Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Fifth Day of Christmas: My Time; Your Time

We suffer today from what Elton Trueblood called the “disease of contemporaneity.”  We focus on the “present” and have distain for that which happened or was written a hundred or five hundred years ago.  We read the books on the New York Times list, but ignore those written in earlier times.   This penchant for only the contemporary means that we may never read François Fénelon’s (1651-1715) The Inner Life or any of his other writings.  

I could not resist using this photo--a moment in time!
I do not want you to miss Fénelon.  He wrote in one of his letters about “Time”:
“Time bears a very different aspect at different seasons of one’s life, but there is one maxim which applies equally to all seasons, namely, that none should go by uselessly; that every season carries with it various duties of God’s own appointing, and concerning the discharge of which we must give account to Him, since from the first to the last moment of life God never means us to look upon any time as purposeless, either to be used as our own apart from Him, or lost.  The important thing is to know how He would have us use it, and this is to be learned not by an eager and uneasy ardor, which is much more calculated to confuse than to enlighten us concerning our duties, but by pure and upright heart, seeking God in simplicity and diligence in receiving all of the experiences which He would provide us, for remember we lose time not only by doing nothing, or doing amiss, but also by doing things in themselves right, which things yet are not what God would have us do.  Our general rule for the right use of time is to accustom yourself to live in continual dependence upon the Spirit of God, receiving whatever He vouchsafes to give from one moment to another.”

What will God give in this moment—on this fifth day of Christmas?  What gift is to be received today?  

Again, Howard Thurman speaks, “I cannot say of my life that it is of no account, I cannot say of the time that I am living that nothing seems to be happening, because this is not one of the great and tempestuous or creative moments in human history or in the history of the world.  My time is my time, and I must live my time with as much fullness and significance as I am capable of, because my little segment of time is all the time I have.  I cannot wait to begin to live meaningfully when I will have more time, because all the time I can ever experience is the time interval of my moment, so that my minutes, my hours, my days, my months, must be full of my flavor and my meaning.”

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