Why is time management so difficult in today’s American culture?
Recently, I was working my way through a slog of traffic. The volume of cars and trucks were supposed to be the usually slack midday lull between the tidal waves of the shoulders of the daily rush hours. Rush hour is the ultimate oxymoron. Something happened ahead of us making the four lane highway into a two lane choke point. We were traveling at twenty miles per hour, forty five miles an hour under the posted speed limit. The fellow next to me was feverishly pounding away at his smart phone 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 imagine the language on that insurance claim, “Well I was returning a call from my next meeting letting them know I would be arriving late.”
What is it about our culture that demands we operate at such a break neck pace?
It is a perfect contrast to the Kingdom of Heaven. Within the Kingdom of Heaven there is no construct of time. It doesn’t exist. While here it becomes a major effort to manage the 168 hours we have assigned to each week. Recently, I have been reading the Book of Daniel. King Darius, the one who threw Daniel into the den with hungry lions. He spent a sleepless night agonizing what he had done to Daniel. His entire evening of pacing the floor and fretting about Daniel was met the next morning with a simple statement. Outside the den of lions the King anxiously asked Daniel, “Has your God been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Daniel’s surprise response came immediately, “May the King live forever! My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions!” The King deceived by evil men jealous for position and power to the point of murder spent a harrowing night needlessly. The Lord saw through the plot to take Daniels life and intervened. Living in this current culture is like the King making a decree and then regretting the decision. He stays up all night needlessly. I often wonder if a bubble of the Kingdom of Heaven ignited expanded and then lasted an entire night in that lions’ den. Reading the Book of Daniel is an encouragement for me I want to be like him. To operate in such close proximity to the Kingdom of Heaven the people around him recognized his different manner. Could it have so penetrated his life he also was able to secure a measure of peace and ease which doesn’t seem to be prevalent in the culture of his time, or in this time for that matter.
Changing the pace of this life means understanding we live within our current culture. We are right in the middle of it. But we can chose differently to not allow the pace of our culture to dominate our individual calendars. I was clearly late to my meeting too, stuck in traffic. I do not control the fender bending common in urban living. I do control my response to it. I lean back put on some good tunes and watch for the traffic to clear. When I get to my next meeting I ask forgiveness for being a highway traveler in my rapidly growing hometown of Denver Colorado. Surprising many people accept forgiveness when offered. Banging away to send a smart phone message ultimately makes me rush all the more the pace spiraling even higher as each character is punched in. I become an accelerated player within our culture. Once the pace is pushed and pushed and pushed it is harder and harder to disengage.
Remember this is a dialog feel free to communicate with us here we will respond. Next week we are back reviewing another spiritual facet of experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven. See you then….