about the opportunities and challenges of having more time than money and about how to steward this gift of time. Now I live with more hours than dollars, and that dear friends, goes against the grain of our culture AND my own life experience.

People worry about you, about how you’re going to survive. Friends wonder why you don’t have a regular eight hour a day, five or six day a week job. Folks fret about your financial fitness. A few people might even question your sanity and prudence. The occasional naysayer may even question your motives. Oh, sure, it’s all well and good that you feel called to be close to aging parents and help out, but come on—what are you thinking?!

I’m thinking that most of us don’t know a whole lot about time or its worth. I’m thinking that we allow ourselves to squander time on things that aren’t lasting, that have precious little value in the grand scheme of the cosmos. I’m realizing that I need to learn to be a better steward of every precious second that God sees fit to give me. Being a good steward of our hours is a part of living justly on this earth. I’m coming to understand that like we have a carbon footprint, we also have a time imprint (but more about that later).

In the next few blog entries, I’ll be sharing what I’m learning about how to spend time instead of money.  I invite you to join the conversation and submit your thoughts about stewardship of time. I wonder: is our time really just ‘a wastin’ away?

6 Responses to 'More Time than Money?'

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  1. Francesca said,

    Though I can’t buy anything from you, being in Australia, I love reading your work. Very inspiring for a would-be de-clutterer !

    • Thanks, Francesca! Glad you stopped in and hope you’ll visit often.

  2. Robert Leaverton said,

    Time is such a precious commodity. We are only gifted with a finite amount of it during our stay on earth. All too often we do not appreciate how precious time is. That does not mean our life has to be booked solid with activity and appointments. It means how do we give of ourselves to others and enrich their live as well as our own.

    • Robert, I like what you say about time and considering “how do we give of ourselves to others and enrich their live as well as our own.” Very good point! Thank you.

  3. bev kendall said,

    Good words and thoughts Sharron. You will learn much about what matters in this chapter in your life. I too feel a bit uncomfortable with vast spaces of time, primarily because I am so accustomed to the clock managing my life for me. I AM ONE PERSON THAT IS SO GLAD THAT CLOCKS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN HEAVEN. Time won’t matter anymore. It won’t be measured. It won’t be in control. You and I can just sit together until we feel like our visit is up. I think you know that I am 57. That age seems very old to some and very young to others. Realistically, my life on planet earth is 1/2 over. Time is a precious commodity for me. I race like the wind and then fall asleep in my bathtub. On the subject of money – enough seems to be the key word. God said He would provide my needs. I just need to be sure I’m on the same page with Him as to what my needs are. I’m most happy when I can be generous with my resources. He is most happy when I am actively inviting Him to be a part of all of my thoughts, my heart and my activities. I’m looking foward to your next rendering. Keep writing.

    • I appreciate your thoughts and comments, Bev! I agree about the no clocks in heaven–that will be wonderful when we’re under “kairos” rather than “chronos” time. Thanks for joining the conversation.

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