I read an article recently which talked of children these days being “possessions rich but time poor” in other words they have may have amazing toys but not have real, meaningful time spent with them.
Often, we value things by how much time you give them…
And the quality time you give them -are you actively listening to them or are you fiddling around on your phone whilst they are talking to you?
Everyone has had that meeting with someone who evidently has an eye on the clock, how unimportant do you feel?
Time is powerful, giving people your time, your undivided attention, especially in a world crammed full of things fighting for your attention, may not feel like a massive gift to give but it can be life transforming for the person receiving it.
As we have been thinking about Kingdom Economics we have thought a lot about money, but I think sometimes in crazy, busy bonkers world the gift of time can say even more than where we allocate our financial resources.
A long time ago in Poole I was asked for some money by a homeless guy, that the easiest thing was to give him a couple of quid to get rid of him and allow me to carry on on my way…. the more costly thing was to actually engage and talk to him, I wasn’t in a hurry and ended up sitting down with him drinking a coffee… The thing I noticed was that people were reasonably generous, but no one made eye contact, some literally threw money at him. Although in one sense generous it was somehow felt really dehumanizing and impersonal.
Although this guy was hungry, thirsty without anywhere to sleep, his biggest need was to feel like a human-being again, to feel like he had worth and dignity, he too is person made in God’s image.
Mother Teresa once said “in the poor we see Jesus in his most distressing disguises”.
Shane Claiborne once observed that “the tragedy isn’t that rich folk don’t care about poor folk” but rather “that rich folk don’t know poor folks, rather than just saying “let’s make poverty history” let’s make poverty personal”.
The truth is it is easier to give money than time.
It is impersonal but it by-passes the heart.
Shane Claiborne once said: “I’m just not convinced that Jesus is going to say,”When I was hungry, you gave a check to the United Way &they fed me.”
I regularly go into our local pubs to be available to listen and talk to the locals, first few times I did this, people saw my dog collar and reached to their wallet…
The thought was something like “give the vicar a £5 and he’ll go away”…
We need to have a Kingdom economy that cares more about people than cash.
Someone once said the “greatest tragedy is that people were meant to be loved and things were meant to be used, unfortunately we have used people and loved things”.
In a Kingdom Economy money matters less than people, and time is the most precious gift we share.
Our model for giving time has to be Jesus himself, some of his greatest conversations happened with no bodies, who Jesus made feel like somebodies, and who 2000 years later we still read about today… talking to the woman at the well, or an undercover Nicodemus or the guy by the pool of Bethesda
Today at our School Pastors training we challenged to give our time but also the love of God, can bring transformation to our area and world.