LENTEN DEVOTION for Tuesday, March 7

Bishop Douglass Miles 


God of time and eternity: still me in this hour, these minutes, this second. 


An old man said: If you have lost gold or silver, you can find something in place of what you lost. However, if you lose time you cannot replace what you lost.

The teacher said: For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)  


For everything, said the wise teacher, there is a time. The difficulty is in knowing what the time calls for. It may be a time to act, but we spend our time doing nothing. It may be a time to speak up, but we are silent. It may be a time to listen, but we fill it with words. We waste a lot of time. What do we do with our time? What should we do with our time? Is it well spent or lost time?

Last fall, I was in training for community organizing in Baltimore. During the training, Bishop Douglass Miles led a session on the discipline of time management. He told us that we have to be disciplined with how we structure our time. The most important thing is scheduling private, devotional time. He argued, in effect, that if we don't spend time with God, in prayer and meditation, much of our other time will be wasted. For centering, commitment and purpose, we need to schedule moments with God. We must also set aside time for reading, family and recreation. These things have to be planned so that they get their proper period of time.

Bishop Miles encourages the bulk of our time to be spent in relationship. He's a pastor and community organizer, so it makes sense that he would say this. And yet, his advice applies to us all. We should schedule time to be with others. We ought to carve out hours to listen and respond to others, if not only for the self-interested reason of gaining perspective and being challenged. Time building intentional relationships is not wasted.

Today, take a look at your schedule for the week. Look at all the things you have planned. Consider what your schedule says about you. How could your planned time better reflect your values and loves? Taking a cue from community organizers, consider three things you can stop doing and choose three things that you will start doing. What you stop and start should reflect your sense of purpose for your life. 


May my time, O God, serve to glorify you. May every moment reflect the calling you have placed upon my life. Amen.  

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