On the brink of 2016, it’s quite hard to believe we’re in the thick of Autumn and approaching the end of year festivities. Scarves out of the wardrobe, boots back out of their temporary hibernation, heating slowly being hitched up on average .5 of a degree each day. They say that the time goes more quickly when you’re older; they didn’t realise that time doesn’t speed up or slow down based on whether you’re in nappies or giving away your daughter at her wedding. The legitimate truth is that time does seem to be fleeting as we advance in years, but the scientific measurement of this kind of time is exactly the same. Minutes. Milliseconds. Jiffies. Months. Years. We measure them, we are within them and are restricted by them, having the same hours in a day as the person sat next to us at work or on the train.
What, then, do we mean when we talk about things being ‘good timing’ or happening at ‘the right time’? In his talk and thoughts on Seasons and Reasons, Stephen Matthew focused in not on chronological or sequential time, but the more complex avenue of time that isn’t defined by the stroke of a clock hand. Many times throughout the New Testament of the bible, the Greek word used for time describes this exact concept. The word used in these circumstances is kairos, a propitious moment for decision or action, or as is sometimes described, the supreme moment.
Kairos time is noteworthy, because it has a huge bearing on our lives. As followers of Christ, it’s clear for us that the bible articulates this supreme time more than just once. The letter of Colossians encourages us to walk in wisdom, redeeming the current time (4:5), or in other words, taking the opportune moments as they arise. I’ve no doubt we all have regrets and guilt over feeling like we’ve missed our time… relationships, job opportunities, broken friendships and broken dreams. Because we are imperfect, we do overlook or procrastinate things all of the time. We do get it wrong. We do miss special moments. Stephen said that we often don’t observe the current time, because either we simply don’t see the chance to, or we excuse ourselves because of our season or stage of life. There is hope, though.
If we can learn to understand, or tell the current time, we stand a chance of responding to, and hearing God in every piece of life and every place we find ourselves. Rather than guess, assume or ignore, we can become aware of the time by considering some questions:
Am I making the decisions I am currently making because of the kairos time (proactive), or because of the season I’m in (reactive)?
Am I positioning myself around others who are able to tell the kairos time? Do I place myself environments that promote this, or avoid this by impulsive or emotional decisions?
The Holy Spirit wants to gently lead us and reveal to us the time as the collective body of Christ and individuals within that. He isn’t hiding, and we don’t need to chase him, we are equipped to discern the time and we can take comfort in that.
Author: Rachel Calland