My husband and I recently had coffee with some old friends. They are old in the sense that we have known them for a long time, but they are also old in age. They admitted they are starting to slow down, just a little. Then they laughed about how time flies by so quickly. “We seem to mark it by our involvement at church,” they admitted. “What? It’s time for Bible study already? What? It’s Sunday again?” They spoke with enthusiasm and energy about that involvement and about their relationship to their God.
Their comments struck me as something worth noting, since I had just returned from spending a week visiting a retirement home, among people who seemed to be marking time by their stomachs. “Isn’t it time for lunch yet? When will they announce Supper? They should be announcing supper soon.” (They reminded me a little of Merry and Pipin in the Lord of the Rings – “Surely he knows about elevensies?!”). Though I recognized that the capacity of the folks in that retirement home to be productive is now limited by age and infirmities, it saddened me that there was nothing more significant in their lives than what and when they would eat that day.
Sadly, though many of us are limited by neither old age nor infirmity, we sometimes live our lives in a similar way, with little purpose or direction. We mark time by how quickly Friday comes or when our next opportunity will be to indulge in some kind of leisure activity. Days fly by and we neither acknowledge the creator nor delight in what He has provided for us. Weeks fly by and we neglect the things and the people who nourish us spiritually.
Paul, the writer of the book of Philippians recognized the futility of such a life when he said - “their god is their stomach and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” That kind of focus leaves us empty and unfulfilled, both spiritually and otherwise. For, as Paul went on to say – “… our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ …” (Phil.3:19-20).
Marking our lives by our stomachs, with a steadfast focus on our own needs and desires, does not satisfy the needs of our hearts and souls. Those deeper needs of life can only be satisfied by relationships, first with God and then with those around us. We are designed that way. As citizens of heaven, we are designed to mark time by God’s clock.
His clock is ticking. We may not have much more time to recognize where our citizenship really lies. Some of us may have no more than the time it takes to read this article.
The Psalmist wrote – “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
How are you marking time?
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia's second novel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short listed in the contemporary fiction category of The Word Awards. Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded here. Visit Marcia's website