In this Wisdom Note, we want to consider the concept of time. Before setting out on a long hike or trip of any kind, you will usually calculate how far you will be able to travel each day if everything goes according to plan. So much of what we do in our lives is controlled by time. In fact, life is like a clock in so many ways.
While there is a certain reality that time is controlled by the rotation of the earth, the measure of time, represented by a clock, is a man-made creation. As Albert Einstein put it, “Time is an illusion,” yet nearly every moment of our lives is controlled by the clock. The clock tells us when to get up, when to go to work, when to eat, when to go home, when to sleep…And then the cycle repeats itself each day.
As such, we need to be careful of how much we allow the clock to control us. As H. G. Wells put it, “We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.” We need to live a life that is rich and satisfying.
Life Is Measured in Quarters
As we continue on our trek through life, let us examine the different ways that life is like a clock. In our first analogy within the created limitations of time, humans set their own boundaries, defining life in quarters just as a clock has its time measured in fourths. The first quarter of life is childhood, the second is young adulthood, the third mature adulthood, and the fourth is old age.
Paula and I wonder where the years have gone. We still feel like we are in the second quarter of life but realize that we are firmly entrenched in the 3rd quarter of a normal lifespan, even if God grants us the opportunity to live to 100 or longer.
Time, like life, does not stop for anyone. For this reason, each hour of your life is valuable. Other than to learn from it, you must not live in the past. You cannot change yesterday. You can only make the most of today and look with hope toward tomorrow. Live fully and enjoy each day, for you will never have an opportunity to live this day again. Take time to be kind, both to yourself and others. You need to make sure that you utilize your time to make the greatest impact.
The Apostle Paul put it this way in his letter to the church in Ephesus Chapter 5 verses 15-17, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”
Life Is Broken Into Seconds, Minutes, and Hours
Next, let’s look at a second analogy of how life is like a clock. The measurement of time is broken down into seconds, minutes, and hours. As God’s most precious of creations, made to be bearers of His image. We are made up of mind, body, and spirit. The mind is like the seconds moving at the fastest rate. We are constantly thinking and planning. The body is like the minutes, controlled by the mind to take action based on the decisions of the mind. The spirit is the reflection of the accumulation of our thoughts and actions. What is your spirit reflecting today?
There is no separation between the three. All are intertwined to make us who we really are. We scheme and plan in our minds, we take action with our bodies, and we feel we are in control of our destinies in our spirits. Our lives, to a certain extent, are the sum of our choices, but it is God who is the final timekeeper.
As Jesus’s half-brother James wrote in his letter to the dispersed Hebrew nation in James 4:13-17, “Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog — it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’ Otherwise, you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”
And for further inspiration, consider this poem about the clock of life.
The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one’s health is more,
To lose one’s soul is such a loss
That no man can restore.
The present only is our own,
So live, love, toil with a will,
Place no faith in “Tomorrow,”
For the Clock may then be still.”
― Robert H. Smith
This week we are reminded that life is like a clock. Let us be mindful to invest our time wisely on our trek of life and keep moving forward each day.