Trading Moments

It’s a curious way that we talk about time in America. Time, just like all other things in culture, seems to be for sale.

“I need to spend some time cleaning up.”
“Nothing, just wasting time.”
“Can you give me a few minutes?”
“You’ll love it! It’ll save you tons of time.”

We talk about time like it’s just another commodity in life that is to be bought, sold and traded. As Benjamin Franklin so famously wrote, “Remember that time is money.”

Well, sorry, Ben, but I think I disagree.

Time cannot be doled out at our command. While we may speak and act like we can manage our own time, it cannot be controlled. Time passes constantly and in equal units. And as much as we may try, we cannot save up our time or store it away in barns.

Money is a renewable resource. Time is not. And we never know when time will run out.

Time simply cannot be owned. Time is not money.

This is a good thing, by the way. Money is obviously an important tool in life, but it certainly is not the point. That’s why Paul warned in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

And why does loving money lead to evil? Because money is a means and not an end. Money is good only as a medium to something else. We earn, keep and save our money so that we might trade it for something that we want or need. Unless it is spent, money has little value. Each dollar is traded for something we deem more valuable.

Our language shows that we attempt to do the same with our time.

We spend this moment working so that we might have future moments of leisure.
We believe any unproductive moment is wasted.
We give others our time hoping they will reciprocate to even the score.
We love saving time in hopes that we will have more later.

This moment is traded like currency hoping to find more meaning in the next. When time is treated like money, the present has no value except what it can bring to us later. This moment is never valued for itself. So the real beauty is missed.

Time is not meant to be traded. Time is meant to be enjoyed. To be savored. We are meant to be completely present in this moment – no matter if it is work or play, joy or grief.

This moment has a beauty all its own because it is all we have. Maybe this is what God had in mind for the Sabbath. If we stop, then we realize that this moment is not one to be traded away. God is found in the present. Now is not a means, but an end.

Your present moment is all you have. It is important and meaningful.

So may you stop trading your moments like currency and enjoy each one today for the beauty that it brings. May you resist the urge to be hurried like there are more desirable places to be. May you find beauty in each and every moment of your day.

Because that’s all you can control. And that’s where God is found.

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