Discerning the Time

I am always asking myself, “What time is it?” That question ranks right up there with the other self-talk question, “What am I going to eat next?” I wore a wristwatch for many years, except for that brief period during the post-hippie era when three-piece suits and pocket watches were all the rage. I was hard on my wristwatches. They broke or they cracked or clouded up with condensation. I resorted to having a Sunday or special occasion watch, and an everyday one. I have discovered that it is not really about the watch; it is the tyranny of the clock I am wrestling with.

During my college days I served as song leader with Evangelist Bob Posey. We held revivals in small towns and in rural churches, mostly in Alabama, for 2 or 3 years. It is amazing how God puts unlikely experiences in our lives to help equip us for future service. We found one church that was dominated by the tyranny of time. It was an old country church near Phenix City, Alabama, which is a suburb of Columbus, Georgia. (That is the correct spelling of Phenix, founded in 1830 as Girard, but re-named in the 1880’s after the local mill.) To an outsider it can be the most confusing place in America. The town proper is in both Lee and Russell Counties Alabama, and spreads into Muscogee County Georgia. Therein lies the time problem. Alabama is in the Central Time Zone; Georgia is Eastern Time. Crossing the street can put a person across the invisible time boundary. Phenix City tends to be on Eastern Time even though it is in Alabama. But many hardcore time purists stay on Central Time for the principle of it. When we announced that revival services started at 7:30 p.m., we had to clarify that meant 6:30 p.m. Central Time. Starting things on the half-hour was sort of a compromise with the time to reach the community for Christ.

I no longer wear a watch, but I can learn the time from my cellphone. The drumbeat of time marches onward. Ephesians 5:15-16 teaches us to redeem the time, seize the opportunity, for the days are ever evil. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 reminds us “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Discern the time. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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