The Time Parable

They clustered around me. They wanted to learn to play a guitar. I made and gave lessons. Someone else made bars of wood that felt like guitar necks and frets. I spent time getting them started in that little village and gave them the tools to learn over time. Two trips later, the guitar was gone. No one was interested. Someone got a keyboard. Everyone wanted to bang on it. Immediate sound could be produced. They just kept banging it, whether properly or improperly, but it made big, fast sound.

One of the attributes of today’s culture is the desire for quick answers, relief, and solutions. It is magnified by the characteristics of media. One can see it in the public or private lack of disciplined use of language in quick, ill-thought statements on social media. It can also be seen in the lack of regard for thoughtful actions among people or boredom with disciplined non-screen-based learning. Some would say the populace is being “dumbed down” with its pursuit after quick response or pleasure on demand. Journalism is especially prone to abuse time. It is now commonly acceptable to make very brief sound bites, fast images, and headlines that are extreme — all to draw viewers quickly, who also want a quick shot of news, whether accurate or not. A common expression says this, “if it bleeds, it leads”.

Think of the time necessary to master an instrument, or to learn complex trades. Think of the reality of working through grief, the long-term nature of care in many illnesses, the timed procedures and steps of complex actions, or the slow nature of learning.

Think of Biblical examples where individuals went through years of preparation or processing or learning so they could be effectively able to engage life’s problems.  The lives of Moses, Joseph, and others show the value of time. Time is the chief tester of human character. Fruit, whether good or bad, is not apparent from one week of growth in a fruit tree.

The Creator of time is God, who does not need time. He knows the beginning from the end. He is eternal and powerful. Yet, He wants people to call on Him, to find Him. Sometimes He seems hidden in circumstances, but the astute person realizes that He draws us over time. On occasion, He does something suddenly; but more often, He uses time to work among us. He is the master of proving us. He knows how time should be applied. In His hand, usually the greatest people have learned a healthy regard and experience with Him through time. The Bible speaks of His patience, long suffering, ability to remember all of our actions through life if we will listen and be patient. Time is central to His purposes.

Likewise, for those who disdain God and pursue evil, their fruit is developed over time. They are without excuse because, over time, they had opportunity to seek God and perhaps find Him. He uses time to prove them, also.

In a biblical world view, when time is over, there is no chance to redeem what has been done, to redo our decisions, or to play the video over again. Time has already proven our slant, our true desires, and our decision about Him.

Choose this day whom you will serve.       Joshua 24:15

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.       2 Peter 3:9

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