A New, True Measure of Time

This week’s eNewsletter feature
was written by Rev. Raymond Hylton,
FPCE Senior Pastor.

Dear friends,

We are six weeks into the New Year. In other words, we have 46 weeks before 2020 ends.

So, how’s life working out for you? How are you doing with your goals for 2020? If you didn’t set any goals, what are you anticipating and working on for 2020?

Sorry if my questions feel rude, morbid, or intrusive, but I am always intrigued by the finiteness of time.

Since January 1, the 36 days we have lived are gone. Forever. We can never go back and relive Saturday, February 1. Or today, the 6th, for that matter, once it’s gone.

Assuming we are still alive at the end of this year, we have 329 days left in Leap Year 2020. Calculated this way, we don’t have a lot of time left. It really is leaping. So… how are you spending your time?

Benjamin Franklin quipped: Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.

The Psalmist prayed similar words to God: Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart (Psalm 90:12).

During the first worship service of 2020, I asked you to join me in using some of your time to seek God. Out of the 24 hours in a day, I asked you to set aside a portion of each day to pursue God.

Time is a gift from God. We don’t make time — we receive time. How we use our time speaks volumes in concrete ways about our faith.

Without this gift of time, we cannot practice the temporal virtues of prayer, kindness, mercy, repentance, faithfulness, gentleness, forgiveness, self-control, and love. Time is the very essence of the miraculous gift of our lives.

Just as babies need time to grow from infancy to adulthood, just as acorn seedlings need time to grow into a mighty oak tree, Christians need time to mature, seek God, serve God, and embody the mind and habits of Christ.

If we all live to the end of 2020 – December 31, 2020 — we will have used up 8,784 hours. How many of these hours will you spend in response to God’s activity in your life? Will you seek God in 2020?

As God gives me life, I am using each day of 2020 to do four things in response to God’s activity in my life:

  1. Spend some of my time meditating and praying.
  2. Spend some of my time listening to God’s voice through Holy Scripture.
  3. Spend some of my time obeying and going wherever His presence leads me.
  4. Spend some of my time serving others. (Jesus came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many [Matthew 10:45]).

For the past 37 days, here’s how I am spending some of my time: I decided to read through the Bible using an actual Bible instead of the app on my phone. Judith and I are reading Genesis to Revelation before December 31, 2020.

I am praying big prayers in 2020. I am praying for many of you. I am praying big prayers for our beloved First Presbyterian Church of Evanston.

And I am adding to my life a new spiritual discipline: meditation. I will write more about this practice next week.

I am saying Yes to the Holy Spirit when He prompts me to reach out to people around me — family, strangers, my family at First Pres, and neighbors. I pray every day for the courage to “step out of the boat” and follow Jesus.

Thank God for the gift of time. Without time and the wise use of this gift, I would be squandering God’s greatest gift on trivial pursuits.

Could you do me a favor and share with me how you are using some of your time in 2020 to pursue God? I would love to hear from you.

A fellow time-bound pilgrim,

Pastor Ray Hylton