The Fourth Dimension
The first clocks had only hour hands. When the industrialized world needed more exact time the minute hand was added and finally the second hand. As the second hand races around the clock, we try to keep up. As precise as we have been able to make the measuring of time, we perceive time very differently and because of that some researchers have concluded that we can actually stretch time or at least feel that we are. Sociologist John P. Robinson says that people have twice as much free time as they think they do and actually work significantly less than they did as recently as the mid 1960s. The more things change, the more time we think has passed. There are a couple of things we can do to make time more expansive, at least in the way we perceive it.
Get It Back
The Bible calls on us to redeem our time (Ephesians 5:16 & Colossians 4:5). A key to getting the right perspective on time is to carefully examine the things in our lives for their profitability (Ephesians 5:14-15). Redeeming time already lived is achieved by looking back at what has happened and drawing valuable lessons from it. Even if what happened was not all that beneficial at the time, if insights about how to do better the next time are noted, personal growth will take place.
When we are involved in helping our community, working for a worthy cause or assisting someone in need we are using our time more effectively and it will result in the perception that we have not only used our time well, but that we have saved or expanded the time we have. When we concentrate on something (such as a worthy cause), because we have such a limited attention span, the more time seems to pass. The Bible is, in large part, an instruction book on how to get the most out of the time we have.
Improve the Moment
When we are told to redeem the time we are being told to improve it. We should make time our chief commodity; it is all we have to spend. So we improve our competency in the things that matter. We should always demonstrate a good perspective on the use of time and its availability for doing something better (Colossians 4:5).
Another thing that has proven to help with the perception that time is expanding is to find something about which to be inspired. Being inspired helps to focus on the present moment. The great challenge is that our world tends to be filled with ordinary things that demand the best of our time.
The 4th Dimension
Albert Einstein is credited with bringing the term “Fourth Dimension” into more common usage on the relationship between time and space. We have ample time to do what is most important when we speed up the implementation of beneficial and proven principles into our lives. The book of Revelation (1:3) offers a formula for getting the most out of our time.
“Readeth” as used in the verse, refers to that which is re-known, or re-discovered. We practice our life lines repeatedly, not just acting them out, but becoming them. Solid Biblical principles find their greatest value when we reach the point where we no longer have to try to implement them; they have become a part of who we are.
We need to “hear” with the ear of the mind. The Bible calls those that read its pages to be thinkers; people that are inclined to consider what they do and the ripple effects it will have in time. Contrary to what many have heard, faith is mental persuasion, calculated agreement and credible actions. People of true faith realize that lives here must be lived in the context of eternity.
“Keep” in Revelation 1:3, means to watch over, to guard what we have come to regard the truth. Time is less about how much of it we have and more about how we spend it.
We should balance gratitude for what we found yesterday, inspiration for what we find today and hope for what we will find tomorrow. Reclaim yesterday, enjoy today and master tomorrow. Being fully aware of time is a blessing if we consider, hear and keep well the treasure each of us has been given: the fourth dimension (time).
Dr. M. Hildon Guy, President of the University of Christian Studies and Seminary, Eagle River, Alaska (www.universityofcss.org.)