Time and Schedules; January 30, 2019


Mark 11:11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

It just struck me, reading this, that Jesus wasn’t in a rush. He did things very deliberately, and not just on impulse. Here, He was seeing how the merchants had taken over the Court of the Gentiles in the temple, but He didn’t immediately jump into driving them out. Rather, He saved that for the next day. We have great difficulty keeping in mind the reality that God is outside of time and so is aware of everything at once. To Him, the moment of Creation and the end of the world are equally, now. That’s why Peter could very rightly say, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) I’ve always thought it was remarkable that an uneducated fisherman like Peter would have such depth of insight into an issue that scientists struggle with even now. Time and our perception of it are very much objects of research, because there is much we do not know. The thing for us to remember is that God has the precise right time for everything, as the Bible points out repeatedly. Our frustration comes when God’s time doesn’t agree with ours. We decide how things “ought to be,” and then get upset when they don’t follow that schedule. That’s not at all to say that we aren’t to plan, but it is very much to say that we are to hold all plans loosely, recognizing that God is sovereign and He always has a better idea than we do. Our best plans always come from listening to Him!

This has been an issue for me all my life. I’m not big on planning and preparing, but at the same time I hate to be late for anything, and get uptight about schedules. Both of those are weaknesses! I need to be diligent in planning, but at the same time relaxed about when things happen. That’s very difficult for me! There are indeed things that must happen at a specific time, but I need discernment and peace about what things fit that category and what don’t. It is perhaps fitting that I live in Japan, where you can set your watch by the trains, but people might show up for a meeting half an hour late. (Incidentally, formal functions are very much on the “trains” end of the scale. I have been irritated by public meetings being plotted out by the second, literally.) The whole issue of time is important because that’s how our lives on earth are measured. However, it should make a huge difference to me personally that I have eternity ahead of me, so I have no reason to be uptight. My focus must be on listening to my Lord and doing what He says, when He says to do it.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I have a number of things to be done today, but no set schedule for any of it. Help me recognize and follow Your schedule, being neither lazy nor anxious. As You have told me, help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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